By Caroline Best, student intern. Edits by Alex Raymond, RD.
This semester has been one of my favorites. I’ve finally reached the point where all my classes directly relate to my Dietetics major. No more calculus or general chemistry. Can I just say it’s been way more fun to go to class when you’re passionate about all the topics. Throughout my first weeks of classes a term that kept popping up was HAES or Health At Every Size. It was presented as this new health movement, but wasn’t really explained past that. My initial reaction was “ I get this gist of this, it means valuing health at all body sizes”. I kept seeing HAES referenced in articles and on dietitian’s social media posts. I was curious and decided to learn a little more.
The HAES movement has SO much more depth than my original impression.I strongly suggest looking at the HAES community web page. It has tons of great information about what Health At Every Size means and how the movement got started.
“Health at Every Size is the new peace movement. It supports people of all sizes in addressing health directly by adopting healthy behaviors. It is an inclusive movement, recognizing that our social characteristics, such as our size, race, national origin, sexuality, gender, disability status, and other attributes, are assets, and acknowledges and challenges the structural and systemic forces that impinge on living well.” – excerpt from Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon, PhD
This is the mission statement of the HAES webpage. I can’t put into words how happy it makes me. I’ve learned time and time again in my classes and with Alex how unrealistic, ineffective and even dangerous it is to follow the idea that there’s one way to be healthy. People are wonderfully unique and part of that is health looks different on everyone. The idea that a person needs to be a specific size, eat a specific list of foods or move in a specific way to be “healthy” is outdated and just wrong. I’m so glad there’s a movement for change.
I love that HAES challenges those who have a narrow definition of health and automatically associate health and body size. In many of my classes we’ve learned how there are so many better indicators of health than size. A focus on health is a focus on developing habits that make you feel good and improve your quality of life.
ANYONE can do this.
Health is trying your best to nourish your body with a variety of foods. Foods that make you feel good and that you love. Health is finding movement you enjoy. Yes, being active is wonderful. It relieves stress, gets your blood flowing, helps digestion, and generates energy. But whether your movement is walking, running, dancing, lifting, climbing, stretching, swimming, ( I could go on listing for 10 pages.), it’s all great. It can be yourself or with a friend. It can be at night or in the morning. For 5 minutes or an hour, there’s no “right” way to focus on your health.
A final appreciation I have for the HAES movement is that it’s a peace movement. So many diets or fitness regimens love to pick at your habits. You’re told everything that’s wrong or “unhealthy” with your body or your lifestyle. HAES is the opposite. You take a moment, accept and appreciate where you’re currently at. You make peace with the body you’re in and make an effort to treat yourself with respect, kindness, and love.
I learned about so much about Health At Every Size through the social media of HAES and non-diet dietitians. I strongly encourage you to look at the resources I listed below for more information.
- The community webpage, https://haescommunity.com/ .
- Alex Raymond, @Empoweredeating_ on Instagram, @EmpoweredEating on twitter.
- Mari Evans, @MarciRD on instagram and twitter.
- Haley Goodrich, @hgoodrichrd on instagram and twitter.
- Fiona Sutherland, @FionaBodyPosAus on twitter, @themindfuldietitian on instagram.
- Rebecca Scritchfield, @ScritchfieldRD on twitter, @Rebecca Scritchfield on instagram.
- Heather Caplan, @heatherdcrd on twitter, @rdrealtalk on instagram
- Kylie Mitchell, @immaeatthatblog on twitter, @immaeatthat on instagram
- Sumner Brooks, @intuitiveeatingrd on instagram
- Julie Duffy Dillon, @foodpeacerdn on twitter, @foodpeacedietitian on instagram