Health at Every Size
Here’s the bottom line. Focusing on weight doesn’t work. Focusing on weight doesn’t guarantee weight change. Focusing on weight doesn’t mean improved health. It’s hard to believe because we live in a culture that focuses on weight, but it’s not working. If it worked, why would you need a new diet every year, or multiple times a year!?
As a Health At Every Size (or HAES) dietitian I’m not going to focus on your weight, I’m not going to put you on a diet. Instead, I’m going to focus on you, your health, and your well-being. By doing this we can improve your health. You will feel better, but your weight may or may not change. By shifting the focus off of weight, this allows us to make lasting change and improve your health and happiness. This means regardless of your size, we will focus on the best practice nutrition recommendations for whatever else is going on so that you can feel better. I like to think about it like this. When you focus on feeling better (whether that is eating disorder recovery, wellness, heart health, etc.) then your weight will take care of itself- whatever that means for you.
So what exactly is HAES? It is a philosophy that focuses on health behaviors or healthy habits for the sake of health and well-being instead of weight loss. This means regardless of what is going on, you focus on self acceptance, eating in response to internal cues, movement for the sake of joy (not punishment), social, emotional, and spiritual well-being. It is a true holistic approach to health. The beauty of HAES is that by focusing on health we improve everyone’s health and wellbeing because we are no longer making health assumptions based on size or weight.