As mentioned in my blog about diet culture, Health at Every Size is the new alternative to the harmful diet culture that many health practitioners, including dietitians have moved towards. Below, I will be introducing the concept of Health at Every Size and ways to implement it in your daily life for a happier and healthier lifestyle.
What is health at every size?
Health At Every Size (HAES) is a socially inclusive movement that supports people of all sizes to accept and love themselves, and to practice healthy daily behaviours.
Principles of Health at Every Size
Health at every size is based on three principles: Respect, Critical Awareness, and Compassionate Self-care.
- Based on recognizing and honouring different body shapes, sizes and forms as well as differences in age, race, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, social class, religions and other attributes
- Challenges scientific information and presumptions based on cultural factors
- Values your own personal experiences and knowledge of your body
- Finding ways to enjoy being active and moving your body
- Eating in a way that is enjoyable for your and listening to your body’s hunger and satiety cues
Tips to implement Health at Every Size
- Eat what you want and practice intuitive eating
- Remember that no foods are good or bad and by restricting your diet, this can lead to bingeing and further feelings of guilt or shame
- Eat to feel good and eat slowly, savour your food and notice its smells, flavours, and textures
- Listen to your hunger cues and eat when you are hungry and stop when you’re are full
- Find something active that you love to do
- Try out different physical activities that you enjoy and have fun doing such as yoga, dance workouts, walking your dog, exercising with friends
- Remember that exercise is not meant to be a chore nor is it meant to be as a form of punishment after eating something that makes you feel guilty
- Use exercise as a way to discover what your body can do and celebrate its functions and resilience
- Find a good support system
- Surround yourself with people who you can trust and who want to help you develop a better relationship with yourself and food
- Talk to a dietitian or healthcare professional that specializes in HAES and can help you through your journey
- Take a break from social media and change the content you see
- Especially now, social media has a huge influence on how we see ourselves, and it can set unrealistic standards for ourselves and what we “should” look like
- Unfollow, block or mute accounts that have triggering content for yourself (such as diet culture principles, harmful weight loss tips, “healthy” meals that are not sustainable)
- Follow inspirational content that implements HAES principles and that make you feel good about yourself
- Join Facebook Groups that are weight-inclusive and can help you with HAES
- Take a break from social media whenever needed
- Remain positive and don’t be too harsh on yourself
- Be proud of yourself and all of your achievements
- Tell yourself what you love about yourself, and focus on what your body can do instead of things you may not like about yourself
- Remember that your physical attributes does not define your worth, but your inner beauty is what is important at the end of the day