Home > Body Image, Fat Acceptance, HAES, self esteem > HAES finally getting positive media attention

HAES finally getting positive media attention

This article, “End of dieting? New movement focuses on health at any size” appeared on the health page of MSNBC, courtesy of Prevention magazine. This article is excellent at describing what Health At Every Size is and why it’s healthier than weight-loss dieting. Thanks to JenInCanada for posting this on Facebook.

Some gems from this article:

Before coming to Green Mountain, Troy had spent countless days—and dollars—dieting. She isn’t alone: At any given time, 53 percent of Americans are trying to slim down. So why, then, are so many women overweight? Many experts believe it’s because diets simply don’t work for keeping weight off long term. “If we had a 95 percent failure rate with a medication, it would never get approved by the FDA. Yet that’s dieting’s record,” says Michelle May, MD, founder of Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Workshops.

After decades of yo-yo dieting that only leaves them heavier than they were to start with, many women lose the will to work out and watch what they eat, and they begin dodging doctors who seem to blame all their problems on their weight. Some ultimately give up on dealing with health issues such as high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol, believing that without dramatic weight loss, it’s useless.

But according to a controversial new movement, it is possible to break this cycle of failed diets and poor health, even if you never end up in a pair of skinny jeans or in the safety zone of the BMI chart. It’s known as Health At Every Size (HAES), and its principles are so radically simple that they can be difficult to grasp after a lifetime of trying to follow complicated plans full of rules, stages, calories, grams of fat, points, scales, and math.

The basic premise is that healthy behaviors can improve your life regardless of whether they result in weight loss. You abandon diets in favor of “intuitive eating,” which means paying close attention to what you crave and how the foods you eat make you feel, as well as gradually learning to distinguish emotional hunger from the physical kind. For exercise, you identify any activity that provides enough fun that you don’t need to force yourself to do it regularly. HAES also demands that you love and respect your body just as it is, whatever size it is right now. At its core, HAES is about stripping away rigid ideas about food and fitness.

Some experts believe that the negative effects of yo-yo dieting go beyond the physical and emotional tolls of being overweight or obese. According to Linda Bacon, PhD, associate nutritionist at the University of California, Davis, nutrition professor at City College of San Francisco, and author of Health at Every Size (the bible of the HAES movement), many studies suggest that yo-yo dieting itself increases the risk of high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and high blood cholesterol. Studies also show that a vast majority of dieting ends up being yo-yo dieting: Up to two-thirds of people who lose weight regain it within 1 year, and nearly all the rest regain it within 5 years.

As an aside, I have a policy of not reading comments in news articles, so tread lightly with this one.

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