While some promotions and plans that arose from the war on obesity might have spurred some people to lose weight, there are many others for whom the constant talk about weight gain, lost pounds and the idea that some people’s bodies are “ill” because of their size has caused damage. Some people have had to deal with disordered eating or obsessive exercise.

Some have been shamed because of their size when seeking medical care. Others have come away feeling perpetually unhappy with their bodies (and selves), despite good general health. However, there is a grassroots movement to refocus and rethink the way we think about ourselves and each other in relation to size, health and all things human. It’s called the “Health At Every Size Movement.

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In a nutshell, HAES encourages people to establish healthy habits and vitality, without focusing on calorie restriction and weight loss. It accepts the fact that individual bodies have varied healthy weights and shapes. HAES encourages people to look at a variety of factors to determine what is healthy.

HAES has three main principles at its core, all emphasizing the idea of honoring your body and what it can do in tandem with allowing others to do the same without judgment. HAES asks people to pledge to practice…

3 Main Principles to the Health At Every Size Movement

1) Respect

Self-respect and respect for others is central in the HAES Movement. Diversity is celebrated.

2) Critical Awareness

HAES takes an anthropological approach to body image and health that seeks to understand people’s experiences, rather than emphasizing textbook definitions and images of health and wellness. HAES encourages individuals to challenge cultural norms that promote singular ideas of fitness, wellness and beauty and to evaluate scientific assumptions.

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3) Compassionate Self-Care

HAES encourages you to explore movement and discover the activities that bring you joy. It encourages eating habits that are pleasurable, satiating and attuned to individual needs. Eating healthy according to HAES also includes respecting the social situation in one’s surroundings.

The force behind HAES is Nutritionist Linda Bacon. Two of her books (co-authored by Dr. Lucy Aphramor) detail the ideas behind the movement. Check out Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth about Your Weight and Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Leave Out, Misunderstand or Just Plain Fail to Understand About Weight.

Bacon says she steers clear of seeking celebrity endorsements. Instead, she emphasizes the importance of honoring the power of all people. Bacon wants HAES to be a strong, all-inclusive grassroots movement.

If you’re ready to ditch the dieting mentality and the “war on obesity” and are ready to stand up for diversity, healthy living and respect across the board, check out the HAES website and join more than 12,000 individuals who have pledged to make a difference in your life and the lives of others.

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