National Eating Disorders Association

Health at every sizeEating disorders can affect all kinds of bodies and you cannot tell by looking at someone if they have an eating disorder. 

UNDERSTANDING SIZE DIVERSITY

Each person’s genetic inheritance influences their bone structure, body size, shape, and weight differently. We should appreciate those differences, encourage healthy behaviors, and treat every body with respect.

Your “ideal” body weight is the weight that allows you to feel strong and energetic and lets you lead a healthy, normal life.

Your body can be healthy across a wide range of weights. When searching for your ideal weight, charts, formulas, and tables may be misleading and should only be used under the guidance of a qualified expert.

Avoid comparing your body with your friends’ bodies or the people you see in advertisements or on your favorite TV shows. If you do compare yourself to others, try to remember that we are all naturally different, which means we all have special qualities.

HEALTH AT EVERY SIZE

The basic premise of health at every size, as written in Linda Bacon’s Book, Health at Every Size: The surprising truth about your weight, is that “Health at Every Size” (HAES) acknowledges that well-being and healthy habits are more important than any number on the scale.

Below are principles you can adopt in your everyday life:

  1. Accept your size. Love and appreciate the body you have. Self-acceptance empowers you to move on and make positive changes.
  2. Trust yourself. We all have internal systems designed to keep us healthy — and at a healthy weight. Support your body in naturally finding its appropriate weight by honoring its signals of hunger, fullness, and appetite.
  3. Adopt healthy lifestyle habits. Develop and nurture connections with others and look for purpose and meaning in your life. Fulfilling your social, emotional, and spiritual needs restores food to its rightful place as a source of nourishment and pleasure.
  4. Find the joy in moving your body and becoming more physically vital in your everyday life.
  5. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, and seek out pleasur­able and satisfying foods.
  6. Tailor your tastes so that you enjoy more nutritious foods, staying mindful that there is plenty of room for less nutritious choices in the context of an overall healthy diet and lifestyle.
  7. Embrace size diversity. Humans come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Open to the beauty found across the spectrum and support others in recognizing their unique attractiveness.

There is no quick fix and no miraculous interven­tion. One specific “how-to” provided in Dr. Bacon’s book is the following contract:

Today, I will try to feed myself when I am hungry.

Today, I will try to be attentive to how foods taste and make me feel.

Today, I will try to choose foods that I like and that make me feel good.

Today, I will try to honor my body’s signals of fullness.

Today, I will try to find an enjoyable way to move my body.

Today, I will try to look kindly at my body and to treat it with love and respect.

Within the framework outlined, this ap­proach does not focus on weight loss as the sole indicator of health or encourage self-destructive abandon in one’s eating. -Dr. Deah Schwartz

For more information on respecting bodies at all sizes, please visit the Health at Every Size® community: www.haescommunity.com.

Every Body is Different

It is important to remember that every body is different. We all have different genetic and cultural traits. Even if everyone started eating the same things and did the same amount of exercise for a whole year, we would not all look the same at the end of the year. This is because each person’s genetic inheritance influences their bone structure, body size, shape, and weight differently. Learn more >

What is Weight Stigma?

Weight stigma, also known as weight bias or weight-based discrimination, is discrimination or stereotyping based on a person’s weight. Weight stigma can increase body dissatisfaction, a leading risk factor in the development of eating disorders. The best-known environmental contributor to the development of eating disorders is the sociocultural idealization of thinness. Learn more >