A few years ago I decided to accept my body unconditionally and let go of the need to lose weight to be happy. Since then I have felt better and have taken better care of myself. I stay strong and limber with daily exercise (which includes cardio, strength training, yoga). I eat a healthier diet and am tuning into my body and honouring signals of hunger and fullness. I care for my mental health and strive to be aware of emotional eating and I nurture a range of coping strategies when times are rough. I regularly show my body appreciation with massages, walks with my dogs, and dressing in clothes that I like and that fit me.
Many of us are conditioned to think that giving up the goal of a thinner body is giving up on health. This is simply not true. We can take care of, and even improve our health through things like physical activity and eating well whether or not our weight decreases. When I learned that my health, happiness, and well being was not dependent on being a predetermined size or weight I was freed!
This approach to health is called Health at Every Size® (HAES).
HAES® is an approach to health and wellness that encourages us to move away from weight as an indicator of health and instead embrace body diversity and practice radical self acceptance – no matter our body size. My approach is guided by the notion that:
- intentional pursuit of weight loss is unhelpful, and even harmful to our goal of reclaiming body sovereignty.
- lifestyle changes that we make may or may not lead to weight loss, and our health benefits either way
- pursuing health is not a moral obligation: a person’s basic worth is not determined by how ‘healthy’ they look or behave
- all bodies are beautiful and worthy of respect
When we practice Health at Every Size® we actively engage in healthy promoting behaviours such as mindfully eating health supporting foods that we enjoy, moving our bodies for fun and engaging in loving self care. By taking better care of ourselves with loving kindness, our health can and will improve whether or not our weight changes as a result.
If you resonate with the HAES® approach to weight and health and are looking for HAES friendly support in your body sovereignty journey, work with me and we will develop a plan to support your in your goals.