Let’s Talk About HAES!
You may have heard of HAES by now. HAES refers to the concept of “Health At Every Size” and is a newer development in the Body Positivity movement. It is a belief that contradicts the long-held idea that you need to be a certain size to be considered healthy. Our society has taught us that you need to be thin to be healthy and anything other than that, simply is unhealthy. HAES is fighting against that false belief.
This is not to say that Obesity is not a problem or that it is healthy. What HAES is suggesting is that you do not need to fall into a small category of “thin” to be a healthy person. What one person’s healthy size is does not mean that that’s a healthy size for another person. What might be considered a “healthy BMI” (see prior post “BMI”) may in fact not be healthy for all. Think of it this way. Our bodies are way more intelligent and wise than our brains will ever be. When we listen to our bodies, unaltered by society or disordered habits, our bodies will resort to a “set point,” (more on this in a future post) or the weight our bodies are meant to be to function optimally. This “set point” is not the same for everyone and it does not abide by BMI. Your set point is where your body wants to be naturally and since your body knows best, that is your healthy point.
Imagine everyone in the world started listening intuitively to their bodies. Imagine society’s influence and disordered eating behaviors no longer existed. In a year or so, everyone will, theoretically, be at their set point. Though, I can guarantee you not everyone will look the same. There will be some thin, some larger, some smaller. There will be some with more weight in their stomach, some with more in their thighs, and some with more in their breasts. Some would be considered “healthy” according to BMI and some would not. However, I would argue, that in the absence of all other factors and diseases, all of these people are healthy despite their varying weights and shapes.
Now, let’s get back to reality and the world that we currently live in. It is possible to not be society’s idea of “thin” and yet still be healthy. You may be larger, and yet perfectly healthy. You may be smaller, and yet perfectly healthy also. You may be what’s considered a “healthy” weight, and be perfectly healthy, although that is not a given.
One of the messages that HAES is trying to convey is to not let society tell you or make you feel that you should be of a certain size, weight, shape or stature to be healthy. Health is a very personal and individualized thing. Let your doctor help you to determine what is healthy for you. Society is not inside of your body. Society can’t tell how your heart is operating, what your cholesterol is or how your liver is functioning. Do not let outside sources determine how you feel about yourself or sway you into doing extreme things to get to the place of what they deem as healthy because they simply do not know and are not qualified to make those assumptions.
I hope you found this post helpful and please share with anyone else who can benefit. Please leave a comment or message me privately if you have any questions, concerns or requests for future posts.
I wish you wellness on your journey to finding your State of Balance!
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Binge And Restrict Cycle
Eating Disorder Specialist
Healthy Self Vs. Eating Disorder