What is Health at Every Size?

Folks, please forgive me if I use too many acronyms in my coaching and writing. It’s how I was trained, and it still slips out even though I know that it’s hard to follow at times. If you’re ever uncertain what I mean by one of these clusters of letters, please feel free to reach out for clarification, I’m sure other folks are wondering if you are! 

One acronym that you will likely see a lot if you hang around this page for any length of time, is HAES®. HAES® stands for Health at Every Size®, and this is the concept initially presented in a book of the same name that has become a larger movement and approach to health care. The Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) has an excellent page describing Health at Every Size® in detail right here. Go check it out! Then, come back, and we can talk about how I align my coaching and my own health with these principles.

HAES® principles include:

  • weight inclusivity
  • health enhancement
  • respectful care

In addition, HAES® incorporates tools such as eating for well-being and life-enhancing movement.

It is dishonest to ignore the elephant of medical fatphobia in the exam room or any public space. I approach health from a HAES®-aligned practice. I do not assume details about a person’s health or that they engage in “unhealthy” habits just because their body is a certain size or shape. Fat people, especially those in the largest bodies, face weight-based stigma, oppression, and discrimination that can also have a huge effect on their health. Those who want to help will address as many of the barriers to good health as they can.

Despite aligning with this approach, I still have biases that I am working through and actively trying to unlearn. I know that I am not a “safe person” because there is no such thing. There are people who are doing the work of engaging with and unpacking their own privilege and those that aren’t. Some of the things that I was taught in medical school are problematic, which includes using acronyms without meaning to, as well as racial bias, medical fatphobia, and a whole host of other biases against folks that are marginalized. I welcome respectful challenges and being called in to deeper community around any of these issues in my work.

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