If you’ve been paying attention to the health industry lately, you may have heard about something called the health at every size movement. It may sound confusing, intuitive or both depending on what you’ve heard about it, not to mention that the movement varies slightly between different groups of advocates. There are a few basic tenants of it, however, and as it’s an important part of both mental and physical health, it’s just as important that the core of the health at every size movement be laid out plainly.
Accept that Health Doesn’t Always Mean Weight Loss
The real core of the health at every size movement is that your body size does not necessarily reflect your health. There are any number of reasons why an individuals body may be larger or even have more fat than another yet still remain healthy. Anything from the size of your body frame to hormonal imbalances to more muscle mass than average can cause a body to look unhealthy when it’s the exact opposite. Take Olympic competitor Sarah Robles, the strongest woman in America. She’s 5’10 and weighs 269lbs, and looks visibly fat. But with her workout regimen and a diet controlled by nutritionists specifically to aid her with training, it’s hard to argue that she isn’t healthy. The bottom line is that we need to embrace the idea that our mental picture of what’s visually healthy isn’t always accurate.
Focus on Healthy Habits, Not Weight
This is an especially useful philosophy for those who may suffer from eating disorders as they often hyper focus on calorie consumption and weight loss, so adopting healthy habits by way of diets can quickly spiral into an unhealthy obsession with weight and size. Instead, the health at every size movement encourages individuals to adapt healthy habits and not hinge their success or failure on a number on the scale. Park at the back of the lot and walk to the store instead, choose a vegetable side at a restaurant instead of french fries. Make smart choices for your body and don’t worry about the number of inches at your waistline; just focus on making good health decisions for you when it comes to both activity and food without the punishment.
Appreciating That Mental Health Is Just As Important
An unfortunate side effect of the robust weight loss industry today is that it comes with a lot of blame and a lot of feelings of failure. Often times larger people are made to feel as if they’ve failed simply by having the body they have, so they enter a diet with a punishing mindset. They deserve to be in pain, they deserve to struggle, because the reason why they’re larger is because they’re lazy slackers. And even if that is true, it fails to take into account that mental health is every bit as important as physical health. If you’re thin but constantly miserable, depressed and filled with self-loathing because of your diet, is the weight loss worth it? The health at every size movement encourages you to eat healthier based on what’s good for you, not based on how you can squeeze yourself into a diet plan that may not actually work for you and your body.