HAES

A Tale of Advocacy: Two Knees and a Surgeon

by Theresa Jarosz Alberti

I was so angry at my surgeon. He’d finally agreed to operate on me, but his initial refusal to give me total knee replacement surgery had resulted in more than a year of excruciating pain and disability. Facing the upcoming surgery, I knew I needed to let go of my negative feelings before he sliced me open. It was time to focus on positive energy so that I’d be in the best frame of mind to heal.

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An Open Letter to Dr. X, From a Former Fat Child

In the age of “childhood obesity” rhetoric amid the global panic around adiposity, one anonymous writer writes of her experiences as a fat child and adolescent in medical care. Sadly, the physician’s attempts to “control her weight” led not only to disconnection from her body, but also to a dangerous eating disorder. As much of our readership is aware, there is currently a “starvation trial” involving intermittent fasting for adolescents being conducted in Australia. Many Health At Every Size (HAES®) advocates and several professional organizations have spoken out about the potential harms of this trial, giving rise to more global awareness of the negative impacts of restrictive diets on children. Given this context, this is a particularly poignant piece about the very real harms of weight management practices with children and teens.

Dear Dr. “X,”

I hope this letter makes its way to you. It has been many years since I’ve visited your practice and I’m not sure if I have the right address or if a well-meaning assistant might deem this letter ill-suited for your undoubtedly busy schedule. I’ll admit it’s long, and possibly difficult to get through, but I promise it’s worth the read.

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An Open Letter to Fitness Professionals

by Lindley Ashline

Encountering weight-based discrimination and internalized weight bias can be particularly challenging in spaces designed to highlight fitness and body movement. In this piece, Lindley Ashline writes a letter to fitness professionals about the challenges faced by fat persons in fitness spaces and encourages fitness professionals to be more intentional and inclusive of fat bodies.

The Happy Place

Recently I saw a comment from a fitness professional that got me thinking. She said that she wants to help people in bodies of all sizes get to the “happy place” of exercise.

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Recovering Abundantly in a One-Size-Fits-All World

by Erin Harrop

When I began my recovery journey from an eating disorder 13 years ago, I had a certain set of expectations about how the recovery process would go. Healthcare professionals told me to expect several things. They reassured me that as I learned to eat a broader variety of foods that my anxiety around eating would go down. What?! They said the more I faced my fears, the more comfortable I would feel. They also told me that my body would start to “adjust,” and that with regular consistent nourishment my hunger and fullness cues would normalize, my digestion would become more regular, and my physical discomfort with the eating process would decrease. It was hard to believe at first, but in the end, they were right. The more fear foods I approached, the less anxiety I had; and even though I felt very uncomfortable physically in the beginning, the more consistently I ate my meals and snacks, the more everything started to “flow” a little better.

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Healthcare Providers Get Our Marching Orders for the War on Fat People

by Deb Burgard, PhD

My brilliant friend Jessica Wilson has taught me so much. She is fond of asking, “What is the problem we are trying to solve?”

The question is burning in my mind after reading a recently released Washington DC think tank publication called “Provider Competencies for the Prevention and Management of Obesity”

Go take a look at this 8-page document that attempts to dictate how healthcare providers should carry out its vision, complete with a whopping 8 citations.

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Confessions of a Dietitian

by Nicole Geurin, MPH, RD

It’s easy to make assumptions about me because I am a dietitian.  You might think that I carefully manage my calorie intake and that I tell my clients to do the same.  Let me set the record straight.

Part 1: Why I am actually thin.

Unlike many people mistakenly assume, I am not thin because my nutrition knowledge has enabled me to master the ‘perfect’ diet.  (There is no ‘perfect’ diet, nor do I strive to achieve one.)  I am also not thin because I enjoy playing tennis and being active.  While I enjoy these lifestyle habits because they help me to feel well, they are not the reason that I am thin.  (Nor are they are moral imperatives for others to adopt, regardless of size.)

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A Fat Runner’s Path to Intuitive Exercise

by Lindsey Schuhmacher, MA

I like to run. I like the sharp, morning air in my lungs. I like when my breath finds its rhythm and all of a sudden it doesn’t feel like work anymore. I like how alive I feel afterwards, with fresh ideas swarming in my head and optimism lightening my step. It hasn’t always been this way. Like many people with disordered eating and exercise backgrounds, my relationship with running wasn’t always so simple.

I am fat. I have always been or identified as some form of fat. Even during the times when my weight dipped low enough to be at the high end of the “normal” range of the BMI, I felt fat. That is because I have grown up in a culture with an “ideal” image of health and beauty that I can never attain. The strange part is that I was at my least healthy, physically and psychologically, when I approached the ideal most closely and would regularly receive compliments about my looks and health. I was also repeatedly asked for advice about how other people could get to where I was. Looking back, I feel sad for myself and for those who wanted to emulate my negative behaviors.

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Unlearning Fat Phobia Is A Lifelong Process

by Melissa Toler, Pharm.D.

After performing at this year’s Super Bowl half-time show, Lady Gaga’s stomach was at the center of some good old-fashioned body-shaming on social media. Super Bowl viewers took to Twitter and Facebook to express their disapproval of her belly fat and suggested that maybe she should have hit the gym a little harder before the big show. It caused enough of a ruckus that she responded on her Instagram account with a brief post to acknowledge that she is proud of her body… and we should be too.

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Fitbit? No Thanks.

by Nicole Christina, LCSW

Ok. I admit they look cool. Especially the Jawbones. They look like something I might buy in the Museum of Modern Art catalog. Or a fashion statement worn by a character in the film Bladerunner. But I have a real beef with this supposed “health trend”.

For the benefit of discussion, imagine using this computerized tracking system for your dog; counting their steps, weighing and entering their kibble into an app. Doesn’t it make more sense to use your pet’s behavior to judge how much exercise and food they need? Don’t they have an internal system which tells them when to eat and how much to exert themselves?

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The Paradox of Privilege: A Call for Voices

by Dr. Jenny Copeland

(Side note: this piece is not the result of original insight, but rather the result of labor from generous folks of color, as well as queer, transgender, disabled, fat, and other oppressed people who shouldered the task of educating people with privilege, such as myself. I would not have this perspective without their work.)

Silence. They say it’s golden. That it’s deafening. That it speaks volumes.

Silence can be powerful. It can be oppressive. It can build walls to hide behind.

In reality, it is all of these. All of these, and more.

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