HAES

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.

Read More »Recovering Abundantly in a One-Size-Fits-All World

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.

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

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.)

Read More »Confessions of a Dietitian

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.

Read More »A Fat Runner’s Path to Intuitive Exercise

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.

Read More »Unlearning Fat Phobia Is A Lifelong Process

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?

Read More »Fitbit? No Thanks.

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.

Read More »The Paradox of Privilege: A Call for Voices

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry: A Very HAES Holiday

by Lindsey Schuhmacher, MA

When I was a teenager, I lived with my older sister. We had an oversized magnet on the fridge that said “Eat, Drink, and be Fat and Drunk.” We thought it was funny. In some ways, I still do. It sets you up for one thing, but then surprises you with an irreverent version instead. But now I see things other than humor in it. I recognize a deep paranoia that accompanies the idea of letting go and really enjoying something. I sense a fatalism that says that if we eat and drink what we like, it will inevitably lead to outright gluttony.

With the holidays fast approaching, I encounter that paranoia on a daily basis. “Oh no!” I seem to hear everywhere, “There will be loads of yummy food around! This is terrible!” While this may seem like a “good problem” to have, considering the privilege involved in having access to parties and copious amounts of food, if you believe that a morsel of yummy food will start you down a slippery slope towards excesses you dare not imagine, it makes sense to be terrified!

Read More »Eat, Drink, and Be Merry: A Very HAES Holiday

Fat Studies: May the Next Generation of Fat Kids Be Free of Self-Hatred

by Mikalina Kirkpatrick

I am a Women, Gender, and Sexualities Studies (WGSS) major at Portland State University in Oregon. I concluded my junior year with a 2016 Spring term of Fat Studies immersion. I was the teaching assistant for an online class called Gender and Body Image and I took an online senior capstone class called Embracing Size Diversity. I then decided to round out the term with a last-minute eight hour bus ride to Vancouver, BC to attend the fourth annual International Weight Stigma Conference.

After a lifetime of fat phobic schooling, this was 10 weeks of incredible, unusual, validating, and empowering education. If education has the potential to reshape the world, it’s really exciting to think about the next generation of gym teachers, nurses, teachers and others who work with kids going through this kind of educational experience.

Read More »Fat Studies: May the Next Generation of Fat Kids Be Free of Self-Hatred

HAES and Naturopathic Medicine: Using HAES Principles to Facilitate Healing

by Caitlin O’Connor, ND

Practicing medicine, especially naturopathic medicine, in a weight-obsessed culture can be tricky. Food and movement are two of the most powerful tools I have to help my patients feel better, but how do I apply those tools in a culture so obsessed with diet and exercise as a means to an end (get skinnier) rather than a foundation for health? Oftentimes, my patients come to me having been traumatized by not only the weight loss industry, but also by medical professionals who have blown off their medical needs and/or focused solely on weight loss as a singular approach to anything that ails them. Figuring out how to work with women of all sizes – in a society that desperately sells the idea of small and slender as the only markers for health – has been a huge challenge in my practice.

First things first, when I work with patients, I ask them to define their goals. I would guess that at least 50%, if not more, of the women in my practice list weight loss as one of their primary concerns. This opens the door for conversation. Why is weight loss important? What has their relationship with weight been over the life span? Is there any history of disordered eating?

Read More »HAES and Naturopathic Medicine: Using HAES Principles to Facilitate Healing