Health At Every Size

Revisiting Health at Every Size® with Lindo Bacon, PhD

by Chelsea Fielder-Jenks, LPC-S, CEDS and ASDAH Education Committee Chair

When I heard Dr. Lindo Bacon was releasing a new book, Radical Belonging: How to Survive and Thrive in an Unjust World (and Transform it for the Better), I was eager to read an excerpt that they generously sent along (see full excerpt below).

In the excerpt, Lindo revisits their first book Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight, which was written over a decade ago, and expresses how they have personally and professionally evolved since that time.

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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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Never too much: Reflections on accessibility and fatness

by Gabrielle Hruska

In the summer of 2017, I woke up one Wednesday morning, unable to walk. The pain was so intense in my right hip and ankle, and my left knee. Unbearable pain, with absolutely no recognizable reason. I went to Urgent Care, the doctor there thought maybe I had Lyme Disease, she advised me to take antibiotics, and to see my regular doctor BEFORE THE WEEKEND. By the next morning, I was unable to take the pain and went to the Emergency Room. In Radiology, they thought I had been in a car accident. After 4 days in the hospital, it was determined that I had Reactive Arthritis. Reactive Arthritis is really rare, and was described to me, as precipitated by a “perfect storm” in the body. Some kind of infection combined with food poisoning, and after the food poisoning passes, your body can go into Reactive Arthritis. I did not test positive for any kind of infection, nor did I have food poisoning… I have no idea why this happened. It takes anywhere from 6 months to a year to recover from Reactive Arthritis, and my Rheumatologist says I will always be susceptible to a flare up. I spent the entire summer using a walker. I fought desperately against the supposition that “Of course this happened, you are fat.”

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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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Food is the New Classism

by Glenys Oyston

The argument (really just a friendly debate; not an actual fight) has stuck in my head for years.

A self-proclaimed foodie friend and I were discussing the qualities of the best grilled cheese sandwiches. I declared that my favorite was still the kind made with processed cheese slices. She was horrified. “Ugh no!” she gasped. “That’s not REAL cheese!”

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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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