7 myths and misconceptions about the Health at Every Size ®paradigm

I never decided to become a chronic dieter or to develop an eating disorder before reaching age 21. Diets were presented to me like the only option to lose the extra weight that everyone told me I shouldn’t have. Dieting seemed to be the perfect solution to stop class mates from teasing me and calling me a “hippo”. Diets seemed the gateway to happiness.

They became instead the reason why I hated what I saw when I looked at myself in the mirror.

Had I known the amount of suffering and pain that chronic dieting would end up causing me, I would have looked for an alternative. Unfortunately, by the time I found an alternative, the damage to my mind and my body was already done.

So, when I decided to become a holistic nutritionist, nearly a decade after developing an eating disorder, I knew from the start I didn’t want to be the reason why others would fall in the spiral of chronic dieting and disordered eating. I wanted to be a part of the solution, not part of the problem. I wanted to promote an alternative to dieting and self-hate.

The alternative: the Health at Every Size ® paradigm

You might have heard already about Health at Every Size but may not be entirely sure what it’s all about. I have prepared a small guide, “10 Q&A about the Health at Every Size ® paradigm” as an introduction to Health at Every Size. It’s free and you can find it in the Freebies section.

I believe it’s important to spread knowledge and awareness about Health at Every Size. It’s important to let people know there is an alternative to the restrictive dieting mentality that is making them feel inadequate, guilty, and hate themselves.

Often however Health at Every Size is misunderstood. So here’s some of the myths and misconceptions you might have heard about the Health at Every Size ® paradigm and how they’re incorrect.

7 myths and misconceptions about the Health at Every Size ® paradigm

  1. Health at Every Size means that everyone is healthy at any weight: this is the most common misconception associated with Health at Every Size. This is not what the Health at Every Size ® models say. Within Health at Every Size, people who feel unhealthy at their current size are not told that they’re wrong and should be healthy at that size. Health at Every Size acknowledges instead that weight cannot be changed safely and adopts at weight-neutral approach to address health problems.
  2. Health at Every Size is just an excuse for people to eat junk food and ignore their health problems: it is a common belief that Health at Every Size ® models encourage people to eat all the junk food they want and ignore the consequences. That’s not true. Health at Every Size is based on choosing what and how much to eat following internal cues of hunger, appetite, and satiety. When people follow their internal body cues they do not end up just eating junk food — that’s actually one of the results of dieting.
  3. People who aren’t on a diet right now are following the Health at Every Size ® model: not being on a diet is not the same as following the Health at Every Size ® paradigm. Someone might not be actively restricting food or watching what they eat but might still believe that they need to lose weight in order to be healthy. Health at Every Size encompasses a wider set of assumptions that goes beyond just not dieting for a little while.
  4. Only fat people believe in Health at Every Size: Health at Every Size is an all-inclusive paradigm. People who follow and teach the Health at Every Size ® paradigm have a variety of sizes and weights.
  5. People who follow the Health at Every Size ® model hate thin people, especially if they managed to lose weight: Health at Every Size is based on acceptance, compassion, mindfulness, non-judgment, and trust. There is no hate for anyone within the Health at Every Size ® paradigm.
  6. Health at Every Size cannot be used by doctors because they cannot weigh people: doctors and other health professionals do not evaluate someone’s health only by measuring their weight and how it changes. Health at Every Size evaluates health holistically, by looking at physical as well as mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health.
  7. Health at Every Size is not backed up by science: there are numerous studies on Health at Every Size and more studies are being conducted. Several studies that were conducted on weight loss actually ended up backing up the Health at Every Size ® paradigm. Hundreds of research studies are cited in most of the books listed in our Resources section.

An alternative might make a world of difference

At the time when I was healing from my eating disorder, I had no idea that all the ideas, tools, and concepts that were helping me heal fell within a complete and evidence-based paradigm. I only learned about Health at Every Size when I began studying holistic nutrition in grad school.

Perhaps Health at Every Size can save you years of suffering and self-hate. Or perhaps it might help someone you know or someone you don’t even know yet. I know Health at Every Size changed my life before I even knew it existed.

Health At Every Size is a registered trademark of the Association for Size Diversity and Health and used with permission.

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