Healthy At Every Size #HAES
Have you heard about Healthy At Every Size?
Well, it's time for another awakening.
Look, Healthy At Every Size doesn't mean that everyone is healthy at every size, it means you can't assume someone's health by their body size.
This might remind you of how Black Lives Matter doesn't mean that only Black lives matter, it means that All lives can't matter until Black Lives Matter.
I see so much body size bias talk in the hospital as a nurse and I'll be honest, I've been guilty of it myself.
I've been challenging my bias over the last four months since I first heard about the HAES movement.
I'm working on reprogramming my language as it is so influenced by diet, weight loss and body size bias in our culture. But...
One of the goals of the movement is to be a movement that, "Challenges scientific and cultural assumptions;" about health and body size.
I'm starting to see that my assumptions didn't have a strong basis in reality.
One example is that some thin bodies can have high cholesterol, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes whereas some fat bodies can have blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar all perfectly within normal limits.
Some thin bodies are riddled with stress because of the pressure to maintain a particular figure whereas some totally love their fat bodies and don't engage in harmful body size manipulation behaviors.
We know that negative stress is associated with many poor health outcomes.
(Notice I'm saying skinny bodies and fat bodies. Please check yourself if you think one is derogatory and the other is not. That comes from language programing that's deeply imbedded in our culture.)
Another example is that some thin bodies never exercise and some fat bodies are active all day every day.
Here's one challenge I can offer.
I've heard over and over again that obesity is an underlying condition that predisposes people to the more severe symptoms of covid-19 and even death.
I saw a young man with the body of an olympic athlete die of COVID 19 and I've seen multiple people with the diagnosis of obesity recover and go home.
In the ICU setting we see the worst of the worst.
So here's my challenge.
Is obesity actually an underlying condition or is it just a correlated with conditions that predisposes someone to poorer outcomes?
If that's the case, wouldn't it be more helpful to focus on the real problem conditions rather than the corollaries?
I'm looking forward to seeing studies in the future that do a better job teasing out obesity bias in research.
So as of this week, I've started a new FB group called We Tryin.
"We are a health promotion community that believes we can be healthy at every size. We focus on health promoting behaviors and reject body size bias, diet and weight loss culture."
I've called it "We Tryin" because maintaining our health takes effort and that's one thing people of all body sizes have in common. We Tryin!
I believe success in health looks at ALL aspects of health and it's about consistency in our actions and intentions, not solely about our waist size.
Here is a good list of the some of the things known to lead to good health; life purpose, movement, daily downshifting, nutrition, moderate alcohol consumption, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, being surrounded by a supportive tribe and maintaining a high value family and community.
We don't always have time or the ability to move our bodies but "We Tryin"
Obligation can overshadow our life purpose but "We Tryin"
Making time to downshift is hard when their is no time but "We Tryin"
Balancing our need for nutrition and satiation can be a struggle but "We Tryin"
High quality nutritious food choices aren't always accessable or affordable but "We Tryin"
It's hard to know who to trust about nutrition but "We Tryin"
We can't always have wine at 5 but "We Tryin"
We don't always drink enough water but "We Tryin"
We would love to get enough sleep every day but, "We Tryin"
We can't always surround ourselves with loving supportive people and messages but "We Tryin" (This is one reason why I'm starting this group)
Not all of us have families to love but "We Tryin"
We don't all feel safe in communities of faith but "We Tryin" to build safe communities anyway.
I'm really looking forward to seeing how this community grows because it looks to me like we're planting this garden in good, nontoxic soil.
Feel free to join and participate if you like.
Love, Health and Solidarity,