Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What Health at Every Size means to me

After my previous posts I had someone say to me something along the lines of, "My brain tells me that a smaller size is part of being healthier."  Now before anyone takes umbrage, she didn't mean it in a negative way or a mean way.  That's not how this particular lady works.  I read it as her puzzling things out in her mind regarding the things that I've been talking about.

That's the thing, really.  We have all been told for so long that fat is unfit, that it has become reflex for us to think of a smaller size equalling a fitter body.  But it doesn't necessarily happen that the two go hand in hand with each other.  Even people who have experienced being fit and being larger than society approves of still can have the mindset because the Establishment has told them for so long that they STILL weren't fit due to their size that even though they have empirical evidence to the contrary, they doubt themselves.  Isn't that saying something about our world, that people who have LIVED an experience can doubt it because they have been told the opposite for so long?

Now, I'm not saying that if you lose weight that's a bad thing.  Your body will know what the right weight for you is, and that right weight may even change from time to time depending on circumstances.  The important thing isn't what size you are, it is that you feel good at that size.  Mentally you should feel at the top of your game, emotionally you should love yourself, and physically you should feel like you can do anything that you want to do.  If you want to play sports, then you are healthy when you can do so and enjoy it.  If you want to dance, then you are healthy when you can get out there and cut a rug while having fun doing so!  If you want to sing, you are healthy when you can do so with the breath support you need to hit the proper notes and hold them as long as you should.  THESE are valid indicators of health, not some number on a scale or a measuring tape!

Unfortunately, that is not what The Establishment wants us to know.  The Establishment (also known as the Diet Industry) wants us to hate ourselves.  I know, there are some of you saying, "Oh jeez, there goes Melodramatic Lys again." but that's not it at all.  Think about it, it is very logical.  If we love ourselves as we are, if we view potential changes to our bodies as the natural outcome of listening to those self-same bodies and doing what comes right and naturally to us, then what reason would there be for the existence of The Establishment?  None whatsoever, and they know it.  That is why they promote things like "The War on Obesity" and self-hatred.  They do so in order to propogate their own existence, and to make a profit from all of those people who have learned to hate themselves via the messages of fat-hate that bombard us every day.

For instance, did you know that that the World Health Organization pushed for the BMI standards for "normal" weight to be lowered to 25?  Did you also know that this was based on the work of the International Obesity Task Force?  Lastly, do you know who funded the IOTF?  Surprise, surprise, it was funded by the makers of Xenical and Meridia, two of the most popular weight loss drugs.

Let that sink in for a moment.  The health policy of the United States of America regarding size and weight was decided by the makers of weight loss drugs.  What does this tell you?  That is up to you to decide.  I can only let you know what it tells me, which is that our health is just another chip in the money game, a tool in the corporate game of power, and that true health doesn't matter at all if it doesn't bring profit to someone's pocket.

So, here we are, with our national health policies being determined by the people who have the most to make from us hating ourselves, and with our body chemistry being screwed up by the latest weight loss fads and fitness trends.  Oh, and we're still fat because most people who lose large amounts of weight do NOT keep it off (see resources listed below).

Thus we come to what Health at Every Size means to me.  It is really quite simple, to me it means that no matter what we look like, no matter how much we weigh, we can be healthy.  If we stop running so hard that we don't hear ourselves, we can re-locate that part of ourselves that wants to be fit.  We can have that dish of ice cream as long as we pay attention to it and truly enjoy it, and as long as we stop eating it when we realize that it doesn't taste as good as it did when we started.  Over time, as we listen and eat what we're really wanting, we'll find ourselves wanting a strawberry rather than a piece of strawberry candy.  Don't get me wrong, I don't see my desire for chocolate disappearing into the mists never to return a la Frodo and Gandalf, but I DO see it becoming more manageable even as I learn how to do this H@ES thing.  I am already finding myself having one or two squares of chocolate, then re-wrapping the bar and putting it away as opposed to eating half a big bag of M&M's.

Start listening, REALLY listening to what your body wants.  It will make a difference.  Start being healthy in mind and heart by loving yourself as you are.  Start eating when you're hungry and stopping when you don't physically want any more.  Start moving when your body says to move, and start getting enough rest that it is capable of wanting to move.

You'll feel better.  You'll be healthy, no matter what size you are.  And, The Establishment forbid, you'll be happier.


Miller, W.C., How effective are traditional dietary and exercise interventions for weight loss? 
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 1999.  31 (8): p. 1129-1134.

Mann, T., et al., Medicare’s Search for Effective Obesity Treatments: Diets Are Not the Answer.  American Psychologist, 2007.  62(3): p. 220-33.

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