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Our bodies are undoubtedly the most amazing thing we will ever own so how come it’s so easy for us to insult and berate them? Society teaches us to value our bodies for their perceived attractiveness above all else. This discredits them by discounting all of the important ways our bodies support us and help us to connect to one another that are in no way related to appearance.

The Health at Every Size® (HAES) movement has a surprisingly simple way to think about caring for our bodies. Based on the premise that the best way to improve health is to honor your body, HAES supports adopting healthy habits for the sake of health and well-being rather than weight control. This means acknowledging and respecting that there is a natural diversity of body sizes and shapes and that health isn’t “one size fits all.”

Health should be an individual journey. There’s no one height, one weight, one shape that is healthy. How can you find what it means for you to be healthy?

  • Be mindful of your own thoughts about what it means to be healthy
  • Know what feels comfortable for your body
  • Stay active in ways that make you happy – You’re more likely to form a healthy habit doing something you enjoy. If you dread running on a treadmill at the gym, try taking a Zumba or yoga class instead.
  • Notice internal cues when eating – Take notice of the foods that improve your mood or may give you energy and avoid foods that leave you feeling sluggish.

This outlook puts you in the position to partner with your body, rather than critique or disparage it. This partnership has the potential to improve your self-image, diminish critical thoughts and change your every-day life.

In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life and many more have an unhealthy relationship with their body. Using a strengths-based ideology, one that encourages self-acceptance and respect can help to reduce the number of people who are negatively impacted by the way our society views weight.

For more information about Health at Every Size, visit http://www.haescommunity.org/.

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