|Welcome to our first monthly e-newsletter! Our goal is to use this publication to discuss topics in nutrition that we hope will interest you and to keep you updated with what’s new at our practice.The main feature every month will be a column we are calling “He Said, She Said” in which we will each express our individual opinions on a given topic in nutrition. Sometimes we will agree, sometimes we won’t, but ultimately the nutrition and counseling philosophies that brought us from husband and wife to also business partners will shine through.
Our patients often ask us for recipes, particularly ones that are quick and easy, so every month we will share one. If you decide to make it, please let us know how you like it.
Our e-newsletter is a work in progress. While we aim to fill it with information that you care about, sometimes we will undoubtedly miss the mark. If you ever have feedback for how we can make it better, or if you have ideas for future topics, please let us know. After all, this newsletter is for you.
Thank you for taking the time out of your day to be here with us.
He Said, She Said: Health at Every Size
Over the last several months, we have been learning more about the Health at Every Size (HAES) movement. HAES is an approach to health that emphasizes eating intuitively and being physically active for pleasure rather than focusing on weight loss and dieting.
Clearly, HAES flies in the face of almost everything our society believes about health (i.e., that thin people are innately healthier than heavier people, and that losing weight is the be-all and end-all to being a healthier, happier person). Given the years and years of messages we have received about how dangerous it is to be overweight, HAES is a pretty revolutionary and scary premise.
HAES is most typically brought up in the context of overweight individuals, but health – or lack thereof – at leaner sizes also falls under the topic’s umbrella. In other words, just because someone is thin does not mean he or she is healthy.
Recently, a new patient was talking with me about the pressure she feels to be skinny in her community where so many of the women she sees around town are thin. While some of the women my patient envies no doubt are blessed with a foundation of helpful genetics on top of which they have built healthy lifestyles, some of them keep their figures through unhealthy means: excessive exercise, disordered eating, laxative abuse, anorexia, purging, etc.
The truth is that so many of us are dealing with health conditions invisible to others, such as diabetes, hypertension, depression, arthritis, Celiac disease, eating disorders, HIV, and high cholesterol, just to name a few, that we can judge neither one’s health nor lifestyle based on his or her size alone with any degree of accuracy.
In a previous blog, I discussed the limitations of the BMI, as it does not give us enough information about an individual to determine his or her overall health. HAES says that health is about eating according to your body’s hunger, fullness, and appetite cues; exercising for pleasure (as opposed to doing so just to burn calories); and recognizing that health comes in all shapes and sizes.
These ideas are things that I try to stress in my sessions with clients – that if you are only focused on calories in vs. calories out, weight, and exercise solely for the purpose of weight loss, you are missing the bigger picture.