I’ve lately had an ongoing email conversation with someone from another blog, on which there was some question as to what Green Mountain at Fox Run was all about. Primarily, they were concerned that we profess to be a HAES (Health at Every Size) program, yet we talk about weight loss all over our site.
What the heck is Health at Every Size?
For those who don’t know, HAES is a movement that is all about being the best you can be, whatever your size. It’s not about weight loss, but about being healthy, and letting your body find its natural healthy weight. It has nothing to do with BMI or ‘ideal’ weight charts, etc. It’s very individual, and as many of us have finally realized, that’s what we are. Just because the media, and society in general, idealizes slim bodies, it doesn’t mean that’s what we’re all meant to be, nor that we’re unhealthy if we’re not. But I digress.
I really want to talk about the idea of weight loss as a goal. When women come to our website, they learn that we can help them achieve healthy weight loss as part of our healthy weight loss program. We talk about that a fair amount on our site because for the most part, that’s what women think they’re looking for.
So on the website we talk their language, and the vast majority of women who come to us discover that indeed by beginning to live healthfully, taking care of themselves, their body weight begins to shift to a healthier place. That’s downward for most women who come to us because they have dieted their way to higher weights. When they begin eating normally, and get active, their bodies naturally move to what’s right for them. What’s often even more dramatic, though, is the change in body size independent of weight. Dress sizes drop as bodies become leaner and stronger, a result of eating well and enjoyable physical activity.
The big difference in our program and a typical weight loss spa is that we don’t promote weight loss as a goal. In fact, we very strongly recommend against it. Instead, we see weight loss occur for many people as an outcome of changing attitudes, beliefs and behaviors to foster long-term well-being. A recent study in the April 2006 issue of the Journal of The American Dietetic Association (unfortunately I think you need to subscribe to access it) confirmed this view that weight loss as a goal is counterproductive. It defined dieting as a means of losing weight, and showed that dieting increases the risk of weight gain and weight-related problems.
Giving up the goal of weight loss is hard for many of us, especially those of us who have been in search of it since we were children. But imagine the difference in and productiveness of our days when we stop obsessing about our weight and just start living well, happily and healthfully going through life. Now that’s a goal.