The “Health At Every Size” Movement

Ever since I was young, I wanted to look a certain way.  Whether that was socially induced or personally fueled, I don’t know, and in a way, it doesn’t matter.  I wanted to change my body, and I worked hard to do it.  And although, my confidence has been raised tremendously (through the changes in my physical appearance and the numerous life events that have occurred), it begs the question: “Was this obsession with my appearance healthy?”

To be frank, we are all guilty of evaluating the most minute aspect of our own physical appearance.  And although it can motivate us to eat more healthfully and exercise more frequently, each negative thought or feeling against our own reflection is like a punch to our ego and self-esteem.  So why do we do it?  Pop culture?  Social media?  Familial upbringing?  Regardless of the source, it’s time to take control of our own confidence and build healthy relationships with our food, our exercise, and our bodies.

Health at Every Size promotes these positive relationships:

(1) eating by following hunger and fullness cues
(2) exercising for enjoyment
(3) accepting your body as it is, beautiful

Per their blog

“The Health At Every SizeSM approach is about the ways that people of all sizes can maximize their health.  This approach does not mean to give up or to let everything go.  It is an active process by which people work positively with their bodies and within their lifestyles to achieve a level of health which is reasonable and above all, sustainable for them.  It means managing health within a framework of a life well lived as opposed to weight centric, thin at any cost methods.  It means managing nutrition and fitness within a global health framework that would include managing stress, sleeping well, maintaining social connectedness and much, much more. This is not passive, and it is not easy.  It requires a lifetime of careful work in learning which foods nourish you and which leave you feeling unwell; in learning what forms of exercise strengthen you and energize you and which forms leave you depleted and hurting; and in learning to make positive, gradual changes based on self-care rather than self-hatred.”

Critics have judged this behavioral movement as wrong because it promotes people to be lazy, unhealthy, and fat.  But if you truly examine the core principles, Health At Every Size actually promotes positive eating, exercise, and self-acceptance.  Most importantly, it’s a healthy and sustainable lifestyle!

Rarely do we hear that “overweight” people are beautiful.  The fact is everyone is beautiful.  Not everyone has the same body and that’s amazing!  If we are making those positive changes in our daily lives and we are healthy, who is to say that we are not beautiful?  (Answer: no one).

Ultimately, it starts with us.  We determine how we positively we value our behaviors, our bodies, and our health.  Take control and realize that health really can be at every size.  It’s not just a one momentary light switch that comes on; it’s a lifetime of positive behavior and self-love.

Let’s make a shift from focusing on how we LOOK to focusing on how we FEEL.  Feeling strong, healthy, and beautiful are the most important.

(Special thanks to my good friend, Glenys, who is a strong advocate for Health at Every Size and has taught me so much!)

Thomas Ngo
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
Dietetic Intern


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Glenys says:

    Aw shucks. Thanks, Thomas! I’m so happy to see you embracing this philosophy!

    1. David Penner says:

      A healthy approach to eating well and living well. Start where you are and embrace yourself.

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