Written by Amy Elasser – Nutrition student
Tis’ the season for a mix of gluttony followed by New Year Resolutions which will likely include trying the next new diet. There are even messages, thanks to the diet industry, promoting “preventive diets”. These are targeted to the few people who don’t actually want to lose any weight but are afraid of gaining any weight during the Holidays, I kid you not!
In today’s weight obsessed culture we are bombarded with images of skinny, fit, “healthy” looking people. Even the plus-size winner of America’s Next Top Model was not what many would consider plus-size. Our culture seems to have a split personality when it comes to weight and food. For every image we see of a painfully thin model or actress, we receive an equal number of warnings about the obesity epidemic coupled with advertisements for fast food or decadent desserts. It’s enough to make our heads spin! Worries about achieving a defined healthy weight can lead many people to become anxious about what they eat and how they look. This anxiety leads consumers to search for a quick fix, otherwise known as a fad diet. Fad diets often make their creators rich as people try one after another and ultimately abandon them because they are hard to maintain and still don’t give the results people wanted or expected.
So what are we human girls supposed to do? In a sea of madness, there is a website devoted to making people feel good about who they are. Health at Every Size (HAES) is based on the simple premise that the best way to improve health is to honor your body. It supports people in adopting health habits for the sake of health and well-being (rather than weight control). While being healthy is important, it’s also good to remember that not every body fits into a perfect box or weight range.
HAES has a pledge people can sign, (over 5,000 already have) to show their support in changing eating habits. The pledge also helps garner support for HAES and increase media awareness of their cause. Unfortunately, HAES does not get much media attention because diet books sell; TV show ratings increase when they offer diet help and fad diets make money. HAES provides resources that people can use to help them end their preoccupations with food and diets. Everything from websites with clothes for people of all sizes, to books about intuitive eating. Volunteer work, research and other community resources are also listed. Be sure to check out some of the interesting blogs listed under the resources section. You are sure to find one that resonates with you. Get on board with empowered eating and learn to love yourself!