May 21, 2016

Weight is NOT a behaviour.

The behaviours we engage in are important to be aware of because they can have an impact, positive or negative, on our health, but it’s important to note that unlike smoking cigarettes (a behaviour which is often brought up in debates about health approaches), weight is NOT a behaviour.

Healthy behaviours might include things like eating nutritious and satisfying foods, listening to internal hunger and fullness cues, engaging in enjoyable physical activity, spending time with friends, getting plenty of sleep and having regular check ups at the doctor, dentist and optometrist.

The Health at Every SizeĀ®, or HAESĀ®, approach encourages us to engage in these sorts of behaviours no matter what size we are, as they will have a positive effect on our health, whether or not we lose weight by doing them.
HAES also acknowledges that health has many influencing factors that aren’t always under our control (socioeconomic factors, access issues, stigma, prejudice etc) and that our own health is not a moral issue – ie people deserve to be treated with respect whether they’re healthy or unhealthy, full stop.

It’s the complete opposite of a “throw your hands up and give up on health because there’s no point” approach. It’s definitely not a “you’re automatically healthy no matter what size you are or what you do” approach. Rather, it empowers us all to make choices to enhance our health as best we can, in the ways in which we wish to, while respecting the choices of others.

It makes improved health available to us all, big or small, recognises that stigmatising people based on their weight (or anything else) causes people mental anguish which is bad for their health, and encourages each of us to take control of the behaviours which have the best chances of moving us towards improved health and quality of life, to the degree that we choose.

That sounds pretty healthy to me.

Submit a Comment