Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Does HAES promote obesity and eschew weight loss? 8 Ball says yep

Most everyone my age probably remembers the Magic 8 Ball which you asked random questions and received random answers based on the luck of the roll. A concerning movement,  HAES (Healthy at Every Size) seems to advocate obesity and eschew weight loss. And based on a variety of things, I'd say it's about as reliable as a Magic 8 Ball in determining how healthy one is. 

HAES proclaims to be about healthy living through movement and eating nutritionally. But its prospectus promotes "flexible, individualized eating based on hunger, satiety, nutritional needs, and pleasure, rather than any externally regulated eating plan focused on weight control." And on exercise, it supports "physical activities that allow people of all sizes, abilities, and interests to engage in enjoyable movement, to the degree that they choose" (or don't it seems). 

To me, that reads "ignore the scale, it's all healthy, eat what you want as long as you enjoy it and move or don't if you don't feel like it. And if anyone calls you overweight (including a trained medial professional), blame them for "stigmatizing" and body-shaming." Anyone who's been overweight or is will tell you, that's music to the ears. Finally someone gets it. I'm not fat, obese, call it what you like, I'm misunderstood.  

Not only is it not my fault, I'm not responsible to do anything about it because 200-300 pounds overweight, is just as healthy as normal weight. Why WOULD anyone attempt weight loss after being told they're just as healthy no matter what and how much they eat and how little if any they move?

Okay so I get that body positivity is important but so is truthfulness. You don't have to hate yourself, and of course shouldn't,  to admit you need to lose weight. But can anyone be really body positive when they are lugging around the equivalent of 4 cases of water with every step? NO! It's exhausting and depressing. And on that note, I've found that almost everyone who turns to HAES, has depression, is lethargic, etc. They are not the smiling faces shown on the website. HAES would say that's because they've been body shamed for obesity and once they start loving themselves at any size, depression goes away. Ehh, that's a really big risk to take and very likely not going to to work. When you are very overweight, you are literally weighed down (refer to my water bottle analogy) and depression is a logical outcome. 

In fact, almost everyone I've talked to in my 100-lb weight loss journey feels better after they lose weight. Most of us didn't want to move because extra pounds made us tired and depressed. I suggest ideas feed the shocking rise in obesity, obesity related health issues and gastric bypass surgeries.  I think Dr. Now of "My 600-lb Life" would like a word with HAES. Ask patients on "My 600-lb Life" how happy they aren't being so big.

Maybe you're thinking, oh but really, HAES isn't talking about being THAT overweight and healthy?? But I think they are. If there's no such thing as unhealthy weight, why not 400-600 pounds? As long as we don't mention health risks, they don't exist, right? As long as people are happy overeating and not moving, it's okay (and they are perfectly happy overeating and not moving, watch any episode of "My 600-lb Life"). What they are not happy about is the early death looming. Because you can be as body positive as you want, you can't magic away diabetes, heart failure, blood clots, lymphedema, sepsis and the other buffet of killers associated with obesity. 


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