Healthy Habits

Rethink Resolutions

Content provided by the GBS Health & Wellness Team

The new year often brings the excitement of a blank slate and a refreshed sense of ambition. It can be overwhelming to think about capturing the possibilities that the upcoming months hold. As you consider potential resolutions or intentions, try to challenge stereotypical goals centered on appearance or weight loss.

Check out our article “New Year’s Intentions” to learn more about shifting your mindset from resolutions to intentions.

Healthy Weight Week is a public health and awareness campaign observed the third week of January that encourages people to develop healthy habits to reach and maintain a healthy weight. We propose a mindset shift surrounding this national observance: rather than focusing on weight control as the outcome, consider taking a weight-neutral approach that supports adopting healthy habits for the sake of health and well-being.

One framework around this concept is Health At Every Size (HAES). HAES encourages:

  • Weight inclusivity
  • Health enhancement
  • Eating for well-being
  • Respectful care
  • Life-enhancing movement

HAES seeks to downplay weight loss as a health goal and reduce stigma towards people in a larger body. Each person’s genetic inheritance influences their bone structure, body size, shape, and weight differently. We should appreciate those differences, encourage healthy behaviors, and treat every body with respect. You can learn more about the current HAES principles here (note that this organization is currently updating its principles as of December 2023).

Common Questions and Myths

Does HAES support dieting?

Research findings point to the ineffectiveness and potential harm of dieting and intentional weight-loss programs. Long-term research on weight-loss interventions shows weight loss is not sustainable, and gaining additional weight beyond starting diet/intervention weight is the most likely outcome of intentional weight loss. Beyond that, the losing and regaining of weight, known as weight cycling, is directly linked to health risks such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, compromised immune function, increased risk of disordered eating and eating disorders, and more.

Does Health at Every Size mean everyone is healthy regardless of their weight?

The HAES paradigm supports people in making good health choices regardless of size. Every body regardless of size and shape can be healthy, but that doesn’t mean everyone is making positive health decisions. The emphasis is removed from weight as a determination of health status, and every body is recognized for the potential to be healthy or unhealthy regardless of its size.

Does Health at Every Size promote nutrition and healthy habits?

Yes, eating and exercise are important components of health. HAES encourages eating based on internal cues such as hunger and fullness and promotes movement as a component of health.

 

References:
Bacon, L. (2010). Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight. Dallas, TX: BenBella Books.

Tomiyama, A., Ahlstrom, B., & Mann, T. (2017, December 07). Is dieting worth the trouble? Retrieved March 11, 2021, from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/does-dieting-work_b_2253565
Wolpert, S. (2019, May 10). Dieting does not WORK, UCLA researchers report. Retrieved March 11, 2021, from https://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/Dieting-Does-Not-Work-UCLA-Researchers-7832
Golden, N. H., Schneider, M., & Wood, C. (2016). Preventing Obesity and Eating Disorders in Adolescents. Pediatrics, 138(3). doi:10.1542/peds.2016-1649

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