For a long time we have seen more diverse models of health, bodies different from the normative, more real, and this is not the product of chance or neglect, it is the result of a movement that has stood up against the hierarchy of thinness. Fed up, but mainly fed up, with subjecting ourselves to diets, restrictions, excessive sports, fasting, aesthetic operations, and of making our bodies smaller and modifying them to fit in, a movement has emerged that puts health at the center, outside of aesthetic canons.
HAES (Health At Every Size) is a peaceful movement that aims to show that health is closely related to social, economic, and environmental factors and, therefore, requires a social and political response. It moves away from the idea that we can all be “healthy” only if we belong to a physical pattern. It claims health in all bodies and all sizes, since health is something integral, and weight says nothing about it. Historically, thinness has been the standard-bearer for health, without knowing what that thinness was hiding and, of course, leaving out and accusing all bodies that do not meet these standards of illness or bad habits.
Just by seeing a body of a larger size, we assume that it does not have good eating habits, that it does not play sports, that it is sedentary and that it has analytical values that scare fear. Yeah? And where does this statement come from? How do we know all that just by looking at a body? We don’t really know, but by putting weight at the center of the health paradigm, anything that falls outside of that ideal weight range is sick or neglected. How many thin people are seen in clinics and hospitals with quite improvable analyzes? Well, the same as people with larger bodies: there are those with perfect analytics and with regular analytics.
As I say, it is not the heritage of thinness to have perfect cholesterol. In fact, patients suffering from restrictive anorexia have an exaggerated lipid profile, and have a very limited intake of fat, but their cholesterol and triglycerides are through the roof, since their own body generates them to favor their survival. I’m sure that, if we did a blind analytical tasting, the analysis of a person experiencing anorexia would be attributed to a person with a large body size.
Also, health seems to be the last privilege to acquire. The term “salutism” has been coined to describe the belief or moral value in which health has become, and the achievement of it. Almost the main objective of life is to achieve health and enjoy it, and to achieve it, willpower is put in the center, and we lose personal contexts. Not all of us have the same economic or social resources, we do not have the same access to healthy food, so a status is created: I am healthy and you are not. Now health gives prestige.
I am sure that, if we did a blind analytical tasting, the analysis of a person experiencing anorexia would be attributed to a person with a large body size.
HAES seeks to ensure that health is accessible to all and that the same resources are sought for all, or at least that they are taken into account and that privilege is not a blank slate.
What does this movement claim?
- The first thing, that health is not something unique in thin or normative bodies. Health is possible in all sizes, no weight ensures being healthy, nor, on the contrary, being sick.
- It does not romanticize obesity, nor does it advocate it: it only shows diversity. Make other types of bodies visible without labeling them. It is important to feel represented and have references. Few women feel represented in the hyper-thin models of the 90s and, for this reason, and among other reasons, we have grown in body dissatisfaction. If only that type of body is visible, it is assumed that we are not well and that we have to modify ours to be as close to the canon. It may be that you think that now it is excessive, that it seems that there are only large and very large bodies. Well, look back and ask yourself if it was normal that there were only such extremely thin bodies. Now there is everything, but the new ones call our attention. It is important to know that the WHO no longer considers obesity as a disease, but as a risk factor. The same thing happened with homosexuality, it is no longer a disease. Science advances!
- Promotes that no medicine be made pesocentricIn other words, when faced with a large body, the first diagnosis is not weight loss. In this way it seems that every ailment that a fat person suffers is caused by himself. The same is necessary from nutrition, we cannot prescribe weight loss, or weight loss guidelines, or divert attention from the consultation about weight (which is something that we cannot voluntarily control, you cannot weigh certain kilos just because). We must focus on what can be changed and sustained in the long term, such as eating habits, physical activity, improving the quality of sleep, focusing on improving the patient’s quality of life and removing them from the consultation the scale. If the patient loses some weight, it will be as a consequence of the previous changes, but it will never be the objective of the consultation.
- The fact that weight has been the epicenter of any nutrition consultation has had serious consequences. There are the dieters chronic, those people who go from one diet to another, because as they are very restrictive guidelines, not adapted to their life, shoehorned in and not individualized, who, of course, cannot make changes in real habits and who periodically go from one to another, spending his life on a diet. Without forgetting the most serious cases, we must not lose sight of the fact that at least 10% of EDs (eating disorders) have started with a diet.
This movement has retaken the seed of the fat activism In the 1970s, and less than three months ago, Harvard University presented a health program for all sizes. Changes are coming. He is accused of anti-science, when it is science itself, but without bias this time, that supports it. It is a new and essential movement.
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