Posted by: Patricia Hysong | March 20, 2012

Health vs. Weight: ABCs Part 2

In our previous post, we looked at the first 7 letters of the alphabet, and ways to relate each letter to health and well-being. Today, let’s look at the next 10 letters:

H: Healthy At Every Size (HAES): A non-dieting approach to well-being that is rooted in self-acceptance and celebrates the natural diversity in body sizes and shapes. HAES encourages people to take pleasure in eating healthfully, to get in touch with internal signals, and to enjoy some form of physical activity.

I: Individual Responsibility: One important factor related to people’s behaviors that is often mistakenly viewed as the only factor. Although individuals are responsible for the choices they make, their environments shape the options available; therefore, communities, schools, workplaces, and society also have responsibilities. They must provide healthy options such as safe sidewalks and walking paths, physical activity and recess in schools, access to nutritious, high quality food, etc.

J: Joy in movement: A worthwhile goal and a powerful reward for being physically active. After all, we talk about jumping—not sitting—for joy!

K: Kitchen: Most individuals and families are using their kitchen less because they are eating out more often; however, food being prepared at home (and shared with others, when possible) is important for physical, mental, and social well-being.

L: Losing weight: Some people may lose weight as a result of a health-focused approach to well-being; however, it is best not to set weight loss as a goal in and of itself. When weight loss is the goal and people don’t lose weight in spite of adopting healthier behaviors, they often get discouraged and give up those behaviors. And health can improve even without a change in body weight.

M: Media: A powerful force in society that presents unrealistic (and often unhealthy) images as desirable.

N: Nerve and courage: What it often takes to stand up to size-based discrimination or other forms of prejudice and to live a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle instead of being driven by unhealthy societal pressures.

O: Obese: Although it has a medical definition, this word is often used to express negative feelings and value judgments about individuals. This can make those individuals feel guilty and ashamed.

P: Portion Control: A valuable strategy to eat in a way that is enjoyable and healthful.

Q: Question: This is what we must do with our own size-prejudice beliefs.

 This information is provided courtesy of the Wyoming AgrAbility Project. For more information, visit our website or call toll-free at 866-395-4986.

This information is adapted from The ABCs of Health-Focused Well-Being, and can be found in its entirety here.


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