Healthy at Every Size – Believing the Movement

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Written By

Rhea Dali

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Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

Health At Every Size 1 | Healthy At Every Size - Believing The Movement

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More than any other time in modern day, there is a movement gradually spanning social media, retail clothing and media corporations: Body Positivity. Specifically, “Health at Every Size.”

The premise of this movement?: “Supporting people in adopting health habits for the sake of health and well-being (rather than weight control).”

“Health at Every Size” supporters reject the idea that dieting with the goal of weight loss, “directly and controllably improves health.” (i.e. dieting and weight loss does NOT actually mean “health”). The viral message reminds us that beauty is far more than skin deep and that true health goes far beyond the number on a scale or the size of our jeans.

 In addition, the philosophy recognizes that, while the benefits of lifestyle interventions (such as nutritious eating and exercise are seen as evidence based), their benefits are independent of any weight loss they may cause (i.e. healthy eating and exercise is NOT just about weight loss).

This new positive message has inspired more and more clothing, hygiene, fitness and beauty companies and platforms to jump on the bandwagon:

  • Dove was one of the first to the party—with the True Beauty campaign.
  • A handful of documentaries (like “Miss Representation” and “Embrace”) have highlighted the negative impacts of culture and media on our skewed beauty beliefs.
  • And Athleta recently released their “real women”  spring catalog—revealing un-airbrushed women-of-all-sizes as the models (swimsuits and all).

With all this positivity flowing around us, we SHOULD automatically just embrace our bodies then, right?

We should automatically feel more confident in ourselves, right?

(Crickets. Crickets.)

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If you still have a tough time “embracing your body”—regardless of what the scale says or the number many times you say, “I love my body!”—you’re not alone.

97% of women have an “I hate my body” moment everyday—with upwards of 12-20 moments!

If you’re open to a new belief system and some more positivity, let’s get to the roots of what is holding you back from truly believing in “health at every size.”

STEP 1: ADDRESS ROOT BELIEFS

First things first, think back to the time in your life when you first looked in the mirror and realized what you looked like. Not the baby who looks in the mirror and goes “goo goo, gah, gah,” but the little girl who looked in the mirror and first said, “Hmm…I don’t know if I like what I see…” The first time negative body image (and low self-esteem) began to set in? Write any thoughts or reflections about that time.

STEP 2: THE STORY OF US:  YOU + YOUR BODY

With that starting place of your first recollections of a negative mindset pinpointed, now begin writing your timeline. Your analogy of what that relationship with your body has looked like over time. What circumstances, experiences, conversations, comments and influences have shaped you and your relationship with your body over the years? Jot down any key things that come to mind (ex. I idolized Jennifer Aniston and Kelly Kapowski as a kid and body comparison to my celebrity idols were part of my relationship with my own body; another example: In the 4th grade, the most popular girl in school asked me what I weighed after saying that she herself was fat at 69 pounds. I weighed about 10 pounds more than her, and so I thought, ‘I MUST be fat if she thinks she is fat…:). You get the picture.

STEP 3: IDENTIFYING THE LIES

Now, with your timeline in place, think about ALL THE MESSAGES, lies and “beliefs” you’ve told yourself for years—in regards to your own image and worth. Write a list of these out.

From, “I am not good enough,” to, “When you lose 10 lbs. then you’ll be pretty,” to “My thighs are so big,” to “You suck.” You decide.

STEP 4: UNDERSTANDING NEW TRUTHS

For each of thee statements you just wrote out, now it’s time to counter them with truths. And while you’re at it, learn some new truths along the way.

First, looking at that list of “lies”—next to each of them, create a new counter (truth) statement.

That “voice” that says the opposite—even if it’s hard to believe.

Then…Reflect upon these “Health at Every Size” statements mentioned earlier:

1.) Dieting and weight loss does NOT actually mean “health”

2.) Healthy eating and exercise is NOT just about weight loss, and the true benefits of nutritious food and movement at actually independent of weight

Health (and happiness) does NOT equal a number or size.

Health (and happiness) does NOT equal a number or size.

Health (and happiness) does NOT equal a number or size.

Health (and happiness) does NOT equal a number or size.

Health (and happiness) does NOT equal a number or size.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Understand that the story we tell ourselves is often the one we most believe.

We’ve been telling ourselves for fat too long that a certain weight=the answer to all we ever wanted…

Health (and beauty) is MORE than anything a feeling and state of being.

STEP 5: WORTH IT

While you’re at all this reflecting and digging, you concurrently must understand your own self—who you are.

It’s not enough to tell yourself statements (you know this).

Do some exploring to better understand your unique beauty (inside and out) that makes you, well, uniquely you. Answer these 5 questions for starters:

  1. What 5 things light you up?! (Get you out of bed? Would you do regardless of the money? Do you get excited to talk about)?
  2. What would your best friend say your top 5 strengths are?
  3. If you could work any career right now, live anywhere you wanted and be doing whatever you wanted—money, others’ opinions or any other constraint were not an issue—what would that be?
  4. What comes REALLY natural to you? Like you don’t even have to really try?
  5. What amazing things can your body do? What amazing things can your mind do?

STEP 6: WORK IT

Who is the most confident, beautiful, popular girl in the room?

A girl who glows.

A girl who cares more about engaging and uplifting others, than boosting her own ego.

A girl with a kind smile, soft spirit and quiet sense of worth.

A girl who knows her worth and own uniqueness.

Embrace that girl—she’s within you.

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