Archives for Health At Every Size (HAES)
Every year, on or around July 4th, I republish and update a piece on declaring our independence from what doesn’t serve or support us — everything from dieting to damaging beliefs. I hope you find it helpful! And I hope you have a wonderful holiday or Monday. Today, we celebrate our independence here in America. But wherever you live, it also might be the day you celebrate your independence, too.
We don't need to lose weight to feel comfortable in our own skin. One reason is that weight fluctuates so it's not a sure thing. Why depend on something that naturally shifts all the time? We also don't need to wait. Why wait any longer to feel more comfortable and at peace? Because there are many other ways. Recent, we talked about one way: identifying what's really going on.
Years ago I believed that in order to finally feel comfortable in my own skin, I had to lose weight. Because most days, I felt so uncomfortable, so overwhelmed, so weighed down, so stuffed and so sad. I thought being thin would magically make me feel calmer, less restless and antsy, less sad. I thought it would clear up my confusion, soothe my anxiety and make it all better.
Yesterday, in this post, I talked about the illusion of thinness---the belief that once we lose weight and finally become "thin," we will have everything we've ever wanted. Our lives will be beautiful. We will finally be worthy of love, care and attention. We can finally wear comfortable, stunning clothes. We can finally treat ourselves to delicious meals and kind habits. We will finally have it all.
When we're thin, everything will finally arrange itself into so much beauty that we'll cry from all the joy. We'll start waking up excited. We'll start feeling fulfilled. We'll finally be confident. We'll finally feel calm and at peace. People's harsh words will no longer cut through us. We'll no longer second-guess ourselves. We'll no longer feel alone. We'll no longer feel left out or like we don't belong. Because we will belong. We'll belong to the clique, to the club.
Today, in the U.S., we honor Martin Luther King, Jr., who had an incredible dream and helped make it a reality. Inspired by his powerful speech and Therese Borchard’s beautiful piece, every year I republish a post on my personal dream (which I’ve updated since last year). It’s a dream that focuses on everything from how we treat each other to how we treat ourselves. I have a dream that our society will stop judging, shaming and bullying people because of their size, shape and weight.
Since I’ve been writing Weightless, every year around this time, I’ve shared a list of last-minute gifts we can give to our loved ones and ourselves — whether we’re celebrating Christmas or not. I’ve combined those lists, updated them and added new ideas. Below, you’ll find a combination of presents you can purchase and gifts that don’t cost a thing. When I say body positive in the title, I mean anything that supports a positive body image. Anything that supports taking kind, sweet care of ourselves or others. Anything that inspires or uplifts. Anything that provides meaning and nourishment. I hope these give you some good ideas!
On Friday, I shared 15 ways we can boost our health and well-being, which have nothing to do with weight. Health is very personal, and how you define health is entirely up to you. My intention is to show that there are many, many ways we can get healthier, without having to focus on arbitrary numbers -- especially since for so many of us those numbers actually lead to unhealthy habits and shame. We don't need to create an end goal of X number of pounds, which may or may not happen. Instead, we can start to feel better right away. We can engage in habits that inspire and energize us, that calm and relax us, this very minute. Below are 15 more ideas.
Recently, I received a comment on this post, which I wrote several years ago. The reader, Julia, thanked me for sharing suggestions on boosting our health and well-being, which don't include losing weight. This inspired me to share some more ideas. Because there are countless ways we can get healthier and take great care of ourselves that have nothing to do with weight.
Today, I’m excited and honored to share my interview with Judith Matz and Elizabeth Patch, creators of the powerful kids book Amanda's Big Dream. It tells the story of a girl who dreams of a solo in the Spring Ice Skating Show. But her confidence plummets when her skating coach makes a comment about her weight. I’ve known Judith and Elizabeth for several years now, and have featured their important work here on Weightless. Elizabeth is a high school art teacher and illustrator who creates beautiful images that reflect a diversity of body types. As she says on her website: "Happy art for every body!" Judith is a licensed clinical social worker who's been helping people overcome overeating and build a healthy relationship with food and themselves for over 25 years. She's also the author of The Diet Survivor's Handbook: 60 Lessons in Eating, Acceptance and Self-Care and Beyond a Shadow of a Diet: The Comprehensive Guide to Treating Binge Eating Disorder, Compulsive Eating, and Emotional Overeating.