Our obsession for thinness is a multibillion-dollar industry, selling body dissatisfaction through diets, supplements, gym memberships and even surgery.
Recently I chatted to Anna Hearn, founder of Haven Wellness in Sydney, about the Health At Every Size (HAES) philosophy. On the vlog, Anna shares her story and why it is important to say no to diet culture. This approach the antithesis of her previous incarnation as a personal trainer.
“For me it was like a lightbulb. As I learned about Health At Every Size it all made sense to me…I couldn’t ethically continue being in the fitness world following the traditional approaches, selling people protein shakes and putting people on scales every month.”
Anna Hearn, founder of Haven Wellness
Anna has created a unique wellness community, including a body positive fitness and yoga studio and a hub for HAES practitioners.
Why diet culture is toxic
What I know for sure about the weight loss industry:
- The majority of people trying to lose weight aren’t obese, with many already being underweight or within ‘normal’ range
- Most weight loss programs cause weight gain rather than loss
- Being underweight has a similar mortality risk as being ‘morbidly obese’
- Body Mass Index (BMI) is a flawed indicator of health
- Fat stigma, discrimination and shaming may actually cause some major health problems
“ Dieting to lose weight in people who are in the healthy normal range of body weight, rather than in those who are overweight or obese, most strongly and consistently predict future weight gain.”
How dieting makes the lean fatter: from a perspective of body composition autoregulation through adipostats and proteinstats awaiting discovery
Fetishising thinness in the name of health
While dieting and thinness is often confused with a healthy lifestyle, the psychological impact of body dissatisfaction and constantly striving to lose weight is far from it.
The desire to eat is necessary for survival. When we demonise or avoid food, it stresses our body both physically and mentally.
Health At Every Size
The good news is there is another way.
The HAES approach encompasses a variety of wellbeing strategies including body diversity, intuitive eating, life enhancing activity and social connectivity.
HAES and body positivity: Food Psyche podcast: Episode 127 on intuitive? eating and Health At Every Size FAQs with Ashley Seruya and Christy Harrison
Anna’s favourite body positive podcasts, books and more