Health at Every Size® (HAES®) is a revolutionary approach to health and well-being that challenges traditional weight-focused methods, recognising that all bodies, regardless of size or shape, deserve respect and care. By prioritising body autonomy and embracing a weight-neutral perspective, HAES® empowers individuals to cultivate a more compassionate and holistic connection with their body and to health, free from the constraints of diet culture and societal expectations.
The concept of health at every size
HAES® is actually a registered trademark of the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) to ensure correct use. This approach is used as a framework for both policy and individual decision-making around health. It is based on the understanding that health and well-being cannot be defined by a person’s weight or appearance. In fact, it invites us to consider health is resource that exists on a continuum, varying with time and circumstance for each individual. The function of HAES® is to encourage individuals to adopt healthy behaviours and attitudes that are personally meaningful and sustainable, focusing on overall wellness rather than placing weight loss as the goal. Key principles as defined by Size Inclusive Health Australia (formerly Health At Every Size® Australia) of the HAES approach include:
- Weight Inclusivity: Accept and respect the inherent diversity of body shapes and sizes and reject the idealizing or pathologizing of specific weights.
- Health Enhancement: Support health policies that improve and equalize access to information and services, and personal practices that improve human well-being, including attention to individual physical, economic, social, spiritual, emotional, and other needs.
- Respectful Care: Acknowledge our biases, and work to end weight discrimination, weight stigma, and weight bias. Provide information and services from an understanding that socio-economic status, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, and other identities impact weight stigma, and support environments that address these inequities.
- Eating for Well-being: Promote flexible, individualized eating based on hunger, satiety, nutritional needs, and pleasure, rather than any externally regulated eating plan focused on weight control.
- Life-Enhancing Movement: Support physical activities that allow people of all sizes, abilities, and interests to engage in enjoyable movement, to the degree that they choose.
Why health at every size® can be a more positive approach
Traditional weight-focused approaches to nutrition and wellness often perpetuate harmful stereotypes and contribute to the prevalence of disordered eating, body dissatisfaction, and weight stigma. A HAES® approach challenges the belief that weight loss automatically leads to improved health, recognising that restrictive diets and weight cycling can have detrimental effects on physical and mental well-being. In contrast, the HAES approach offers several advantages that make it a more compassionate and effective alternative:
- It emphasises overall well-being and health-promoting behaviours, rather than weight loss as the primary measure of success and quality of life.
- It encourages individuals to develop a more intuitive and internally-directed relationship with food and movement, free from external rules or restrictions.
- It fosters self-compassion and body autonomy, allowing individuals to cultivate a positive connection with their bodies without compromising their identity.
- It challenges societal norms and disrupts diet culture, advocating for a more inclusive and equitable understanding of health and beauty.
- It is a framework that makes engagement with health-promoting behaviour accessible to all, to the extent an individual wishes to employ.
It leads to sustained improvements in health markers that are not observed following restrictive eating practices and resulting weight regain.
Our commitment to health at every size®
As advocates of non-diet nutrition, we are dedicated to supporting people in embracing the HAES® philosophy and cultivating a healthier relationship with their bodies. We aim to meet you where you are, providing compassionate guidance and evidence-based strategies for your individual needs and goals.
We aim to disrupt diet culture and empower clients to reclaim their body autonomy, fostering an experience in which their body is no longer their identity. By adopting a weight-neutral, equity-informed approach, we strive to create an inclusive and supportive environment that celebrates body diversity and champions the importance of self-directed, moral-free eating practices.
Join the Movement
Would you like to break free from the constraints of diet culture and rediscover your body’s intuitive wisdom? We invite you to join us in embracing the Health at Every Size® philosophy and embark on a journey towards greater self-acceptance, well-being, and empowerment.
A HAES® dietitian can support you on your journey to better health in a way that doesn’t involve rules, or any resulting sense of failure. They will support the development of skills in intuitive eating and mindful movement, allowing individuals to attune to their body’s unique needs and preferences.
If you feel you’d benefit from our services and you’re ready to speak with one of our nutritionists, get in touch to learn more or book a consultation. Let’s work together to create a world in which our bodies are no longer our identity, but rather a source of strength, resilience, and joy.