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Health at Every Size

10.29.07

I just returned from a seminar about Eating Disorders, and would like to share a few tidbits of what I learned.

I was most excited about the concept of “Health at Every Size.” It is a new paradigm for professionals to help people with eating and weight-related concerns. It is a very respectful, non-judgmental way to view the people we are supposed to be helping. And, it is designed to promote health, instead of just image.

Kratina, King, and Hayes discuss the importance of self-acceptance in their book Moving Away from Diets: New Ways to Heal Eating Problems and Eating Resistance. Trusting internal signals and feeling good about one’s body is important for four main reasons:

  1. With self-acceptance the mind and body can really connect, which is a critical component of overall health.
  2. It is difficult for clients with body dissatisfaction/body hatred to take good care of themselves.
  3. People need to care about themselves to want what is best for their health, and self-care is necessary for health and well-being.
  4. Without a sense of peace, for example when people are constantly degrading themselves for their size/habits, making healthy choices is extremely difficult.

Self-Acceptance

Do you stand in front of the mirror thinking, or worse, actually saying aloud, negative things about your body? Do you compare yourselves to the air-brushed models in magazines, on the internet, or in photos (Not actual size)? If so, you probably have poor body-image.

If the worst thing you can say about your body is that you wake up with very bad breath in the mornings, you probably have good body-image. If you take good care of yourself in numerous ways, such as: sleeping, physical activity, social interactions with close friends, spiritual pursuits, and avoid street drugs, you probably have a positive body-image.

Body Dissatisfaction

It is really difficult for anyone to send themselves mixed messages: “I hate my body,” blended with “I want to care about myself,” is like mixing oil and water in a blender. You get results that only last temporarily.

What is that same person learned to truly love themselves? What if that person defined his worth as something other than his outward appearance? What would happen if a person explored the deeper issues of self-loathing and learned how to talk to himself and care for himself in a truly loving way? THEN, he might achieve some lasting results.

In spiritual terms, the bible says that “Man sees the outward appearance, but God knows your heart.” God is much more concerned with character than Body Mass Index.

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