The Principles of Health at Every Size and Intuitive Eating

The basis of Health at Every Size ® is just that—you can be a healthy person at any size. Listening to your body’s cues for hunger and satiety are so much more important to establishing your body’s energy needs than a popular (and impersonal) diet plan can be. A Health at Every Size ® practitioner can help take the focus off of weight and redirect to a focus on metabolic health. They can also answer the question, “What is intuitive eating?” 

Another thing we need to know is that most of us have inflammation in our bodies at different times and for various reasons. There are foods that may aid in preventing inflammation. Consuming antioxidants (berries, dark leafy greens, dark chocolate, artichokes, nuts, and beets) can help. And, a balanced diet overall helps keep you heart-healthy—incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables, unsaturated fats (olive oil, avocado, fatty fish like tuna, salmon, and mackerel), lean proteins, and whole grains into your daily dishes. Limiting fried foods, saturated fats, and trans fats can help reduce inflammation as well. Lastly, while stress isn’t something anyone puts on a plate intentionally, it is served up to us almost daily in the form of traffic, toxic relationships, tough conversations, and the like—and it, too, causes inflammation in the body. Finding ways to reduce stress (“Hello, exercise and meditation!”) or talking to a behavioral health specialist can be an important step towards keeping your heart happy.

What Is Intuitive Eating and More About Health at Every Size ®

Health at Every Size ® is a new movement founded by Linda Bacon that helps to promote that all bodies are good bodies. The movement tries to shift the focus of rigid dieting and calorie counting/control for weight control to the acceptance of your natural body and honoring your body’s needs through intuitive eating. There are five principles of Health at Every Size ®

1. Weight Inclusivity: Accept and respect the inherent diversity of body shapes and sizes and reject the idealizing or pathologizing of specific weights. 

2. 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. 

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

In summary, Health at Every Size ® promotes that you can be a healthy person at any size.  Listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues is very important to help establish what your body’s energy needs are instead of going by a diet plan.  Everyone’s bodies are different and every body is beautiful. It is important to recognize that this also goes along with being healthy in a medical standpoint. Working with a Health at Every Size ® practitioner and discovering what intuitive eating is can help take the focus off of weight and redirect the focus on health.  


What is Intuitive Eating?

Along with Health at Every Size (HAES) comes the question, “What is intuitive eating? Intuitive eating is NOT a diet—it is a way of eating that listens to your body’s hunger/fullness cues. It is here to teach you if you are physically hungry or emotionally hungry. Sometimes listening to your hunger fullness cues can be hard. Using a hunger fullness scale in the beginning can help you get more in touch with your body.  

0 – Empty
1 – Ravenous
2 – Very Hungry 
3 – Moderately Hungry
4 – Lightly Hungry
5 – Neutral
6 – Lightly Full
7 – Moderately Full
8 – Full
9 – Stuffed 
10 – Sick 

*being between a 3-4 where you are moderately to lightly hungry is when you want to start a meal and stopping between moderately full and full is when you want to finish a meal. 

10 Principles of Intuitive Eating:

1. Reject the Diet Mentality
2. Honor your Hunger
3. Make Peace with Food
4. Challenge the Food Police
5. Discover the Satisfaction Factor
6. Feel Your Fullness
7. Cope With Your Emotions
8. Respect Your Body
9. Movement – Feel the Difference
10. Honor Your Health – Gentle Nutrition

These are just the core principles of intuitive eating. If you would like to learn how to put them into practice, schedule time with one of our Health Coaches.


Article Contributor:

Courtney Darsa, RD

Health Coach and Certified Diabetes Educator

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