I need to make something clear. I am not anti-health. I am anti-anything that causes one to restrict, punish self, and label foods as good and bad. I am anti-anything that preys on the vulnerable to meet their financial goals.
When you stop trying to change your body, and you work on mindset, food is no longer the enemy or friend; It’s just-food. Understanding health at every size would provide all mental health practitioners, dietitians, and medical personal the tools needed to breakdown and eliminate weight stigma. The number on the scale is not an indicator of health, it is a tool for medication purposes, and that is how it should remain.
With that said, HAES does not mean healthy at every size. It means health at every size, and doctors dismiss symptoms and miss life-threatening illness because of weight stigma. Essentially it means all bodies deserve love, respect, and validation, and that still does not happen in 2019.
I had a very underweight eating disorder client who asked:” If weight is not an indicator of health, then why do I have to gain weight?”
Let me be brutally honest here when I was considered morbidity Obese, not one doctor validated my health issues or ED. I was repulsive to them, and it made me feel worthless and hopeless because I was not “deserving” of help until I lost weight.
I was court-ordered into a residential facility where I spent 5 months the first time, and six more admissions and four medical hospitalizations later, I was not expected to live. If one doctor would have validated me, things may have been different. It wasn’t until I shrunk my body almost to my death did someone say, ” She needs help.”
If you are battling anorexia and your weight is dangerously low, you can and will ultimately die. Anorexia is the number one mental health disease that will take your life, and in a life-threatening situation, the weight will be the focus. I am sorry because I’ve been there, but you will get through it. As your body and brain get nourished, you begin to heal your relationship with food, and the number on the scale becomes insignificant. I have not stepped on a scale at home or with my treatment team in 8-years.
Not all people with anorexia fit into the mold of the DSM-IV for validation of needing help. I am working on changing this, and it is my “work in process” Thesis. According to the new code, one is deserving of help if their body % is 75 or less. If all eating disorders were validated regardless of weight, no one would get to that 75% or lower.
If you have binge eating disorder, a doctor will tell you to lose weight. He or she will not address your medical concerns because they feel if you lose weight, all your symptoms will magically disappear, and many people go undiagnosed with major health issues and die because of weight stigma.
If you have bulimia, a doctor will say, “Well, you do not look like you have an eating disorder.”
If you have anorexia and you are of average weight or higher, a doctor will tell you that you are “Not sick enough.”
If you have anorexia and you are below 75% you are already dying, so now you are sick enough.
The system needs to change now, and I am here to make sure no one goes through the emotional abuse I went through from the medical professional because I was not “sick enough” until I almost died.
Comment below on how weight stigma had impacted your life.