Recently I have been struggling about where I belong in my career, personal life, and whom I follow on social media because of a lot of misinformation from HAES extremist. “Health at Every Size” does not mean “Healthy at Every Size” like some would like you to believe. HAES means that regardless of size, one should be validated by the medical field for their concerns that are not related to weight, and to be respected and treated with dignity.
No one should ever be shamed for their size, but one should be educated on weight and what that means for their health. The Fat Acceptance Movement wants everyone to just let them be, and that is all well and good, because, for me, I do not care what your size is and how it affects your life, because I accept everyone regardless of weight, ethnicity, race, age, gender identity, sexual preference, and religion; and one’s health is not my business. However, when you have a large platform that glorifies obesity, you are now influencing others to disregard their health.
We now have a culture that tells people to change doctors if they mention their weight and the health issues that are related to their size, and in turn, this is affecting the eating disorder community. If we are telling someone with an eating disorder to trust their body and to eat intuitively, then we are providing them with an excuse to binge or restrict. I recently spoke with a friend of mine who said if it is “Ok” to be fat then why is it not “Ok” to be underweight, here are the facts, if you are morbidly obese or severely underweight the end result is death.
What Does the Word Diet Mean and How it has become Misconstrued to Fit the Narrative of Fat Acceptance….
While I agree that fad diets are dangerous, the word “diet” is now considered bad. Diet just means what a person’s intake is on any given day, and to be healthy one must make lifestyle choices that will lead them to their most optimal well-being. The Fat Acceptance Community is not body positive because they shame anyone who intentionally loses weight to save their life, they shame the fitness community, and they shame thin people for just being thin. To agree with fat acceptance or healthy at every size is dangerous, and that is what is being promoted on social media by big influencers. You cannot be healthy if you are severely overweight or underweight, and to promote that, you are leading others to an early death.
I am not a fan of MLM’s because I would not work to make someone else wealthy or waste money on a program that I can do myself. With that said, there are programs out there that provide structure for those who need to lose a significant amount of weight, and if one of those programs help someone save their life, then I am all for that program.
The Truth about Recovery and a Dietitian with a Zero Tolerance for the Word No….
My eating disorders were not about weight because it started at the age of five, but when I was morbidly obese and severely underweight, if my dietitian told me to trust my body and listen to my hunger cues, I would have just binged or starved because hunger cues were destroyed. I still need a meal plan, and while I do not track calories, my dietitian knows exactly what I am eating and how much I needed to gain weight and then maintain. Without her guidance and sometimes taking control, I would not be here today. What I have learned in my recovery journey is that I had to give up control to regain control. I have medical issues that are a direct result of the abuse I put my body through, so Intuitive eating will never be an option for me, and I am fine with that because I eat to live and not live to eat. I also learned that I can eat at holidays without fear, go out with friends and eat socially, and live my best life without having fear foods. Yes, I am restricted a lot because of my medical issues, but I found foods that fit my needs to meet all the macro and micronutrients and that I enjoy.
At the beginning of recovery, enjoying food did not matter because I needed to gain weight fast to live. I would say “I do not like this or that” and my dietitian told me that I gave up the right to “like” food when I got to a point where my team did not know if I would live. The same goes for those who are morbidly obese. It is not about enjoyment, it is about saving your life, and once one gets to a safe place in recovery, you can then adjust the plan to add foods you enjoy.
The Truth About Happiness and Acceptance….
You will not find happiness in losing weight, that is the truth, however, If you do not address the underlying issues that turned you to food or to be obsessed about everything you put into your body, you will never be happy. I believed at 350 lbs., if I lost weight, I would be happy, and I set weight goals often because when I hit the first goal and was not happy, I needed to go lower, and the cycle repeated itself until I was dying because that number for happiness will never come. It was not until I dealt with the reasons behind binge eating, bulimia, and anorexia and developed a positive relationship with food, did I make peace with the scale and my body.
There is only darkness when trapped in disordered eating that the HAES providers do not tell you about because that means there is something wrong with the weight you are at, but the truth is, if you are morbidly obese or severely underweight that is a problem. I will speak for myself in this area because I know how dark, isolating, and lonely it can be at both ends of the weight spectrum. I prayed every night that God would take me in my sleep, and when I woke up in the morning, I cried because I was still alive. What do you think that life does to your partner/spouse, children, family, friends, or the people you influence? If you want acceptance, you would love yourself enough to save your life, and in turn, you will inspire others to reclaim their lives.
We cannot accept morbid obesity as the “new” way of living, just like one cannot and does not accept one who is at a dangerously low weight because then we are saying that it is ok that you die, and it is NOT. My role as a new HAES provider has changed because I want everyone to be better than they were yesterday, live a healthy lifestyle, and inspire others to do the same. If you are working with a professional that tells you that it is fine to stay in either spectrum of weight, then you need to find a provider that will tell you the truth. I can only assume that HAES providers who promote that weight has no effect on your health have never dealt with either end of the weight spectrum because if they did and are telling their clients to trust their body, do not provide a meal plan, and just accept their eating disorder than they are doing their clients a disservice and are promoting self-harm.
Oppression is a choice you made when you chose to accept yourself as a morbidly obese individual. You have a choice to make a change, and society does not have an obligation to accommodate you. That may be harsh to say, but I have a disability because I suffered a life-altering injury, and I need accommodation so that I can physically move from point A to B. There are people who have more severe disabilities than I do, and if you think morbid obesity is a disability that society needs to change for you, think about all the people who cannot change their circumstances.
If recovering from binge eating disorder, bulimia, and anorexia means I am “fat-phobic” and have “thin privilege” then you are right because I will never go back to the darkness that almost took my life. My husband, children, and grandchild deserve better and need me in their life. I chose to save my life, and I hope you choose to save yours.
*Disclaimer* One: I am only discussing the extreme ends of one’s weight. Two: I am not calling out HAES providers that work hard in getting people to reach their most optimal health and wellness. My blog is directly related to those who promote Healthy at Every Size, which is not only life-threatening, they are creating a dialogue in eating disorder community that being morbidly obese should be accepted which in turn is affecting individuals who need to lose or gain weight to save their lives.