HAES (Health At Every Size)

The Health At Every Size movement (HAES) has grown in popularity, and in controversy over the past couple of years.  The movement encourages bodily acceptance and self confidence, noting that dieting often does not work.  HAES advocates argue that interventions focused on weight loss often don’t result in the positive health outcomes advertised.  Conversely, HAES advocates that good nutrition and exercise are important, but weight loss in and of itself isn’t the goal necessarily.

We here at Droplet have several HAES advocates in our community and one of them agreed to an interview to share how she added a quantitative element to her advocacy.  Interview has been edited for length and anonymized, for privacy.

Q: How did you get involved in HAES?

CL: I had been on a diet pretty much since I was a teenager, and realized that the diet did nothing but made me feel bad about myself.  I’m type A about everything in my life and I was stressing myself out about my inability to lose weight.  I heard about HAES through Lindy West, when she spoke on a podcast and the message really resonated: be healthy, not skinny.  At present I’m 5’5″ and 170 pounds, so I’m technically at the upper end of overweight.

220px-Lindy_West

Writer and Activist Lindy West

Q: Why did you try testing your A1c levels?

CL: I was really committed to the health part of Health At Every size.  I wanted to test my A1c levels, as well as other hormones (primarily thyroid) as well as some basic biomarkers to make sure I wasn’t fooling myself that I was healthy.  I didn’t want to be anti science.

Q: Did you learn anything about yourself after testing?

CL: Yes!  When I first tested myself, my A1c levels were 6.0% – which is a medium risk for diabetes.  It was actually not great, and I was worried.  I made some more lifestyle changes, including eating less refined carbohydrates and sugars.   I also stared doing more walking which is my primary form of exercise.  I retested around 5 weeks ago and my levels were 5.6, which is low risk for diabetes.

Q: Any advice for others?

CL: I’d say that checking your basic lab (A1c, hormone levels like thyroid) as well as blood sugar are a must.

Thanks everyone for reading, and please contact us if you have any questions or comments!