Sunday, May 26, 2013

Health At Every Size Workshop

Hi there!! I've been so busy the past few weeks. I have been back from Berlin for a few weeks now, but as soon as I got back I had exams to take and then travel again the weekend after that and then more University stuff...PHEW!

But let's not linger too long on the fact that I'm an amazing procrastinator. Let's just move on instead.

As many of you know, I was invited to participate in a Health at Every Size workshop in berlin earlier this month. It was a great experience and I learned a lot of interesting facts.

Health at every size is about:

  •  Self-Acceptance. Respecting and accepting the diversity of any body and shape.
  • Staying physically fit by doing fun movements that bring you joy and are effective in keeping you healthy and fit. 
  • Intuitive eating. Finding the natural and healthy balance of eating, which we have forgotten throughout all the diverse diets we have been doing.  
Most importantly it's about seperating weight from health. Fat doesn't mean unhealthy or that fat people have a higher mortality rate. There is no way to tell how healthy a person is just by looking at how fat they are.  

Angela Meadows from Never Diet Again showed us a lot of facts and studies to back that theory up. Fitness is much more imortant to health than being over weight. A person who is over weight or obese and is also fit has the same exact mortality rate as a thin person who is fit, according to almost all epidemiologic studies. Here is a more detailed article written by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramore for the National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health. 

Of course it is possible to be very unhealthy if you are over weight as well, but that is only linked to overweight and unfit people (an of course many other health related issues), which is the same for thin and unfit people. Thin people who are unfit have as big of a health risk as overweight people who are unfit, which proves that health should not be measured by our weight. 

Diets are a short term weightloss for the majority of people and the yo-yo affect they bring with them is unhealthier than being fat and fit.  Our bodies are made to protect us. When we eat, our bodies store the fat cells we consume through food for later use, and it releases them depending on our level of activity and energy needed. When we diet, our bodies panic, because the food we eat isn't enough to keep up with the energy we use up. Our body keeps the fat cells locked up because it is protecting us from collapsing. This causes malnourishment and kills our intuitive feel for hunger and food. So when we stop dieting and get back to normal life, the fat cells are released and we gain our weight back way faster than we should, which is so hard on the body and doing this over and over and over again will really wear our body down and kill our immune system, which causes other more serious health problems.

Accepting your body and learning to eat healthy while listening to your body and keeping up with joyful movement is so much healthier for your body AND your mind.  It is hard to jump right into it and do it. I myself am still struggling with this. But HAES has started a really strong movement and it is helping women and men of all shapes and sizes all around the world find acceptance for their bodies as well as helping us learn to live a more healthy life style. With Science! YES! It is helping people learn to treat their body with respect once again. Discrimination can no longer hide behind the "health issue".

During the workshop we also made posters in awareness of "No Diet Day" along with some other fun projects that have helped me learn more about the importance of HAES. 

I am very grateful to have been a part of the workshop. The people I met there where so wonderful, intelligent and inspiring. I hope to attend more workshops like this, so that I can spread the message better and more clearly and hopfully get a few more HAES supporters along the way! Of course this is not everything. There is so much more to it. This is just a short introduction, you will see a lot more posts about HAES on this blog. 

Thanks to the EC-Grundtvig program and to Dicker Verein for making the workshop possible! 

(Photo credit: Gisela Enders/Dicker Verein )


Anonymous said...

Was eine tolle, positive Aktion! Danke für's Teilhabenlassen.

Thick Threads said...

Danke für's lesen! :) Es ist ein wichtiges thema :)

Anonymous said...

I think that this is a wonderful idea. We need to learn to love and embrace ourselves despite what our pants size is. I think our obsessions with dieting cause us more harm than good. We need to learn how to balance fitness and loving ourselves.

from Sam @Split-Site PhD

Honeysuckelle said...

This sounds like an incredible workshop, it honestly feels like everyone I've ever met has at one time struggled with either their weight or their self esteem and that has got to stop. I wish people were encouraged more often to love their bodies and themselves. I am having a particularly rough day today but I know that exercising will make me feel better and keep my body in shape but my motivation is just not there. Why can't I just lay about the bed and be impossibly cute like my kitty. I am also so sick of the constant fat jokes and fat stigmas in our society, will it ever end? :(

This is a lovely cause and you are a lovely person, keep at it my sista.


Maxens M. Finch said...

Seems like a great workshop! It would be interesting to see that in France too. I love your outfit, that striped dress fits you so well and lovely colors.

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