I think sometimes people get a little confused about the Health at Every Size or body positive paradigm. It’s not about suggesting everyone eats take-away, never exercises, disregards their health.
The paradigm I work from is about treating people as people, not numbers. First and foremost, that means showing respect for people regardless of their body weight or shape and even regardless of their food and exercise choices.
Secondly, it means respecting the diversity that exists in human bodies and minds to help people engage in health behaviours that are achievable for them. This allows them to live the healthiest they can in the body they have now and with their own strengths and limitations.
Thirdly, it means providing education about healthful behaviours and options. Then encouraging people to connect with their own bodies to better determine what does and doesn’t lead them to be healthier.
Fourthly, it means not just considering someone’s physical health, but also their emotional, mental, and social health. It means not using shame, embarrassment, or bigotry to ‘motivate’ people but using support, compassion, and knowledge to empower people.
And finally, it means advocating strongly for prevention, treatment, and awareness for those with body image difficulties, disordered eating and eating disorders.