HAES and why dieting doesn’t usually work

Whenever I bring up the concept of “health at every size” with someone who has just a passing acquaintance with the term (at best), it usually elicits comments along the lines of how people who embrace that philosophy have “just given up.”

Well, that’s not at all what it means. In a tiny nutshell, the Health At Every Size (HAES) paradigm says that health is not dependent on body weight/size and, further, that there is not one universal path to health. It opposes weight stigma and supports individualized paths to health that support body and mind, regardless of weight.

Considering the ongoing unspooling of research suggesting that diets fail and weight shaming only backfires, HAES becomes more relevant by the day. It’s a way of thinking that can benefit people at all points on the weight spectrum. To learn more, peruse The Association for Size Diversity and Health’s recently updated HAES principles.

Along those lines, I was thrilled that neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt’s TED talk, “Why dieting doesn’t usually work,” finally became available for viewing last month (it was recorded way back in June). She talks about her own past experience with dieting, her current experience with mindful/intuitive eating, and ties it into what science tells us about how our bodies respond to diets.

I liked her comparison of intuitive eaters vs. controlled eaters, and gave a little cheer when she said, “If diets worked, we’d all be thin already. Why do we keep doing the same thing and expecting different results?”

The video was refusing to embed, in this post, but you can link to it on the TED site. Well worth watching!