Body Positivity Month: Health at Every Size
Welcome to the final installment in Bomber's Body Positivity Month! This week, we're talking about a fantastic trend in the health and wellness industry: Health at Every Size (HAES).
In simple terms, HAES refers to taking care of your body the way YOU need to be taken care of: No fad diets, "one size fits all" meal plans, or inaccurate fitness measurements. Here at Bomber, we love the HAES methodology because we LOVE anything that gets us up and moving, celebrating our bodies, and loving ourselves every minute of every day.
Let's dive in!
What is Health at Every Size?
Health at Every Size (HAES) is a methodology created and adopted by the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH). In her book Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight, HAES founder and creator Linda Bacon, PhD, explored the damaging side effects of the so-called "war on obesity".
There's an overwhelming pressure in today's society to be thin. However, things like age, genetics, income, social characteristics, and whether it's a Tuesday or Mercury is in retrograde all have an impact on our weight. (We're kidding on those last two, but stick with us.)
The point is that it's extremely difficult to keep up with the pursuit of this so-called "perfect body". As a result of popular media, entertainment, and certain medical misconceptions (lookin' at you, BMI), the race to get or stay skinny has resulted in widespread issues like eating disorders, body dysmorphia, food and body preoccupation, and discrimination.
Health at Every Size fights against this "thin = happy" ideology by promoting the best health, nutrition, physical activity, and holistic care for every body, no matter the size or shape (or the location of the planets in the sky).
But isn't that, like... unhealthy?
Nope! That's kinda the point. Now, we'll level with you for a second. We're not doctors -- we're a sunglasses brand. The best way to take care of YOU is always going to be working with your favorite trusted healthcare professional.
But what we will say about HAES is that it's designed for holistic care. Instead of reaching for this (let's face it, impossible) "thin ideal", the practice of HAES encourages body positivity and ultimate health starting from within.
According to the ASDAH, HAES methodology includes three basic tenets:
- Respect. HAES celebrates body diversity and honors the differences that make us special.
- Critical Awareness. HAES challenges certain scientific norms and cultural assumptions, while also honoring our unique lived experiences.
- Compassionate Self-Care. Finally, HAES is about taking care of yourself: joyful movement, a delicious and nutritious diet, and acknowledgement of the privileges and social differences that contribute to size diversity.
Let's talk about Size Diversity
Ooh! Did you catch the vocab word in that last section? A founding principle of HAES is the concept of "Size Diversity". In other words, people look a little different from each other, and not only is that normal, it's something to be celebrated! By acknowledging and studying size diversity, we can do away with outdated medical misconceptions and focus on holistic care that addresses physical AND mental health.
For example, let's look at the Body Mass Index (BMI). This measurement has been used for DECADES to determine how "healthy" someone is based on where their weight falls in a spectrum arranged by biological sex and height. However, in recent years, researchers and nutritionists have begun to challenge BMI as a measurement of "health". This is because, as a health indicator, BMI is WAY oversimplified.
Think about two dudes. We'll call them Average Joe and Mister Muscles. Average Joe is, well, an average Joe. He's about 5'7", 145 lbs, and he works a desk job where he gets to sit on his butt all day (or swivel around in that spinny chair, we get it).
Mister Muscles, on the other hand, is a competitive body builder. He's the same 5'7" as Average Joe, but he's packing another 35 lbs in straight Schwarzenegger glory. To keep up with his competitions, Mister Muscles eats a high-protein, highly nutritious diet full of kale smoothies and egg whites. Average Joe, meanwhile, has iced coffee and a bagel for breakfast every morning and mixes up his workday with McDonald's or Taco Bell. Joe's BMI is 23, while Mister Muscles has a BMI of 30.
According to this measurement, a "healthy" or "normal" BMI falls in the range of 18.5 to 24.9. Which means, according to BMI, Mister Muscles is overweight and unhealthy, and Average Joe is the picture of health.
In conclusion, #LoveYoSelf. Because you're awesome.
Our society has put a lot of weight (pun intended) on outdated measurements like BMI. The point of HAES, instead, is to focus on what makes YOU feel good and what's best for YOUR body.
Again, #WeAintDoctors, but we're here to celebrate the amazing things that make you YOU. You're a badass, and that's why we love you.
"Treat Yo Self" is so 2020, unless we're talking about treating our bodies right. At Bomber Eyewear, we believe in spreading positivity and love everywhere we go, whether we do it with our kick-butt sunnies or with the connections we make with our incredible community every day.
As Bomber Body Positivity Month draws to a close, we hope you found new ways to appreciate the awesome bundle of muscles and love that you are. We know WE love you, and we're always happy to show it!
While the official Body Positivity shenanigans are drawing to a close, the party never stops on the Bomber Insta. Join us @bombereyewear and share all of your summer adventures!