More “Healthy Weight”

Quick hit:  This past week has been “Healthy Weight Week“, which I think is a good thing.  But you may recall that I didn’t like the phrase “healthy weight” in the book Health at Every Size.  So, why do I like “healthy weight” as a week but not in that book?  The answer is that HWW is aimed at dieters who are sick of dieting, and are ready to try something new.  They’re just starting out on a journey toward fat acceptance, and a somewhat weight-lossy phrase like “healthy weight” draws them in.  But HAES (the book) has already declared right in the title that weight and health are independent variables.  To me, anyone who is ready for a book named Health at Every Size has moved beyond “healthy weight” as a useful concept.  Thoughts?

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8 thoughts on “More “Healthy Weight”

  1. As I have stated before, I hate that term ‘healthy weight’, because it has a kind of ‘sneaky diet”-y sound to it & it suggests that there is an ‘unhealthy weight’.

  2. I think we are sensitive to the sound of the phrase “healthy weight” because we have been overloaded our entire lives with comments that fat automatically equals unhealthy no matter what. So if there is a “healthy weight”, there must be an “unhealthy weight”, and we are it.

    I can’t tell you how many times I have pointed out that I’ve been fat my entire life and am also quite healthy, and had whomever I am arguing with say, “Sure, but you’re only 17 (or 20, or 25, or 30). You may not be unhealthy now, but you WILL be.” (My current response: yes, I will probably develop health problems in the future. It’s called aging. That’s what happens.)

    I recently read the HAES book, and I actually don’t remember reading “healthy weight” or being offended by the idea. Apparently I just glossed over it. The book is definitely not perfect–I think it gets a little preachy about vegetarianism and related dietary issues–but it’s a big step forward in my eyes. I think it should be required reading for doctors.

  3. I guess the idea is that if we eat pretty well and are moderately active, our weights will most likely stabilize somewhere — fat, thin, in-between, wherever — and that must be our “healthy weight.” Someone who drastically undereats or overeats might not be at her “healthy weight.”

    This is only useful to me if I use a very broad definition of healthy habits — basically I think that if you eat enough, if you’re hitting all the food groups regularly, and if you walk around living life, you’re eating just fine and you’re active enough for you. So the vast majority of us have perfectly good habits, meaning that we are already at our healthy weight.

    The problem is that most people might think it means “If you cut out carbs, eat tons of veggies, and run every day, and you’re still fat… well okay, that might be your healthy weight.” Then it’s just another phrase meaning “go on a diet.”

  4. In my mind, as long as a person is participating in self-care and self-appreciation, what ever they weigh on a given day IS their “healthy weight”. Self-care includes different things for different people.

    It is truly a journey to find some enjoyable movement, fitness or activity that fits comfortably into your life. Where ever you are on that journey is fine. Whatever you weigh on any day of your journey IS your healthy weight.

    It is truly a journey to find your own intuitive eating with nutrition and pleasure. Where ever you are on that journey is fine. Whatever you weigh on any day of your journey IS your healthy weight.

    It is truly a journey to find:
    ** boundaries in your relationships
    ** relaxation & stress reduction in your life
    ** joy & excitement
    ** a way to contribute to your world in some way
    ** and other elements of a FULL life

    Where ever you are on that journey is fine. Whatever you weigh on any day of your journey IS your healthy weight.

    Healthy weight is not a number on a scale or chart. It is a concept of living well, taking care of the body nature has given you, and appreciating that gift. In my mind, this is the definition of healthy. Kelly Bliss

  5. I think my concept is like Kelly’s – “healthy weight” isn’t based on some scale or calculation, but rather on where your body settles when you eat well and take care of yourself to the best of your ability and within reason.

    The problem is that people want guidelines, and leaving the idea of “healthy weight” as open ended as I think of it is probably too vague for many people.

  6. “Healthy state” might be a better term, since really we’re talking about a functional state of a body in which the quantities of different bodily structures are among many different variables. I remember Linda did write something to the effect of “the way to win the weight war is not to fight it”. But the only war one should want to win is the one that one feels leads toward the world one wants. Any other war is worse than useless. If thin-supremacy is what we are fighting, then we struggle to end that and seek what means can lead there.

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