At Weaver Wellness Care, we believe every patient deserves to feel comfortable, cared for, and treated as an individual when they visit our practice or meet with Dr. Weaver. Our approach includes the principles of Health at Every Size (HAES).
HAES seeks to reduce stigma towards people who live in larger bodies and de-emphasize weight loss as a health goal. HAES supports the idea that health results from lifestyle behaviors independent of body weight. Importantly, HAES mindset helps prevent negative body image and disordered eating.
The main components of the HAES approach are
- Intuitive eating, which encourages an individual to respond to internal cues of hunger and satiety rather than external cues of specific meal times or events
- Body acceptance, regardless of size or shape
- Physical activity for movement and health rather than for elite performance or to shape the body
Is HAES backed by science?
Scientific evidence supports HAES principles. In a 2006 study by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 78 “obese” women were placed into either the Health at Every Size Program or a diet based weight-loss program. Women in the weight-loss program were instructed to eat less, count calories, and exercise more.
The Health at Every Size group was encouraged to eat when they were hungry and to appreciate the feeling of fullness, make healthy food choices, and find a style of physical activity that was most enjoyable for them. They were not given a list of “forbidden foods,” nor were they told to exercise to lose weight. They were also given techniques to build their self-esteem and increase confidence in their bodies.
After two years, both groups weighed approximately the same. The women in the weight-loss group lost some weight after six months but regained it after two years. The women in the Health at Every Size group had healthier blood pressure and lower cholesterol and were more physically active than the dieting group.
HAES and your well being
Our societal embrace of thinness has led to discrimination and prejudice directed at people who live in larger bodies, further propelling behaviors that may contribute to disordered eating or excessive exercise.
As a HAES proponent, Dr. Weaver believes that dieting and restriction can cause physical, emotional, and spiritual distress. Our society and much of the medical community still embrace diet culture, despite abundant evidence that shows diets don’t work and actually lead to increased weight gain. Our societal and medical focus on the importance of weight loss prevents patients in larger bodies from getting regular medical care.
For a healthcare provider who sees you as a person, not a diagnosis, look no further than Dr. Weaver. She is a HAES-informed doctor in Herndon VA who provides respectful care to her patients, regardless of socio-economic status, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, or other identities.
HAES provides guidelines for changing society’s mindset around weight and Dr. Weaver is doing her part, one patient at a time.