The purpose of the Health At Every Size Interview (HAES) Practitioner Spotlight is to highlight individuals who are practicing Health At Every Size in their personal and professional lives. I hope these spotlights will help you learn more about how individuals come to their own body acceptance process and therefore change the way they show up in their field. Weight loss doesn’t have to be the only thing we hear about among healthcare professionals. Lets start to change that!
1. What led you to the Health At Every Size movement?
I was introduced to HAES at a conference where Karin Katrina presented (2005). It was one of those moments where someone presents an idea that fully resonates with the way you see the world but didn’t have language for it yet. I was invigorated and so excited to have a perspective and a community that fit beautifully with my values and way of making sense of the world!
2. Biggest challenge or insight on running a Health At Every Size- focused business:
To be so passionate about a worldview and having the patience and restraint to let others go through their own process of learning and discovery. Watching growth and discovery in others after being exposed to the HAES message is exciting and yet I cannot control others pace or process of integration.
3. What inspires you about Health At Every Size movement?
The respect that it offers people. HAES is so embedded in a social justice perspective, that makes me proud to live and breath it. It gives a framework for how to advocate against weight bias and provides a wonderful community of like-minded people who are also “fighting the good fight”. I can’t think of another injustice that I could be more passionate about! Also, HAES brings the freedom back to the relationship with food, body and movement for any and all people.
4. How is Opal Food and Body Wisdom, unique in its philosophy?
We work really hard to infuse our program in HAES. We don’t just settle for HAES to be a “perspective” that sounds good for our program to subscribe to. Rather, we are fully invested in helping our staff and ourselves (as owners) live in alignment with the HAES perspective. We have even implemented a once/month group for our staff to talk honestly about our own body acceptance work in the midst of treating those with eating disorders.
5. What you want more people to know about Size acceptance/ HAES/ or Opal?
I am particularly passionate about HAES being more explored and questioned within the athletic community. I have personally found ways to integrate this dialogue into conversations with clients during programming at Opal. The athletic world has held strong to assumptions about performance and I believe there is more room for a HAES perspective that isn’t at complete odds with the athletic world.
6. Where do you find support in your body acceptance work?
I am surrounded by an incredible community of staff, family and friends that help me live less alone in life aligned with HAES. I particularly treasure the difficult, vulnerable and powerful conversations I can engage about body acceptance, thin privilege and who I am in the world externally. Being a naturally thin person, I have gone through a painful but rewarding process over the years of understanding thin privilege and the ways I’ve both benefited and been harmed by it.
Interested in learning more about Health at Every Size? Check out ASDAH, the Association for Size Diversity and Health. Find out how Opal’s eating disorder treatment is rooted in Health at Every Size here.