BY MARIAH STOUT, RD,
Clinical Dietitian at St. Luke’s Health System
As a registered dietitian at St. Luke’s, I fully support individuals wanting to make healthy behavior changes. Unfortunately, research has shown that weight-loss diets are unlikely to result in lasting changes and may have negative side effects. You may have heard the phrase “diets don’t work” from social media, a friend, or a medical professional, but what does that really mean? If not a diet, what should you do instead?
An alternative to weight-focused approaches is called the Health at Every Size approach, also known as HAES. HAES is a set of principles that guides individuals and healthcare providers toward not only physical health, but also mental, emotional and social health. It promotes eating for wellbeing, life-enhancing movement or physical activity, and respect for the diversity of body shapes and sizes. Health at Every Size does not claim that every individual is healthy at any size, but it does encourage individuals to engage in healthy behaviors, if they choose, and promotes size acceptance regardless of body size.
Say you feel like you don’t know how to “eat for wellbeing,” or your relationship with food has been negatively affected by a history of dieting or disordered eating. Intuitive Eating, a concept coined by dietitians Evelyn Tribole MS, RDN, CEDRD-S, and Elyse Resch, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S, FAND, is a self-care eating framework that helps us to reconnect with our instinct, emotion and rational thought to feed ourselves in a way that is right for our health and wellbeing. Intuitive Eating acknowledges that weight-loss diets are not sustainable. It is a practice that supports individuals to re-learn how to take care of themselves in the realms of eating and movement in a way that is sustainable and flexible throughout life.
Want to learn more about HAES or Intuitive Eating? There are fabulous books written on both approaches (listed below). You may also consider working with a registered dietitian to see how these approaches can work with your unique circumstances and health. Please reach out to your doctor to receive a referral to meet with one of our St. Luke’s dietitians.
Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon
Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S, and Elyse Resch, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S, FAND
*Eating disorders are serious and often deadly conditions that require treatment by an experienced healthcare team. If you are concerned that you or a loved one are experiencing an eating disorder, please reach out to your medical team or call the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) helpline at (800) 931-2237.