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Health at Every Size Review - 11 Things You Need to Know

Health at Every Size (HAES) claims you can be overweight and just as healthy as people who’re of normal weight. Science doesn’t agree. That’s exactly the type of challenge our researchers are looking for. 

The team dug deep into HAES, the program, food options, the potential for weight loss and much, much, much more. Take a look at the bottom line of this optimistic plan.

Health at Every Size can be purchased through their Official Site.

Health at Every Size Readers: Noom is offering our readers a risk-free trial, for a limited time. Click here for more information!
Overview

What is Health at Every Size?

what is health at every size

Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight is a book that contains tools to help people break free from an obsession with body weight. It suggests focusing on health behaviors rather than weight.

Health at Every Size can refer both to this book and to the HAES movement which it spawned. Other HAES movement materials may contain differing ideas.

A review published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine states that this book contains scientific evidence and historical background to explain its position, with 437 references.

The book suggests concepts such as:

  • You can be healthy at every size
  • Eating whole, unprocessed foods in whatever amounts satisfy your hunger
  • Participating in enjoyable physical activity because it feels good
  • Food/weight obsession and weight stigma are more harmful than being overweight

But, what do scientific and medical journals say about the plan, or at least the concept?

  • Nutrition Journal – this research paper makes a good point that current dieting messages and popular methods do not work in the long run for people who attempt to lose weight.
  • Journal of the American Dietetics Association – a study on 140+ women showed that compared to the control group, those who participated in a “health at any size” program experienced long-term benefits for eating behaviors, including excess hunger and feeling of “losing control” around food.
  • Journal of the American Dietetics Association – the study looked at 78 women who either attended six months of weekly HAES meetings or six months of weekly dieting meetings. Those who attended the HAES meetings experienced changes in metabolism and eating behaviors. The diet group experienced no lasting benefits.

Un-learning the practice of restricting food intake is extremely important for anyone caught in a restrict-binge cycle. The scientific journal Appetite notes that there is much evidence to implicate restriction in the occurrence of binge eating.

Nonetheless, the American Journal of Public Health points out the need to move beyond ideological debate and conduct more actual studies before we can determine how appropriate HAES really is when it comes to physical health.

Health at Every Size Competitors

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The Cambridge Diet
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Danish Diet
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Omnitrition Diet
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Noom
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Author

Who Wrote Health at Every Size?

who wrote health at every size

Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight was written by Lindo Bacon, formerly known as Linda. Bacon holds a doctorate in physiology from the University of California Davis, with a specialization in weight regulation. Bacon holds additional graduate degrees in psychology and exercise science.

Health at Every Size Customer Service

Since Health at Every Size is not a company, there is not a customer service department. However, there are links available on the official website to contact the author of the original book.

If you are seeking customer service regarding the purchase of the book itself and not about HAES ideas, you will need to locate the customer service department of whichever retailer you purchased the book from.

Other Books by Lindo Bacon

The first is Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, and Just Plain Fail to Understand About Weight. In this book, Bacon makes claims that diet and exercise are not effective weight-loss strategies, and that being overweight is not unhealthy.

The other book available is Radical Belonging: How to Survive and Thrive in an Unjust World (While Transforming it for the Better). This is a book about building well-being for people of marginalized identities.

Rules

Health at Every Size Rules and Guidance

These are the guidelines for Health at Every Size as explained in the book:

  • Eat delicious food when you are physically hungry
  • Pay attention when you are eating
  • Satisfy your hunger
  • Tackle emotional eating
  • Respect yourself
  • Eat a variety of foods and try new things
Food List

Health at Every Size Food List

health at every size food list

It is important to understand that health at any size is not a diet, but rather a philosophy. As such, there is no list of approved and unapproved foods for eating in a HAES-informed way.

Recipes

Health at Every Size Recipes

People who are trying to practice Health at Every Size are likely interested in cooking resources and media that maintain a HAES approach. In the age of the Internet, countless online blogs and video channels are available that present delicious and healthy recipes in a non-weight preoccupied way.

Weight Loss

Will Health at Every Size Help You Lose Weight?

The most important thing to understand about Health at Every Size is that it is not a weight-loss method. The point of the HAES approach is to shift your focus from scale numbers to health behaviors. Whether you will lose weight, gain weight, or maintain your weight when following HAES is highly individual.

It is worth mentioning that a study of 218 women in the journal Eating Behaviors found that women whose eating habits were considered “intuitive eating” (a HAES-aligned eating style) were less likely to gain excess weight during pregnancy.

Side Effects

Possible Side Effects of the Health at Every Size Plan

The only possible side effect of Health at Every Size is that when you abandon the practice of food restriction, you may gain weight. This could be either temporary or permanent. According to the plan, this may be worth the increase in mental and emotional peace.

Where to Buy

Cost and Where to Buy

Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight is available from many different retailers. As such, the cost may vary. A common price range for this book when new is around $12-$14.

Pros and Cons

HAES Pros and Cons

haes pros and cons

Pros:

  • Health at Every Size may be an option if you are looking for a health philosophy that will help you gain freedom from food and weight obsession. This is especially true in regards to a binge-restrict cycle and yo-yo dieting.
  • HAES is a decent book for anyone who wants to improve their health but feels like they can’t do so because of their weight.
  • HAES focuses on building lifelong health behaviors that are maintainable and sustainable. This is where so many other food/health plans are lacking. As they say, slow and steady wins the race!

Cons:

Research Shows You Can’t Actually Be Healthy at Every Size

  • The HAES philosophy claims that you can be overweight and still be healthy. There is robust evidence that this is not the case, and this is a principal Health at Every Size criticism. One study of over 5,100 people from the journal Diabetes Care found that when overweight people lost just 5 to 10 percent of their body weight, it was associated with significant improvements in cardiovascular risk factors. This pokes holes in the idea that you can be healthy at any size.

But what about overweight people whose vital signs and bloodwork are all normal? Can they be healthy at any size? 

  • Recent research shows that these people are still not in optimal health, because of their excess weight. A 2018 case-cohort analysis of 520,000 people, published in the European Heart Journal, found that overweight and obese people with healthy bloodwork still had a 28 percent higher risk of developing heart problems.

HAES Ignores the Influence of Hunger Hormones

  • Health at Every Size suggests always eating enough to satisfy your hunger. However, it is questionable whether feeling hunger actually means that you need food at that moment since a large proportion of Americans have hunger hormones that are out of whack.
  • The Journal of Diabetes and its Complications notes that at least 32 percent of Americans suffer from a metabolic state that has the side effect of increased appetite (but no actual additional need for food).
  • The journal In Vivo says that obese people’s levels of ghrelin (a hormone responsible for hunger) do not drop as they should after a meal.

Between these issues, eating until full whenever you feel hungry could lead to excess caloric intake for a lot of people, which spells weight gain. This is another Health at Every Size criticism.

What Users Are Saying

What Users Are Saying

“Lindo’s book is a good place to start if you’re curious about HAES! After HAES, read her book Body Respect.”

“This book focuses on the acceptance of your body and intuitive eating. Both are great ideas but are very difficult to implement in the world we live in.”

“Good perspective but a lot of pseudoscience and inappropriate interpretation of associations as causal evidence. What I most enjoyed was the humanistic perspective of prejudice against fat people. The evidence presented wasn’t the most compelling, but I agree with a lot of the points made regardless.”

Bottom Line

Bottom Line on Health at Every Size Results

Health at Every Size may be a popular health philosophy, but it is not a diet or weight-loss program. Some may lose weight through the HAES approach, while others may gain weight. It is up to you to determine whether HAES is suitable for your unique situation.

Weight loss takes time and healthy lifestyle changes, which is exactly what Noom suggests. The Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention has named Noom a healthy lifestyle option, which definitely helps it stand out from other options out there today. Users gain access to a personal coach, dedicated support group, and lessons & quizzes all focused on tackling the psychological side of weight. 

Feel free to take a look around the program with a free trial offer available to Dietspotlight readers for a limited time.

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