Updated: Oct 31
By: Gabrielle A. Morreale M.A. LPC C-DBT.
Eating disorder recovery is a challenging journey, one that often involves healing not only the body but also the mind and spirit. When it comes to recovery, it's essential to explore various approaches that can help to foster a positive relationship with food and our bodies. "Health at Every Size" (HAES) is an approach that has gained recognition for its compassionate and holistic perspective on well-being. In this blog, we'll delve into what HAES is and how it can be a valuable framework for those in eating disorder recovery and in life.
What is Health at Every Size (HAES)?
Health at Every Size is a social justice movement and approach that challenges society's obsession with weight, diet culture, and the pursuit of thinness as the primary markers of health. It acknowledges that health is multi-dimensional, and it goes beyond the numbers on a scale. You are so much more than any number. Very simply put all weight and health are not the same thing. If you can check out our blog on weight and health.
To put this in perspective think of someone who comes to mind (if maybe you it's ok) who “looks” healthy on the outside but is not healthy on the inside. This may not even be someone with an eating disorder. This could be a friend struggling with depression, or an influencer struggling with a medical issue. Although, whoever you are thinking of may look healthy we know they are not. Health does not have a look or a size just like eating disorders do not have a look or a size!
One important concept in HAES is celebrating body diversity. All bodies are good therefore all bodies should be celebrated and embraced. Please note we know this statement is a privilege and we do deeply believe it! Critical awareness lets challenge science. For example: BMI is total BS…so why is it being used as a measure of health? Health at Every Size encourages us to think critically and to challenge these ideals that are harmful and not serving us or anyone in the medical community.
Also valuing lived experience this may be my personal favorite. Your experiences hold deep wisdom and great value. You are and always will be the expert on you! HAES fully supports and encourages this for both providers and clients alike. Joyful movement is another key piece to HAES. Movement should be done in a way that builds us up not forced or done to change our body. HAES would encourage movement that makes us feel good. Also, the best part it's always optional. Attuned eating just movement eating can be joyful and most importantly HAES tells us we can trust our bodies and its most associated with intuitive eating however, HAES can apply to many different styles of nourishment.
Why HAES for Eating Disorder Recovery?
For individuals in eating disorder recovery, HAES offers several key concepts that are aligned with healing:
1. Reduction of Weight Stigma:
HAES promotes a compassionate and accepting view of all body sizes, helping individuals reduce the stigma around body size. It also helps us look at our own weight basis and helps us challenge them to develop a more peaceful and open-minded beliefs around all bodies.
2. A Focus on Health, Not Weight:
HAES shifts the focus from weight to healthy behaviors and habits. This is particularly important in recovery, as it allows individuals to concentrate on nurturing themselves without becoming entangled in weight-based goals. *Please note if weight restoration is a part of your recovery journey and overall wellbeing it is important to still listen to your team and what they are recommending at this time.
3. Mindful Eating:
The intuitive eating principles of HAES encourage individuals to rebuild a healthy relationship with food, something that is central to eating disorder recovery. It teaches listening to your body's cues, honoring your cravings, and enjoying food without judgment or guilt. HAES also aligned with other types of eating philosophy as well and any step towards healing your relationship with food is one we always will support.
4. Emotional Well-being:
Eating disorder recovery often involves confronting and addressing deep emotional wounds. HAES encourages individuals to prioritize their emotional and psychological well-being and to practice self-compassion as they heal.
5. Supportive Community:
HAES has created a supportive and inclusive community that welcomes individuals of all sizes and backgrounds. This sense of belonging can be incredibly valuable when in recovery. Cultivating a community that supports your recovery and embraces you is always restorative and a great predictor of recovery success. Find your tribe and hold them tight.
Closing Thoughts as a Recovered Individual and Eating Disorder Therapist:
In eating disorder recovery, it's vital to embrace an approach that nurtures you as a whole person. Health at Every Size offers a compassionate perspective on well-being that empowers individuals to rebuild a positive relationship with food and our bodies. For me finding HAES was lifesaving. It helped me challenge my own beliefs about bodies and weight and reminded me that my body was and will always be good.
If you are struggling it's ok! Also, if this concept is new to you or hard to understand we get it. It took all of us here at Recovered and Restored time to embrace this philosophy too! Consider exploring the principles of HAES as part of your journey toward healing and recovery. If you have questions or want to learn more we want to support YOU, please don’t hesitate to reach out!!
Other Mental Health Services Offered in PA, NJ, DE, SC, and FL
We offer a wide variety of services related to eating disorder recovery including trauma therapy! We offer Weekly Support Groups, Nutrition Services, and Family and Parent Therapy as well as Coaching, all tailored to meet the specific needs of the individual. We offer our services for Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating, and Orthorexia online in New Jersey, Delaware, South Carolina, and Florida! We are here to offer our support and understanding in a safe and non-judgmental environment.
We have immediate openings right now for eating disorder therapy in:
Delaware, New Jersey, Florida, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
And recovery coaching worldwide.
Recovered and Restored is an eating disorder therapy center founded by Gabrielle Morreale. We specialize in helping teens and young women heal from eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia, and binge eating disorder and treat disordered eating, anxiety, depression, and PTSD. We provide eating disorder therapy in the towns of Horsham, Upper Gwynedd, Lower Gwynedd, North Wales, Lansdale, Hatfield, Blue Bell, Doylestown, and nearby towns with eating disorder therapy. Also providing virtual eating disorder therapy in New Jersey, Delaware, and Florida. Some towns served virtually but are not limited to Pittsburg, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Center City, Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Mount Laurel, Cape May, Avalon, Brick, Dover, New Castle, Bethany Beach, Marydel, and Oceanview