Weight and health
Updated: Apr 14, 2022
By: Abby Emmert & Gabrielle Morreale
This week, a common topic of discussion was weight as it relates to health. If you are not aware of HAES, it stands for Health At Every Size, which our practice aligns with completely! The foundation of this philosophy is that size does not determine health. Basically, you can be healthy in a larger body and be very sick in a smaller body. Therefore, health cannot be attached to weight. When struggling with an eating disorder, this is a VERY difficult concept to accept, mostly due to the stigma and labels that are attached to larger bodies. The fear of these labels and discrimination keeps many people stuck in their disorders for far to long.
Another massive component of weight and health misconceptions is the medical term BMI, which stands for Body Mass Index. BMI was created nearly 200 years ago based off French and Scottish male participants. (In case you missed it, this is just another way our society was founded on White, Male characteristics GROSS). Anyway, the index was made to be used solely on White males, but along the way, got adopted as a way to police men and women’s bodies. In fact, weight was not even used in consideration with health until the beginning of the 20th century when insurance companies decided they would use a spreadsheet of height and weight to determine fees for policyholders. SO OUTRAGEOUS!
At this point, physicians and other medical professionals caught onto the spreadsheet and began to implement it into their practices. After BMI and other weight indexes gained popularity, researchers set out to test just how accurate the BMI was. BMI in our opinion is never accurate but in the study we read it was “found” to be accurate 50% of the time when evaluating people in larger bodies. Why do we let something that only works part of the time dictate wether someone is healthy or not? In our book 50% is an F and this measure is clearly failing us! They also use a word in the article that we will not repeat but it starts with an O and it has to go!
Anyways, for a real life example, I was still considered within a normal range by the BMI during parts of my ED when I was anorexic. I had lost my period, I had no body fat, I also had heart palpitations from lack of hydration, yet the BMI indicated that I was still “healthy”. This is how incredibly dangerous this connection between weight and health is to our society, nevermind the field that we are in!
With all of this in mind, there may not be immediate change of this correlation in society, so there are ways that we can take this into our own hands! An example of how you can take change into your own hands is kindly refusing weigh ins at the doctors. Now if you are working on weight restoration this tip is NOT for you! Sorry gal! However, if you are weight restored or someone who has not struggled with an eating disorder this is one way we can make change. If you are met with resistance challenge it ask them why? Let them know that your body weight is not an indicator of health and you will not be bullied into believing so.
Also let them know that it is your right to decline to be weighed and if they continue to insist tell them you need to be weighed blind and do not want to know the number. Also if you are someone who is weight restoring I highly recommend this!! Blind weight is essential when weight restoring!
Anyways, there are many changes that need to be made around this issue, and there are changes happening in small increments. But that does not mean you cannot take it into your own hands, starting with informing yourself! Education is power <3 See some more resources below to aid that power and don’t be afraid to reach out if you need help or support!!
We have immediate openings right now for eating disorder therapy in:
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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.
Click here to get started with therapy today! : https://www.recoveredandrestoredtherapy.com/.