Just posted a lengthy response to a post on HAES at Inner Thoughts, Inner Soul, but I thought I’d post a slightly edited version of it here, too. (Why the hell not?)
Rather than following a strict Health At Every Size philosophy, I now practise just listening to my body (or you could simply call it self-care or being kind to myself) which is what I believe was the core of the original HAES/intuitive eating concept.
In recent months, I have seen:
a) people in the medical community who supposedly support HAES assert what amounts to a moral obligation for fat people to practice HAES, and
b) people whose underlying medication conditions don’t allow them to be in perfect health, feel excluded or judged by the moral imperative they believe is inherant in the term Health at Every Size.
I’m sure neither of these things were the intention of the people who coined HAES, but somehow it has been co-opted or twisted into an alternative diet philosophy with side-serve of puritan morality.
There is no moral imperative for health, nor is there a moral imperative to eat a certain way or exercise at a certain level.
I am a firm believer that one’s body knows what works best for it, regardless of your base level of health. There is nothing you ‘should’ be doing, only what you could be doing if it fits with what your body and soul needs.
So, I listen to my body about what and when I eat, and how and when I exercise. And I also to factor in my emotional and mental well-being into those decisions.
The goal then becomes not perfect health (or perfect compliance, because some days your body and soul WILL tell you to lie on the couch and eat chocolates), but living in the here and now in the healthiest body FOR YOU, which means the best health you can have with your underlying conditions.
I hope this helps.