Hi all, Sal here. For those of you that know the team at Barefoot you know one of our highest values is Inclusion. And in alignment with that is the belief that all bodies are deserving of equal professional care. We do not jump to conclusions or make any assumptions based on weight or body size.

Recently we had an inservice with Non-Diet Dietitian Kate Gough (who spoke at our Summit last year) covering Health at Every Size (HAES) so we could dive deeper into this concept and make sure how we were talking with clients with regard to weight was completely in alignment with the research and best care. Here are notes from Kate on what we covered – it was a great round table discussion and we look forward to learning even more! We have left it in dot points as they are powerful. Clients and clinicians can benefit from reading this. We are happy to discuss Health at Every Size with anyone!

  • People get told to lose weight everyday and “just eat less, move more”. This sets them up for failure as they jump on the dieting bandwagon with the cycle that goes like this:
  • People are often stuck in the dieting cycle for years (some, most of their life) which takes away from living a meaningful life.
  • Studies show 95% of people who go on a diet to lose weight actually regain all the weight they lost, with 60% gaining back more.
  • Focusing on weight makes people feel powerless because weight is FAR more complex than simply what you eat and how much you exercise.
  • It is ‘normal’ for clients to want to lose weight in our current society with a lot of pressures (externally and internally). Validating this desire, whilst also checking in eg. “It sounds like you really value your health, what kinds of things (aka health behaviours) do you do differently when you’re working on improving your health/nutrition/exercise habits?”
  • If the client wants to lose weight (or someone on their treating team has suggested it), this isn’t wrong/bad. Rather, encouraging them to think about how they could improve their health without focusing on their weight. There are a million things they could do – eg add a piece fruit to their daily intake, eat regularly, cook at home 1 more night/week, bring lunch to work, go to bed at a regular time, connect with a friend, go for a walk (if appropriate), etc.
  • We know focusing on weight and dieting DOES NOT help, and is more likely to increase weight and deteriorate health. We know focusing on health behaviours (as above) helps to improve health, both physically and mentally.
  • The Non-Diet Approach or Health at Every Size [HAES] are the names of the approaches in which we work (aka not dieting or focusing on weight). Simply asking a client if they’ve heard of the “Non-Dieting Approach” or HAES can be helpful and encourage them to google or search on social media. There is a huge online community available and of course I would love to support them further if they’d like individual support.

Dot points above by Kate Gough – Dietitian – Centre For Integrative Health.

Thank you for reading – the more people speaking about Health and not Weight the better!