California Educator

January / February 2017

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In Dawn's words: Health at Every Size has been called controversial because… there is a misunderstanding about the term. It doesn't mean a person is healthy at every size. Instead, it means that every person at every size deserves to be treated well, and we can't rely on a scale to tell if some- one's healthy or not. We should look at things like blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, emotional health, depres- sion and stress management, along with physical activity, endurance and stamina. Health is multifaceted. It's time to think differently about health and size… since research shows that most of the time when people lose weight they gain it back. So the traditional weight loss paradigm isn't working. Some bodies are meant to be larger and may fall into the overweight or obese category because of genetics. Instead of being told not to eat certain foods and going on a binging spree, Health at Any Size is about helping people practice gentle self-care and settle at the weight they are supposed to be at, based on their genetics. It's about not focusing on what the scale says, but taking care of yourself. Instead of dieting, it's about developing healthy patterns for life. It's about being physi- cally active to foster emotional health. My students are needed as peer counselors… because college students are often skipping meals, using diet pills and eating out a lot. During appointments, they learn how to put a basic meal together in under 15 minutes with a few different food groups. It can save them money. My health coaches are trained to talk about body image and help students find different ways to love their bodies and current size, so they accept themselves instead of always striving to look different. Health at Every Size Principles • Accept, respect the diversity of body shapes and sizes; promote health and well- being for people of all sizes. • Recognize health, well-being as multidimensional; includes physical, social, spiritual, occupational, emotional and intellectual aspects. • Promote eating in a way that balances individual nutritional needs, hunger, satiety, appetite and pleasure. • Promote individually appropriate, enjoyable, life-enhancing physical activity, rather than exercise focused on weight loss. body acceptance and positive food and exercise experiences. e term was trade- marked by e Association for Size Diversity and Health, a group of professionals who believe the traditional weight loss paradigm does little to support overall health and well-being of clients, and instead results in weight bias and discrimination. "Patients avoid their doctors and dietitians when they are told to lose weight," Clifford says. "We need a new, compassionate model that supports health behaviors for individuals of all sizes with less focus on the scale." With former student Laura Curtis, Clifford co-authored a book on nutrition coun- seling, Motivational Interviewing in Nutrition and Fitness, encouraging clients to lead the way in devising realistic goals. "Clients do better when they talk themselves into change," she explains. 17 January / February 2017 Dawn Clifford with Stacy Carlson and a mannequin that serves as a client.

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