Please note that this is an Archived article and may contain content that is out of date. The use of she/her/hers pronouns in some articles is not intended to be exclusionary. Eating disorders can affect people of all genders, ages, races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, body shapes, and weights.

Let’s Talk About … Health at Every Size®

With Nicole Hawkins, PhD, CEDS-S

Health at Every Size® (HAES) can help with eating disorder recovery. It has been made abundantly clear that dieting does not work, and dieting only results in a loss of self-esteem! The primary focus of HAES is to promote healthy behaviors for people of all sizes. The 5 principles include: 1. Weight Inclusivity: acceptance that bodies naturally come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and no size of body is inherently better than any other size body; 2. Health Enhancement: the focus on health rather than weight and attendance to additional disparities that contribute to health including economic, social, spiritual, emotional, and physical factors. 3. Respectful care: acknowledgment of weight bias and weight-based discrimination, and the commitment to work towards its end. 4. Eating for Well-Being: flexible, individualized eating based on hunger, satiety, nutritional needs and pleasure-not external eating guidelines focused on weight. 5. Life-Enhancing Movement: encouragement of enjoyable physical activities for people in a range of bodies with a range of abilities, to the extent that they wish to participate. Dr. Lauren Muhlheim CEDS discussed the latest research from six studies in her recent article focusing on HAES and recovery. She concluded that a “HAES approach led to improvements in physiological, behavioral, and psychological measures. Subjects exhibited statistically and clinically-relevant improvements in blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. They also displayed increased physical activity and decreased eating disorder symptoms and increased self-esteem.” It is critical that you dedicate all of your resources into your recovery, if you lose your focus and get consumed with changing your body, recovery becomes an impossibility. You don’t need to love your body, the key is acceptance. For more resources visit The Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH).

Dr. Hawkins is a clinical psychologist and is the Chief Executive Officer at Center for Change.  She is a specialist in eating disorders and body image and has provided clinical expertise at Center for Change since 1999. Dr. Hawkins developed a comprehensive body image program that focuses on the media, diet industry, plastic surgery, childhood issues, and learning to appreciate one’s body, and she leads these groups for the Inpatient and Residential patients at Center for Change.  She is a Certified Eating Disorders Specialist (Supervisor), has published several articles, and presents regularly at national and regional conferences.

Center for Change is a place of hope and healing that is committed to helping those suffering from eating disorders break free and fully recover.  The Center offers intensive treatment for eating disorders and co-occurring issues, including a specialty program for co-occurring diabetes (ED-DMT1), and provides a full continuum of care: Inpatient, Residential, Partial Hospitalization Program, Intensive Outpatient Program, and Outpatient services. Located in Orem Utah, Cottonwood Heights (Salt Lake City) Utah, and Boise Idaho, serving females in Inpatient and Residential, and all genders in PHP, IOP, and Outpatient.  Accredited by The Joint Commission, AdvancED, and TRICARE® certified.