Will HAES End The Diet Craze?
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Will HAES End The Diet Craze?

Burlington : VT : USA | Aug 01, 2011 at 2:15 PM PDT
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Good health realized at any size is it possible, HAES says yes

HAES meaning health at every size is making headlines as the new health movement. It is based on the assumption the best way to improve health is by honoring your body. No they are not saying that becoming a coach potato and consuming junk food all day long is a good thing. They believe in adopting health habits for good health and overall wellbeing.

There are numerous health experts that will agree diets do not work at least not in the long term of keeping those extra pounds off. As Dr. Michelle May, founder of Am I hungry? , points out if 95% of medications fail the FDA would never approve them.

Yet, according to Dr. May that is the amount of diets that do fail.

However, this movement states that the cycle of fad diets and poor health can end. They openly state you may not get into those skinny jeans but will have a safe BMI. Their idea is a fairly simple one, healthy behaviors improve your life even if you do not lose weight.

They do free the person of trying to follow those hard to understand diet charts, counting calories, grams, fats, points, phases and stages.

Their idea to exercise may have some solid ground by using a rule that makes total sense, find an exercise activity that is totally fun and you will not have to make yourself do it.

However, there are practitioners that are having a hard time putting a handle on this new approach. Dr. Wihad Karmally, PhD, RD, Director of Nutrition at the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research at Columbia University Medical Center, does point out a valid fact. As she puts it "The research is very compelling that as your weight increases, your risk for several diseases increases also."

Then HAES also has accumulating evidence going on their side. The National Institutes of Health sponsored a study in which 78 women participated. The women either had been assigned to the HAES program or conventional diet program. Those that participated in HAES had received coaching in activity, adopting healthy food and lifestyle choices. As explained earlier there are no stringent rules to follow. Also, they participated in support groups which focused on issues such as accepting your body and feelings. The findings had shown that the women in the HAES group had improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol and activity levels and depression both at six months and two years. In the conventional group the women did lose weight and had shown improvements. However, they eventually returned to their old habits.

As far as yo-yo diet goes, some experts agree they produce negative effects. Dr. Linda Bacon, PhD, associate nutritionist at the University of California, Professor of Nutrition at City College of San Francisco, and the author of “Health at Every Size” states there are numerous studies which advocate yo-yo dieting can add to the risk of high blood pressure, insulin resistance and high cholesterol. There are studies that demonstrate a wide variety of diets become yo-yo diets. She further notes that up to two-thirds of people who lose weight will regain that weight within a year and the others within five years.

According to Marsha Hudnall, RD, program director at Green Mountain (HAES program) in Vermont, the HAES method does produce positive outcomes. They teach intuitive eating which is said to tune you into your body so you are able to tell when your hungry and when you are full.

The program at Green Mountain does provide encouragement to women to consume more whole foods by demonstrating that these foods do satisfy and are delicious. In their foods served there are things like lemon soy grilled flank steak and lemony asparagus.

There are classes that teach cooking to give women the skills needed for their home return and classes which aide women in discovering the emotional basis for numerous food cravings. For exercise you can even find a water aerobics class.

Even for its seemingly good theories there are practitioners that have concerns. One of which being even though HAES has helped women they are fearful that the love yourself as you are attitude approach may dictate to women to be a couch potato and consume a half gallon of ice cream.

Dr. David L. Katz, MD, MPH, Director of Yale’s University Prevention Research Center and Prevention advisory board member states that the effort of improving peoples self images can not be allowed to interfere with efforts to battle a serious medical condition. He further notes that it is true not everyone can be an underwear model however, 65% of American adults are overweight or obese.

Dr. Deb Burgard, PhD psychologist in San Francisco Bay Area tends to see HAES differently, she does agree that single minded focus on diets need to be gone. That there are studies which demonstrate even a little weight loss does help. She believe what you do is what really matters. Such as physical activity and nutrition intervention and not weight loss by itself.

Dr. Katz in closing remarks that most people who concentrate on going after good health especially in those who gave up on that plan than HAES can help them. He further mentions that those who do focus on eating healthy and exercise will find that they will lose weight in the long run.

To date as of this writing 2,583 people have taken the HAES pledge. The HAES site is available for viewing at HAES Community. You can view what HAES is about, take the pledge with others and check out their resources.



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Debbie Nicholson is based in Detroit, Michigan, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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