I know that you sometimes take questions from readers — I wonder what you think about how to introduce people to Size Acceptance (SA) and Health at Every Size (r) (HAES). There are [some people] who I think could really benefit from reading blogs like yours, and books on the topic. But I don’t know how to do it without being hurtful.
It’s a really good question. Obviously this can be a sensitive subject and, at least for now, it may be an entirely new concept for the person to whom you are introducing it. If you read this blog very often, you already know that I’m not into telling people what to do . My approach (and recommendation) is always to couch it as something that I do, rather than something that someone else should do. This post talks about how I specifically explain HAES so today I’ll talk more about how you might broach the subject.
We live in the age of Facebook and Twitter, and along with 400 comments you don’t care about on the post that you accidentally “liked”, it also allows us to offer our list of followers exposure to a new topic with relatively low risk. Start posting blogs that you like about SA/HAES, or updates talking about how you are practicing it in your life or the how much you like it etc.
Work it In
When other people are talking about their diets, or participating in a rousing game of body hate, you can bring up your SA/HAES practice. Remember that your choice is just as valid as anyone else’s choice – telling people what you are doing does not obligate you to seek their approval. I recommend having a quick definition like”I practice Health at Every Size – so I focus on healthy behaviors rather than a number on a scale.” You can answer questions if you want but remember that you aren’t required to “defend” your choices.
Bring it Up
You can also bring it up in conversation. This works especially well if you are setting boundaries/asking for support. For example “I’ve decided to practice Health at Every Size. For me that means that I’ll be focusing on what I decide are healthy habits and not on a number on the scale, weight loss, or what other people think I should do with my body. I would love your support in this but if you aren’t willing to support me then it is important that you respect my choice”. Obviously you’ll want to modify the words for yourself but that’s the idea.
I really can’t stress enough how much more of a powerful position I’ve found myself in if I simply explain rather than trying to convince, persuade, defend or seek approval.