Laurie Toby Edison

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Health at Every Size®: Now a Registered Trademark

Lynne Murray says:

An August 1st press release from The Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) started me thinking how often the diet industry has stolen body-positive ideas and used them to sell body-damaging products and programs. The press release announced that ASDAH has claimed Announces Health At Every Size® as a registered trademark.

To my mind this is a socially healthy move. The best way to keep someone from stealing “Health At Every Size” (ASDAH politely calls it borrowing, but I prefer the stronger word) is to let them know a nonprofit, body-positive organization owns it and won’t allow it to be co-opted and used to market “love your body into a smaller size” delusions.

“This is not about keeping the Health At Every Size approach exclusive to ASDAH,” said ASDAH President, Deb Lemire. “Through the diligent work of many people both within and allied with our organization, the Health At Every Size principles have come to mean something very important to people of all sizes who want access to compassionate, relevant and rational health care. We simply want to protect this phrase from individuals or large corporations who would seek to co-opt the phrase to hawk their latest diet or weight-loss program.”

Kate Harding nailed this phenomenon in a 2007 post:

“Diets don’t work, but…” Fill in the blank with any of the following–or make up your own!
• Diets don’t work, but Weight Watchers, which is not a diet, works.
• Diets don’t work, but “lifestyle changes,” which are not diets, work.
• Diets don’t work, but restricting calories for the rest of your life, which is not a diet, works.
• Diets don’t work, but cutting out carbs, which is not a diet, works.
• Diets don’t work, but eating only whole foods, which is not a diet, works.
• Diets don’t work, but reducing fat intake, which is not a diet, works.
• Diets don’t work, but “portion control,” which is not a diet, works.
• Diets don’t work, but eating right and exercising, which is not a diet (and clearly not something anyone’s ever thought of before!), works.

Gosh, there’s so much conflicting information here! However to synthesize it? Do you suppose there’s, like, a single element common to all those statements?

Ooh! Ooh! I see it! DIETS DON’T WORK.

What do I win?

The thing that causes so much confusion (to put it charitably) here is that diets do work, actually–in the short term. All diets, from cabbage soup to Weight Watchers, will cause people to lose weight. At first. But after five years, all diets have the same result: the vast majority of people who lost weight at first gained it back.

Read the rest of Kate’s post too; don’t stop with what I quoted.

Incidentally the “Diets Don’t Work” phrase has been trademarked by a “lifestyle change” organization. I’m glad to see that ASDAH has made sure that won’t happen to Health at Every Size.

ASDAH is getting involved in a number of what I think of as truly noble efforts:

… a series of proactive responses to the continued misguided public and political approach to health and weight. In June, ASDAH launched healthateverysizeblog.com featuring outspoken advocates for the Health At Every Size® paradigm. ASDAH also recently responded to a commentary in JAMA suggesting the removal of higher weight children from their homes. While the removal was proposed as a last resort, “the option should not even have been on the table,” says Lemire “when the Health At Every Size® approach is a viable and compassionate alternative.” ASDAH has drafted a policy response which can be downloaded from its website.

Many of the guiding lights of ASDAH will be attending its annual conference August 12-14 in San Francisco:“No BODY Left Behind – The HAES® Model: Ensuring an Inclusive Approach to Health and Wellness.” Also at the conference, the SF Bay Area Film Premiere of America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments, directed by Darryl Roberts, a look at our unhealthy obsession with dieting and other weighty matters. Debbie reviewed the previous America the Beautiful film here.

Full memberships and Saturday-only memberships are sold out, which says to me that our movement is gaining strength and popularity.

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