HAES Eating Disorder Recovery in Maryland
When eating disorders are discussed, we often think of the “typical eating disorder” based on the media and information presented to us. Additionally, we often have stigmatized views about weight-loss culture. The stigma surrounding eating disorders has been very challenging for clients and their families. It can be difficult to not only realize that you are struggling with eating disorder behaviors, but to want to seek recovery and support with stigma all around you. There may be lack of information, mistrust, or general unknown about recovery. If the typical client that is seen within the media or read in textbooks doesn’t look like you, then it can be difficult to feel that recovery will provide support and relief.
Of course as time has gone on, the myths about eating disorders have been challenged, questioned, and changed. Research comes out everyday about individuals and groups who not only have eating disorders but who also struggle with daily mental health issues. The groups previously left out have been increasingly incorporated into discussion. There are updated tools and assessments to best identify warning signs and challenges. Pushing further, the field of eating disorders has tried to incorporate diversity approaches on the professional level as well.
What would it look like if any individual regardless of race and ethnicity, size,or background, could feel included in the eating disorder conversation and treatment approaches? Additionally, how can we include diversity within the mental health field in all areas of practice?
Health At Every Size (HAES) was founded to address those questions above. The philosophy incorporates understanding and the importance of exclusivity for all body types, shapes, and sizes. The Health at Every Size paradigm includes the following basic components: Respect, Critical Awareness, and Compassionate Self-Care.
|The Health At Every Size Components:
Health At Every Size (2021). Retrieved from www.haescommunity.com
How can I apply HAES to my recovery?
Applying the HAES components to your recovery can be stimulated through discussions with your providers as well as identifying key resources. The HAES website has various resources to assist with the learning and understanding of this process. The resources include but are not limited to HAES organizations, blogs, podcasts, HAES-friendly products, and support groups. For concerns with body-image and/or disordered eating, it can be helpful to find a professional who aligns with HAES. This can prevent stigma around weight presentation, loss and restoration as well as treatment approaches.
Additionally, applying the components to your daily routine and thought process can be beneficial. The ultimate goal of any mental health treatment is to return to a sense of stability that is positive and healthy. This means that numbers are not the sole focus but rather the equilibrium of emotions, behaviors, and physical status. In this world where media and western culture defines the way we view ourselves, it is important to continue to challenge ourselves to love our bodies.
I challenge you to read more about HAES and sign the pledge indicated on their web page. I also challenge you to identify spaces or systems where weight-loss culture appears toxic and do your best to incorporate weight-neutral perspectives that align with diversity and compassion.
For more information on Health At Every Size, please visit www.haescommunity.com
Helpful Resources for You and Your Clients
- Fitness and HAES
- Washington Posts’ article on HAES
- Principles of Intuitive Eating
- Shift to Intuitive Exercise
Find a Health At Every Size Therapist
No matter what size body you are in you want to make sure you are working with a Health At Every Size therapist, and not someone who is entrenched in their own dieting rules and diet culture.
- Ask your therapist if they know what Health At Every Size means, and how they will apply it in their treatment.
- Look for HAES on their website or marketing materials.
- Use the Health At Every Size directory to search for HAES providers.
- Understand that there is no HAES certification, so at this time it’s strictly going on the honor system. If you trust that your provider is HAES and is educated on how to help you look at your health holistically, not your weight, then you’re on the right track.
Contact us today to set up a consultation. All staff at Collide Behavioral Health, LLC are Health At Every Size informed and approach therapy from a HAES viewpoint. We advocate for HAES practices for our clients and in our community.
Written by Maya Jefferson, LCSW
Maya is a therapist who is passionate about the working in the mental health feild. She has a special interested in disordered eating, body image and working with women of color who are seeking mental health treatment. She approaches therapy with a down-to-earth feel that is both compassionate and actionable. In her free time you can find her playing guitar, singing and reading.
If you’re interested in setting up an appointment with Maya, Contact her today.
Disclaimer: This is in no way a replacement for a therapeutic relationship or mental health services. This is for educational purposes only and should be in used only in conjunction in working with a licensed mental health professional. Reading this blog or responding to it does not constitute a provider-patient relationship. If you are looking for a local mental health professional feel free to use the contact tab to request an appointment or search Therapy Den for local therapists in your area. If this is a mental health emergency and you need immediate assistance please call 911 or your county’s crisis line to speak to a mental health professional.