Last week, we reviewed the first half of Linda Bacon’s book, “Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight.” Part one, “Deconstructing Weight,” was a thorough overview of both the influences on a person’s weight and the politics governing food and our assumptions about weight. Today, we’ll discuss part two of the book, titled “Health at Every Size.” Part two covers the practical details behind Linda Bacon’s Health at Every Size (HAES) Program. She shows us how we can stop trying to lose weight and instead focus on accepting who we are and living a healthy life no matter what we weigh.
The second half of the book begins with an introduction to Bacon’s own research. She performed a study comparing the best diet program possible to her HAES program. So, what were the results of her research? The Health at Every Size program showed much better outcomes than the traditional diet program! Program participants were enjoying their food, eating according to their body’s natural cues, learning to love their bodies and experiencing improvements in their health. Sound like something you want to get on board with?
In the chapters that follow, Bacon teaches you how to practically apply HAES Principles to your own life so you can enjoy the same benefits that the HAES program participants experienced. She starts by explaining how you can challenge cultural ideas and myths about weight. Then, she provides tips to help you learn to accept and even love yourself as you are, so that you can benefit from an improved body image and higher self-esteem. She goes on to give clear guidelines explaining how to be an intuitive eater, including how to eat according to your body’s physiological cues for hunger and fullness, how to eat mindfully and enjoy your food, and how to deal with emotional eating.
Bacon also teaches you how to train your body to crave healthy lifestyle habits and find satisfaction in practicing them. She provides helpful insights into how to incorporate more movement into your daily life, and she emphasizes moving for fun and enjoyment, not obligation. She even shares tips for getting more sleep and managing stress! One chapter that is particularly interesting is Chapter 11, where Bacon reveals that it is possible to alter your tastes so that you enjoy foods that are more nutritious for your body.
Ending her book as powerfully as she began, Bacon’s final chapter presents clear, feasible solutions for the central issues behind our culture’s obsession with weight. She asserts that “the most powerful force preventing change is our own internalization of the myths” (Bacon, 2008, p.263).
In addition to the twelve chapters of this book, there is also an appendix filled with useful materials and resources. It’s here that you’ll find the Live Well Pledge, HAES Manifesto, letters to copy and give to others to support you in your HAES journey, and other messages that address specific groups of people. She even includes a list of extra HAES resources to check out if you’d like to read more about the topics covered in her book.
Overall, the second half of “Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight” is incredibly helpful. Like the first half, it is saturated with scientific evidence to back up its main points, but the best part is its practicality. Each chapter is filled with tips to make improvements in your own life, as well as challenges to make changes that will benefit the greater society. Bacon’s passion shines clearly through her writing, and as you read you will quickly realize that she cares about each and every person reading her book.
To conclude, this book is inspirational and motivating, while at the same time staying grounded and realistic. Linda Bacon has done a beautiful job combining her academic knowledge, research results and real-life experience into an informative and compassionate book that offers her readers freedom and empowerment. Not only will you learn something while reading this book, but you will also be motivated to do something about what you’ve read. We encourage you to go check it out for yourself and see what you think!
- Bacon, L. (2008). Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight. Dallas, TX: BenBella Books.