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What the Olympics & Paralympics can teach us about Health at Every Size ®

Raise your hand if you’ve been staying up past your bedtime to watch the 2020 Tokyo Olympics? Or is it just me? With the Paralympics starting at the end of this month, I might as well forgo bedtime for the foreseeable future. It doesn’t matter the sport. From para cycling to skateboarding, I am mesmerized by these athletes and their abilities to compete at the top of their game along with the best in the world.

When I have someone ask me to explain what Health at Every Size ® (HAES) is, I often use the Olympics & Paralympics as an example. For certain people, like athletes, this can really resonate with them. For others, it may only be relatable for two weeks every two years when the Olympic & Paralympic games are being held.

Health at Every Size ® (HAES) includes three components. These components include respect, critical awareness and compassionate self-care.

Respect involves celebrating body diversity and honoring differences including all dis/abilities.

Critical awareness involves challenging both scientific & cultural assumptions and valuing other’s knowledge & lived experiences.

Compassionate self-care involves finding joyful movement, being physically active and eating in a flexible & in tuned manner.

Look at the number of countries represented in the Olympics & Paralympics across all athletic events. If that doesn’t scream body diversity to you, I don’t know what will! These athletes show critical awareness by breaking barriers in sport whether its world records, setting personal boundaries on what their bodies can handle or showing the world that their disability will not define them. Compassionate self-care really shines in this arena. Athletes finding joyful movement while being physically active. If you have seen any Instagram stories or Tiktok videos from athletes in the athletic village, you will know that these athletes have every cuisine imaginable offered to them at all times. There are options for vegan athletes as well as those with dietary restrictions.

There is something for everyone and everyone has a seat at the table.

So if celebrating body diversity, finding joyful movement and eating in a flexible & in tuned manner work for athletes at the Olympics & Paralympics, why can’t it work for the rest of us? What if we stopped judging one another’s differences and recognized them as strengths? What if we sought physical activity to bring us a sense of joy instead of focusing on how it can change our bodies? What if we honored our body’s cravings for food instead of following food rules that diet culture has ingrained in us?

What if we believed that all bodies are good bodies? Capable bodies? Strong bodies? Healthy bodies? I do! And I hope you can too.

If you’d to learn more about Health at Every Size ® and what that can look like for you as an athlete or every day person, I encourage you to schedule an appointment using the Book Now button to schedule a free 20-minute inquiry call with me. I would love to hear how Health at Every Size ® resonates with you and how I can help support you.

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