Living in New York City, I climb stairs. In my house, in the subway, at my job, and in random places you wouldn’t think would have stairs. Two months ago I climbed the Manitou incline which was like a giant staircase. I admit when I sometimes climb to the subway (I often take an elevated train), I get winded and going up the incline I thought my heart was going to explode.
Every day I take some kind of stairs, an while the exercise has done wonders for my legs, it has not made me thin. Riding my exercise bike 15-30 minutes a day has not made me thin, walking at least a mile or more a day had not made me thin, my daily stretches, my yoga, my summer swimming, my walks around the office has not made me thin.
There is a slogan: "Nothing about us, without us." which is often used among marginalized groups. It essentially means one group decides the fate/treatment of a marginalized group without their input. Fat activists see this all the time. "Obesity" organizations which decide on policy on how to make fat people thin don't seek input from actual fat people.
I have mentioned before that there is a constant assumption that if you are fat because you stuff your face and sit on the couch all day. Some organizations try to be gentle by saying “It’s not your fault you stuff your face.” Every single treatment for fatness is always the same: eat less calories than your body needs (aka a diet). It is the same treatment used in the last forty years and still hasn’t been proved to work in the long run.
If the people running this International Congress of Obesity would talk to an actual fat person (and not just try to treat them), they might figure out that taking the stairs will not make us thin.
When organizations pull stunts like this, the only thing at which they can possibly succeed is creating an environment that prevents people from, and shames people for, navigating the world in the way that’s best for them and their situation.
And shame on this Amanda Sainsbury who decided fat people must become thin or they will die and Health at Every Size is bad for encourage people to stay fat. But what can you expect from a person who writes diet books? (Even worse this quack is the editor in chief of the Journal of Eating Disorders).
While I certainly agree that it is possible to have healthy behaviours that provide health benefits at a wide variety of body sizes, I disagree that it is possible to be or to stay truly healthy at every size.
This is the second time I've seen someone add a Y to the end of health when referring to Health at Every Size. This, to me, changes the meaning. Even though HAES is more geared to fat people because of the discrimination we face in health care, HAES is meant for all body types. Healthy is an abstraction. You can't really define it because everyone has different ranges. My husband can get to the top of a mountain but put him in a lake, and I’m going to zoom past him. Are we both “Healthy” or “Unhealthy”?
It is thus not surprising that people frequently put off doing anything about excess weight until better conditions arise (e.g. when the children start school or leave home, when a better financial position or home is attained, after retirement, etcetera). The health at every size concept implies putting off doing anything about excess weight indefinitely, instead accepting a higher BMI and focusing on healthy behaviours.
Ironically here she accidently points out how HAES is better than dieting. People put off Dieting. They wait until January or when they have money. HAES you do every day, no putting off. No need for money. It's learning to be as healthy as you can in the body you have whether it be too fat, too thin, disabled, or suffering from a disease. You can do HAES if you walk the stairs, take the escalator, or jump up and down.