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Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth about Your Weight
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Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth about Your Weight

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  1,268 Ratings  ·  179 Reviews
Fat isn't the problem. Dieting is the problem. A society that rejects anyone whose body shape or size doesn't match an impossible ideal is the problem. A medical establishment that equates [thin[ with [healthy[ is the problem. The solution? Health at Every Size. Tune in to your body's expert guidance. Find the joy in movement. Eat what you want, when you want, choosing ple ...more
ebook, Second Edition, 400 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Benbella Books (first published October 11th 2008)
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Community Reviews

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Apr 05, 2010 Dora rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

First I want to say that this book is a must-read for anyone who is overweight and has ever wished they were thinner. Even if I felt the book was flawed in a few ways, I think it's still incredibly valuable.There's a whole movement started by the book and it's a really empowering, wonderful thing.

Essentially, the point of this book is that the chips are stacked against higher-weight Americans, that our senses of hunger and satiety has been manipulated for the profit of food and pharmaceutical co
Feb 14, 2010 Katje rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy moley... I wish I'd read this book when I was fifteen! My entire life would have been changed with this knowledge, and possibly that of several members of my family.

If you have any issues regarding your weight or self-image, or if anyone you love has those issues, do not walk but RUN to get your hands on this book.

The research presented will knock your socks off... and change your understanding of how your body works to protect and support you. The down side is that you will forever be susp
M Strawberry Reviews
This book was not written by a medical doctor.

It's easy to be impressed by someone who says 'I have a PhD' but keep in mind that a PhD is NOT the same as a MD. I have never come across an MD that says obesity is ever healthy. Yes, you can be overweight and healthy, but your body can only carry so much extra weight before that excess takes a toll on the body, so there really is no such thing as HAES, despite what this author, and so many Fat Acceptance proponents say. (Not to mention the extreme
I have been learning about Health at Every Size and the Fat Acceptance movement and am thus trying to read it's canon of literature. The basic idea is that dieting and self-loathing are equally bad for you and one can take better care of oneself by eating and exercising in ways that feel good. This book and others like it are making me more of a feminist and more compassionate to the bodies of others and to my own body.
Jan 11, 2013 Jodi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health-books
It's flawed in parts but I got a lot out of this book overall. The core messages of this book are solid and timely; Listen to your body and eat real food that makes you feel good. Starving yourself to be thinner ends in weight gain for most of us and a raising of your set-point weight, so don’t do it. Move in ways that make you feel good without worrying about burning calories. Don’t pay attention to super-skinny ideals or weight-loss-diet-hype and just do what works for you and makes you feel h ...more
Mar 06, 2011 Alyssa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent book that explains why diets don't work and THANK GOODNESS finally shifts the blame from the dieter, to the diet. THE DIET DOESN'T WORK! Stop blaming yourself for not being able to control everything. Some things are just out of your control. Let it go. Food is to be eaten for nutrients, to nourish our bodies and provide us with the energy we need to function. SO EAT FOOD. Eat a variety, and eat SLOWLY to enjoy the food. Unprocessed foods are better for you than processed fo ...more
Feb 24, 2010 Jenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every human in North America
If you have ever gone on a diet (even a "healthy eating" plan), if you have ever looked at your body and thought you were fat, if you ever have wished you were thin, if you have ever counted a calorie, you must read this book. If you're a naturally thin person who has never had to worry about food or weight, read this book!

Linda Bacon outlines all the lies we've been fed about obesity and weight loss, and she does it with impeccable science. Every time she makes a statement of fact in the book,
Dec 31, 2009 Heidi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, read2009
I read this after reading "Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat." It made me like that other book less, because this one covered all found in the other, but this one came first, and this one helped explain why there were parts of "Eat What You Love" that I found a little problematic.

This author, with her little study that proved that dropping the issue of weight, and concentrating on self-esteem, self-acceptance, and learning to trust the signals of the body and the mind actually works better th
Sunshine Jeremiah
Excellent information on health as it relates to size. We are told that people who are fat are likely to die sooner and have more health problems. The problem is that all evidence is based on correlation and not causation. This book tells the truth about the science and what EVERYONE needs to know to have a healthy life- whether fat or skinny or something else entirely.

It is a good read and very affirming.
Apr 05, 2011 JA rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm still pondering this book.

This book contains a lot of data, which I appreciated. It is good to see a review of the solid, scientific evidence that weight is not the cause of all the ailments usually blamed on it. And I think it's incredibly helpful to understand that failing to lose weight is not a personal failure of will, but basically the way our bodies are wired to work -- I definitely would like to force some medical practitioners I've dealt with to read this, starting with the chiropr
Aug 31, 2010 Jenn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Jenn by: members
I love this book. It discusses in accessible writing why 95% of people who diet gain all the weight back, explaining that we're biologically wired to gain weight when possible but not to lose it. The author also cites numerous studies and research that suggest weight isn't the problem it's been made out to be, and that not only can someone be fat and healthy, people who are "overweight" (by the BMI's standards) tend to live longer than people who weigh less. The author, an obesity researcher, sp ...more
This very readable book is a good choice for those who are trying to figure out what to eat in today's complex food environment.

The first half summarizes, in readable language, the research that is reviewed in more detail in books like Gina Kolata's Rethinking Thin, Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food and Joan Nestle's What to Eat.

The second half of the book presents a program for paying attention to whether you're hungry and whether the food is of good quality before you decide to eat it, ins
Andrea James
I struggled with this book and not because it was badly written (the author has a readable, non-academic style of writing). I suppose because its main premise is so far from what I've believed all my life, I found it rather difficult to accept. While I agree with the author's view that it is counterproductive to berate oneself and go into cycles of self-hate and binging on food, I perhaps still hold on to the belief that one simply needs to positively re-frame one's journey to fitness (at a norm ...more
Apr 29, 2009 Christie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Live Well Pledge: Today, I will try to feed myself when I am hungry.
Today, I will try to be attentive to how food tastes and makes me feel.
Today, I will try to choose foods that I like and that make me feel good.
Today, I will try to honor my body's signals of fulness.
Today, I will try to find an enjoyable way to move my body.
Today, I will try to look kindly at my body and to treat it with love and respect.

A mind-opening read about the dangers of dieting and the need to find health without pr
Mar 04, 2010 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nov 28, 2011 Becca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Eye-opening and very empowering. To think I gave up exercise because I couldn't see the pounds coming off...Now to move joyously and start viewing myself as the wonderful, wide woman I am!
Mar 11, 2017 Peggy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This book was so helpful and eye-opening for me. It gave me the courage and knowledge to advocate for myself to health professionals, getting them to encourage me in goals of eating better and exercising rather than this obsessive focus on weight loss. I think this is a much healthier way to live, both mentally and physically. The most important lesson in this book is that significant weight loss is not sustainable for the vast majority of people, and that the yo-yoing of weight with constant di ...more
Liz Nix
I don't even know where to begin with this book. How do you rate a self-help book? I feel like there should be a different system for this type of book. If I rated it on writing alone, maybe a 4. If I rated it on the overall idea? maybe a 5. If I rated it on actually helping people? probably a 4. However, due some major issues that I have with Bacon's writing, I'm giving this a 3. My major gripe, right off the bat, is that Bacon has taken major ideas from books written by other nutrition profess ...more
Jul 22, 2012 Zeenat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Summary: A book that teaches you about loving yourself and being healthy no matter what your size, because size really doesn't matter!

Review: In all honesty, I struggle with non-fiction books, especially of the self-help variety. So, it took me a long time to finish this book, and it was read in between my fiction books. But in the end I honestly loved this book because it got to the heart of the issues I dealt with my whole life.

This book is not one that makes excuses for unhealthy lifestyles.
Apr 30, 2012 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably the single most valuable resource on healthy food intake and movement that I have seen. Stresses biology and physiology studies showing that yo-yo dieting is phenomenally unhealthy, and then goes into an analysis of why crash diets are still phenomenally popular. The HAES movement (for which this is a manifesto) stresses working with the body that you have and allowing your body to find its own set point weight. There's a section on intuitive eating (for more resources on this, go to fa ...more
Jonathan-David Jackson
Aug 01, 2015 Jonathan-David Jackson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who has ever dieted, is considering dieting, or knows somebody in either of those categories
A powerfully eye-opening refutation of our culture's hatred of fat. Instead of a review, I've just included some quotes from the book because they say it very clearly:

"The vast majority of people who try to lose weight regain it, regardless of whether they maintain their diet or exercise program."

"...people in the overweight or moderately obese categories live at least as long - or longer - than people in the normal weight category."

"The largest examination of mortality rates following bariatric
Feb 28, 2013 Evamaria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I've had this book in my to-read shelf for a while, after reading about the HAES movement in various blogs. I'm only a couple of chapters in, but so far it lives up to my expectations. For me personally it's a bit "self-help-y", probably because its audience is mostly yo-yo dieters and other people really unhappy with their bodies. But I am looking forward to reading the details of Bacon's study and her arguments against our weight-obsessed culture, in which it still seems to be completely okay ...more
Dec 28, 2015 Anette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: help-and-guides
This is a book that I consider a basis of healthy relationship with your body. If one is struggling with their size and is stuck in a circle of binge eating, this very comprehensive guide contains loads of research and data on top of sound and rational advice which is bound to help. I have read a lot of books talking about fat issue and size, fat shaming but this is certainly the most data based on. The first couple of chapters are taking you down the road of many many scientific studies and rep ...more
Jun 02, 2013 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: body-positive
Newsflash: Diets don't work! I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has a body. I'd heard about the Health at Every Size idea a while back and immediately thought it made sense - listen to your body, embrace healthy eat what you want lifestyle, recognize that being fat is not a disease and learn to love your body. Though I've never considered myself to be a "dieter," reading this book gave me great insight into my relationship with food and my body. The author's findings are back u ...more
Sep 08, 2010 Sheila rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read2010
The first half of the book--a look at the current research in weight loss and the relationship between weight and health--was stellar, and will really stick with me. The second half--a program to help you treat yourself better, learn how to incorporate physical activity into your day, and change the way you deal with food--was occasionally too preachy and judgmental (hint: don't say judging people's eating habits is wrong and then judge their eating habits), and it completely dropped the ball wh ...more
Penny Ramirez
Well, this was different. I skipped around, gleaning the good parts.

Author's theory is that dieting doesn't work (duh) and that what we all really need to do is be happy within ourselves, which will lead to good health.

Vastly over-simplified from this 300+ page tome, but that's the gist of it. Accept yourself, stop eating food that you don't really want to eat (using food to satisfy other desires), embrace exercise as something that will contribute to your health, and oh yeah by the way, you nee
Dec 05, 2009 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This is one of a few books I've read recently about the myths surrounding the obesity hype in this county. The author advocates taking cues from your body to regulate your eating and exercise, and not worrying about your weight. As with the other books, she presents a lot of research to back up her claims that weight has less impact on overall health than eating well and regular exercise. It's possible to be both fat and healthy. Not as well done as other books I've read, but compelling and affi ...more
Jan 29, 2013 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had high hopes for this book when I read the introduction but found it very disappointing. I found the research behind her movement shallow and biased. As someone that's never actually been overweight, only feared becoming overweight, I found nothing inspirational or helpful in it, particularly when she accuses thin people of landing jobs that more "qualified," but overweight, people should have gotten. The closing remarks were bizarre and her "research" was not presented with enough actual da ...more
Jul 21, 2010 Dianne rated it it was amazing
This is a remarkable book, combining all the aspects of the HAES movement: the political, cultural, and economical forces that influence our health, the obesity panic, the stigma against fat...and what you can do about it. I highly recommend it for anyone who's just tired of feeding the diet industry's endless body hatred machine and wants to reclaim sovereignty and self-respect over her own body.
Like many others, I wish I had read this book years ago. It is freeing for me to be given permission to separate my desire to be healthy from an obligation I feel to be thin. I can be healthy and never be thin, and that's okay.
I think I still have a long way to go on my self love journey, but this is a start. I loved that this book reference so many studies, it is very scientific. I also love that it is so accessible. It is empowering and informative. I highly recommend it.
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  • Lessons from the Fat-o-sphere: Quit Dieting and Declare a Truce with Your Body
  • The Obesity Myth: Why America's Obsession with Weight is Hazardous to Your Health
  • The Fat Studies Reader
  • Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss--And the Myths and Realities of Dieting
  • Two Whole Cakes: How to Stop Dieting and Learn to Love Your Body
  • Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture
  • Bodies out of Bounds: Fatness and Transgression
  • Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works
  • Fat Politics: The Real Story Behind America's Obesity Epidemic
  • The Unapologetic Fat Girl's Guide to Exercise and Other Incendiary Acts
  • Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love & Fashion
  • Wake Up, I'm Fat!
  • Read My Hips: How I Learned to Love My Body, Ditch Dieting, and Live Large
  • Fat: The Anthropology of an Obsession
  • The Fat Girl's Guide to Life
  • What's Wrong with Fat?
  • Fat Is a Feminist Issue
  • Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body

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“Once you consider the extent of the magical thinking that tends to be tied in to the fantasy of thinness, you can understand how threatening it is to consider the idea that you may never get the thin body you crave. It means that you never get to become the person you want to be. Wow! No wonder it’s so painful to let go of the drive to lose weight! Accepting your body is not just about physicality, it’s about accepting who you are, not continuing to wait until you become the person you imagine being.” 5 likes
“Food is a wonderful source of pleasure—but it will get you into trouble if it’s the only source of pleasure you have in your life.” 1 likes
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