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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 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  849 ratings  ·  140 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

(showing 1-30 of 2,352)
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Dora

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
...more
Katje
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
...more
Delicious Strawberry
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.

There's some good things in t
...more
Jodi
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
Erin
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.
Alyssa
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
Jenny
Mar 02, 2015 Jenny rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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,
...more
Heidi
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
...more
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.
JA
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
...more
Jenn
Dec 30, 2014 Jenn rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Jenn by: Goodreads.com 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
JoyfulK
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
...more
Christie
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
...more
Jonathan-David Jackson
Aug 01, 2015 Jonathan-David Jackson rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
...more
Becca
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!
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
Sandy
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
Evamaria
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
Zeenat
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.
...more
Megan
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
Sheila
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
...more
L.A.
Conventional wisdom has it that being overweight / obese is the biggest health hazard there is, and that heavy people should be dieting like mofos. Science, however, does not agree with conventional wisdom. Bacon's book (2010 edition) summarizes and references all the research that debunks everything we think we know about health, weight, size, and the relationships thereof. It also describes her own research project in this area, and how it turned out.

This book will give a lot of people hope; i
...more
Mary
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
Jessica
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.
Jessica King
I think everybody should read this book and I'd also like to force-read it to a few.

One time, my mom was upset because her doctor stood outside of an open door and made fat jokes about her to his nurse. My first response was "Fire him!" She did not. I think she thought she deserved the treatment. What her doctor didn't know is...well...anything about her or her genetic makeup. She was a little "overweight", but fairly healthy. Her issues were not being addressed. She was simply told to lose weig
...more
Dianne
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.
Jami Duffy
This book really brings to light the cultural and economic forces behind our country's so-called "obesity epidemic." It's worth a read if you want to take charge of your own health by listening to your body's needs... rather than letting public opinion and the industrial-medical-political complex determine what's best for you.
Christina Zable
There is a lot of good information in here -- covering the science that shows that dieting is usually not successful long-term, that the health risks of obesity are overstated, and that self-acceptance supports health better than dieting does. There's also advice and support for moving one's own life to an acceptance model, and that's where, for me, she falls down a bit. I found her tone overly personal and cheerleader-ish. I could do with fewer sentiments along the lines of "I know how it is" a ...more
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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.” 1 likes
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