Embodied: Living the Health At Every Size Way!

By Crystal Vasquez, Embodied Club Vice President 

I became a nutrition major after losing a lot of weight through a weight-loss company. I thought by losing weight, I was getting healthy. I wanted to help others get healthy as well.

However, after the stress of school and family set in, it became next to impossible to maintain what I thought was the ideal. My behaviors were not healthy, I had not been exercising (even while actively on the “diet program”), my diet was not balanced, and I was not emotionally or mentally healthy. As I started gaining weight back, as most people do after a diet, I started to feel more stressed and depressed.

Courtesy of Crystal Vasquez

This was about the time that I heard about Health At Every Size (HAES®). The philosophy of size acceptance and promoting body image was what first got my attention. Intuitive eating made perfect sense to me.

I started practicing intuitive eating and started moving my body is ways that made me feel good. Through trusting my body and finding ways to enjoy exercise, I actually began to love running. It no longer was something I had to do, but something that I wanted to do. It made me feel good. Through listening to my body, I learned, on a personal level, that behaviors are what make us healthy, not a number on a scale.

I started researching HAES. I found that there are biological dangers in weight cycling and proven positive outcomes of changing behaviors and outlooks on health when you take the focus off the number on the scale. Some people lose weight when adopting these behaviors, some do not; However, all the people studied who had taken a HAES approach had better health outcomes.

My goal as a nutrition major is to become a Registered Dietitian and to help others become healthy. This is why I feel so strongly about HAES. This semester, I have been working with Professor Michelle Morris to form a campus organization promoting Health At Every Size.

The new student organization, called Embodied, welcomes all majors on campus and is committed to celebrating diversity and encouraging size acceptance through education, advocacy, and service endeavors.

Courtesy of Crystal Vasquez

Embodied kicked off the fall semester by participating in Chico State’s Wildcat Welcome week. We offered new students a chance to step on the HAES-friendly Yay! Scale and learn about this paradigm. In September, we spread awareness about weight stigma and its adverse effects. The club was actively engaged in Food Day 2013 in October by promoting mindful eating and had available during DeStress Week, Dec. 4–5.

In April, Embodied will collaborate with other campus units and student organizations to celebrate Love Every Body Week 2014, which will include activities and speakers to educate the campus and community about eating disorders, body-image issues, and size acceptance. Embodied also has plans to reach out to the local high schools during our inaugural year.

Embracing the tenets of finding joy in moving our bodies, the club also has fun social events for its members, such as participating in the College of Natural Sciences Bowling Tournament.

For a first year, we’ve been busy, and we are excited to see what we can do in the future!

For more information, contact Crystal Vasquez, 2013–14 Embodied Vice President, at cvasquez7@mail.csuchico.edu or visit Embodied on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/groups/CSUCHAES/

To read more from Professor Michelle Morris, check out Inside Chico State.

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