why should you work with a haes dietitian
  • May 16, 2024

Why should you work with a HAES Dietitian?

Why should you work with a HAES Dietitian? Are you sick of hearing about weight loss diets and how to […]

Why should you work with a HAES Dietitian?

Are you sick of hearing about weight loss diets and how to lose weight? 

Or, have you unfortunately been subject to hearing your friends and family’s opinions on your eating habits or body weight – when they have no right to say them? 

Perhaps, you’ve experienced some aspects of disordered eating, or an eating disorder. 

Do you feel that there needs to be a healthcare professional that can help you, that really understands you as a whole?

An accredited practising dietitian from Imbodi (who all use the HAES approach) would be a great fit!


What is HAES?

HAES (1) stands for ‘Health At Every Size’. HAES is an inclusive and holistic approach to health care that renounces diets and weight loss – ultimately tackling weight bias. 



It is weight inclusive and weight neutral. A HAES dietitian is equipped to be more supportive in helping people take care of themselves, by focusing on respecting and forming a greater relationship with your body. 


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What is the HAES Paradigm?

The HAES paradigm (1)  is formed on the basis of self-care.

This is done via discussing health behaviours, noticing and resisting weight stigma and being inclusive of all forms of humans – especially in areas like social status, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic status and body shape/size. 


What is the Non-Diet Approach?

A non-diet approach (1) is about shifting the focus from seeking to change body weight or size to instead working on enhancing health behaviours. 

Ultimately, the non-diet approach supports that body shapes and sizes vary within people. With this approach, weight loss would not be a goal, or a measure of success.



What are the 5 Core Principles of Health At Every Size (HAES)?

There are 5 principles that make up the HAES Approach (1)


  1. Weight inclusivity:
    Involves rejecting ideas of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ body weights, shapes or sizes, and accepting and respecting all bodies in their unique forms.
  2. Health enhancement:
    This is about promotion of health policies for equal access, and adopting and improving personal practices to better overall well-being across various aspects of life.
  3. Respectful care:
    Involves acknowledging and fighting against weight bias, having inclusive services which are considerate of socioeconomic factors – thus supporting equitable environments.
  4. Eating for well-being:
    This supports eating based on our own hunger, satiety, nutrition, and pleasure – a form of intuitive eating – whilst avoiding externally regulated ideas towards weight control.
  5. Life-enhancing movement:
    Encourages diverse and enjoyable physical activities for all.


Why should you work with a HAES Dietitian?

A HAES dietitian values this approach and uses this to support you! Working with an Imbodi HAES-aligned dietitian can help you nurture your relationship with yourself in a holistic manner. 

They can do this by holding space for you to explore your thoughts on food and your body.

They will also help you build a more fulfilling relationship with food and your body, by guiding you to think about your values, beliefs and previous experiences. 

Anyone can see a HAES dietitian – especially if you are working towards a healthy relationship with yourself. 

Other useful members of your HAES healthcare team could include a GP, a psychologist or psychiatrist. 


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Is a HAES Dietitian the same as an Eating Disorder Dietitian?

Not necessarily.

In the dietetics field, there are a range of dietitians that specialise in different areas.

Often, eating disorder dietitians are aligned with the HAES framework and are therefore HAES dietitians. 

It is important to note that not all HAES dietitians will treat eating disorders, and that not all eating disorder dietitians will practice a HAES approach. 

At Imbodi however, all of our dietitians practice with a HAES approach. 


What does this look like in practice?

In practice, our dietitians will endeavour to help you break away from diet culture and disordered eating cycles. 

They will provide you with support to create a more joyful and fulfilling relationship with food and your body.

Finally, they can help you establish a healthy and sustainable approach to eating that matches your personal ethics and values.

At Imbodi Health, we have a method that merges science-based nutrition with a comprehensive, holistic-based approach to achieve long-term results – which is formed from the fundamentals of the HAES framework!



Identifying the difference between health-promoting behaviours and diet behaviours

Diet behaviours are more based on food rules and weight scales – ‘diet culture’. Examples of diet behaviours include counting calories, or restricting certain foods or food groups.

Comparatively, health-promoting behaviours can include things that promote overall well-being with a weight-neutral or non-diet stance, such as regular physical activity, stress management, and eating a balanced and varied diet. 


Helping you make peace with food and your body

Doing this involves strategies like:


Is there research to support this work?

There is a large variety of data that supports the HAES framework. 

For example, a systematic review (2) explored the impact of non-diet approaches on attitudes, behaviours, and health outcomes. 

Its findings suggested that these approaches have a positive influence, which indicated potential benefits. 

Overall, this study emphasised the significance of non-diet strategies in promoting overall well-being.

Another study (3) presented an evidence-based rationale for embracing weight-inclusive health policies in their study. 

The authors argued for a shift towards a more inclusive and supportive health framework that considers diverse body sizes – like HAES! 

If you would like to read more about the research supporting the HAES framework, you can do so here.

How can a weight-inclusive approach improve your health?

This perspective encourages people to engage in health-promoting behaviours like mindful eating and self-care without worrying about specific weight goals.

Removing the focus on weight, this can empower you to make choices based on your individual wellbeing over society’s expectations. 

It may also lead to sustained improvements in various health markers and heart health.

People may become more body-positive as weight-inclusive approaches promote body positivity and self-acceptance. 

Fostering a positive body image is linked to mental health benefits, including reduced risk of eating disorders and improved self-esteem (4)



HAES-based weight-inclusive approaches offer a more comprehensive and compassionate perspective on health. 

By prioritising well-being, reducing stigma, and promoting positive behaviours, these approaches contribute to a more inclusive and sustainable model for improving overall health outcomes.


Written by: Student dietitian Samadi Mallawa

Reviewed by: Imbodi Health dietitian Jade Wrigley

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