There is a growing body of evidence that says our weight does not matter when it comes to health and longevity.

This goes against the current dominant thinking that weight and BMI is everything and that if it isn’t in the normal range we are at risk for a multitude of diseases.

Health at every size is a movement lead by researcher Linda Bacon, Ph D. Linda’s academic background is in physiology(nutrition), psychology and exercise science.

“Health at every size encourages:

  • Accepting and respecting the natural diversity of body sizes and shapes.
  • Eating in a flexible manner that values pleasure and honors internal cues of hunger, satiety and appetite.
  • Finding the joy of moving one’s body and becoming more physically vital”. (

Respecting and nurturing our bodies, being grateful for what they do for us each day, ending self loathing, dieting cycles and off and on exercise programs is the way forward.

For further information please check out the Health at any size Manifesto or Linda’s website.


Lee is a runner, wannabe triathlete and life coach at Brightside Coaching.

Zoey Dowling

Written by: operationmove

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  1. I think it is really important to look at health separetely from size but I do also think that people sometimes use this as an excuse to not watch what they eat because they are excercising. I like the Christian idea that your body is a temple of god but I prefer to think your body is the temple of you so what you do with it and fuel it with is how it will protect you from the storms. Thanks for the links Lee.

    • Zoey Dowling

      I think that people who eat really poorly don't have insight into how badly the food they eat makes them feel, so there's no motivation to eat better. I also think that sense of self worth comes into it too.

  2. Zoey Dowling

    That's interesting Lee, my husband came home last night and told me about a podcast he'd been listening to and I wonder if it was from the same person - had really similar ideas, and was saying that everyone has a "size" that they are meant to be and although you can starve yourself to get smaller than that size, as soon as you eat normally again you go back to that same size. And of course if you overeat the wrong foods you will be bigger than that size. But we are all meant to be different shapes and sizes. There is not one specific "healthy" body shape/size. There are 4 areas where we can look after our bodies - eat fruit and veg, exercise 3 times a week, don't drink to excess, and don't smoke. Interestingly, her studies showed that as long as a person followed all 4 of those guidelines, whether they were underweight, overweight, or even obese, had little bearing on their life expectancy. So basically skinny doesn't = healthy and vice versa. It really challenges the perceptions of health many people have.

    • There's a clip on TED about that. Sandra Aamodt: Why dieting doesn't usually work Not sure how to put the link here (not tech savvy!) so I'll post on FB.

      • Zoey Dowling

        Thanks for sharing the clip on facebook Kim and Meish. There is so much evidence pointing in this direction now. I personally feel to get down to my upper level BMI that is in the normal range I have to feel hungry. I don't like feeling hungry. I am fit, healthy, why would I allow myself to feel hungry to get down to some number? I have always followed intuitive eating principles and only ever counted calories this year to see if I could lose some weight before I started marathon training. It's back to intuitive eating for me.

  3. I tend to agree that the fixation on weight and BMI needs to be removed but this does not make all fat in your body good fat. Moving is great but we must be aware of toxic fat and what it does and in that respect we need to make sure we do not create large deposits of visceral fat by making sure we have good eating habits. I would argue that the health at every size movement can be dangerous for some people. Have a read of this

    • Zoey Dowling

      The evidence is pointing to the fact that restrictive diets don't work. Skinny, or normal BMI doesn't equate to healthy. It's a range of factors that contribute to a health risk status - genetics, education, socio-economic status, social connectedness, smoking, excessive drinking, exercise and diet. So basically, the introduction of regular exercise to a person of any weight, with or without weight loss greatly improves other health markers such as blood pressure and blood glucose levels. The gist of which is to encourage all people to move more. :)

      • My big issue is eating habits must change if they are really bad - for example if you run to maccas every morning to eat a portion of large fries for morning tea just because you are moving isn't good for you. Not saying peeps should diet but you can make healthy choices and reduce portion sizes to keep the toxic fat in check. Add fruit and veggies into the diet and reduce or limit deep fried stuff for example..

  4. I love this!! Because for me it hits home :) I'm finally realising that the numbers on the scale aren't as important as how I'm feeling and how my moods are changing for the better. And even my eating habits! I can no longer eat as much junk as I like - it makes me feel ill! So even though my scale numbers aren't changing, I'm healthier and happier! Now to spread the word

  5. Zoey Dowling

    As someone who was 20kg lighter and nowhere near as healthy, I've learned that the number on the scales/BMI really doesn't play as big a role in telling us how healthy we are as most 'professionals' would have us believe. I've dropped a dress size in the last 3 months and haven't lost 1kg. I can see the difference in my body but the fat is being replaced by muscle so my weight and BMI haven't changed. I have just knocked at least 1 min off my best 5k time however so I know I'm getting fitter/healthier :D

    • I agree professionals need to focus on waist size not weight/bmi as the primary indicator of fat reduction and also to get the danger signs if the waist is way to big..

      • Zoey Dowling

        Absolutely. My waist size is the thing that got way out of control in the last few years. I think that's a much better way to determine health and fitness!

  6. I personally believe that it all depends in your body fat %. If you can get and keep this within a healthy range (21 to 25% for women and 14 to 18% for men) it shouldn't really matter how much you weigh in kgs. the measurements for BMI are so wrong as they do not factor in how much muscle one person carries (as we all know muscle weighs more than fat). And I know a few people who are "skinny" but have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. It all comes down to what you put in your mouth. 80% is what you eat...