Monday 22 August 2022

Holding Lindo Bacon Accountable for Repeated Harm in the Fat Liberation & HAES® Communities

To our valued Fat Liberation & HAES® Communities:

Six months ago, Dr. Lindo Bacon reached out to the ASDAH Leadership Team about their intent to write a revised Health at Every Size® Book. What transpired has caused a great deal of harm and a heavy burden of emotional labor for our team.

While we have grappled with the specifics of how to respond over the last few months, Marquisele Mercedes’ recent account of her experience with Lindo illuminated that Lindo’s harmful actions were a pattern in the greater community. This knowledge has catalyzed our response. We are in solidarity with Marquisele and others who have experienced harm caused by Lindo.

We want to provide transparency about the conversations and context around our decisions as the ASDAH Leadership Team. 

In September of 2021, Lindo reached out to Veronica Garnett, ASDAH’s Vision & Strategy Leader, outlining their plan to revise their book titled Health at Every Size. Lindo asked if we had any concerns or feedback on this project. Below are the email exchanges between Lindo and the ASDAH Leadership team. Our summary, analysis, and next steps follow the email communications.


Lindo’s first email 9/16/2021

To the ASDAH Leadership:

Hi. As you know, its disturbing to me – and perhaps to you – that my book entitled HAES is sometimes people’s first introduction to HAES, though it introduces an antiquated version of HAES. As I wrote on my website: “As proud as I am of the book, I’m also aware of some of its shortcomings, including some of the ways in which it transmits my unexamined privilege and does damage.” I would like to write an updated (15th anniversary!) version, to be published in 2023, so that I don’t continue to do this damage and I’m able to put out a more modern perspective.

Before I dive into this project, I want to run it by you. I want to know if there are any concerns or anything you want to discuss. It’s important to me to include acknowledgement, as I did in my previous books, that it’s not a definitive version of HAES and that I’m not the founder of HAES. I think the earlier editions were quite successful at getting HAES on the map, and that this next edition would further that and also serve to bring attention to ASDAH and expand ASDAH’s reach. Perhaps ASDAH would consider writing a forward, though I don’t need a commitment at this point.

Here, for example, is what I did previously, and in this version I’d want to update these concepts to point people towards ASDAH as a defining organization.

From Body Respect: “HAES is an entirely hopeful, helpful doctrine. And it belongs not to a single author, but to a large and growing cohort of people, lay and professional, who are bound by their mutual desire for respect and equality and by their challenge of commonly held assumptions about fat.”

Or what I wrote in the original HAES book, in the section entitled “COMMUNITY ACKNOWLEDGMENT.”

The concept of Health at Every Size has a long history that predates me and includes many diverse viewpoints. I am grateful to the pioneers who helped us envision the possibilities of a paradigm shift and to the many other freedom fighters who continue to conceptualize and grow the movement to this day.

Choosing a book title was a conflicted process. As I intended to bring attention to the Health at Every Size movement and share my perspective on it, the main title “Health at Every Size” was a natural option. The first edition of the book has been out for a year now, and I’m thrilled to feel successful in both aspects. The downside to using the words in my title, however, is that it may give off the impression that this is THE treatise on Health at Every Size, and the only way to articulate the movement. It’s not. There are many divergent viewpoints within the Health at Every Size movement and this book represents my perspective.”

Do you have any thoughts about me going forward on this project? I’m happy to discuss anything, and available by email or zoom.

The publisher is looking for a commitment from me as soon as possible. I’m going to hold off until I hear from you.




Lindo follow up 9/21/2021

Sent to ani only (ani is white)

Hi Ani,

Hope you’re doing well. Things good here. I sent a couple emails to Veronica and never heard back. I asked her to confirm receipt and didn’t hear back on that either. About to forward them to you; I’m sure you can take care of them.

Sorry not more personal, I’m in total get things done mode right now. But I do hope things are good by you.




Veronica’s Response 9/28/2021

Hi Lindo,

Thank you so much for your patience in awaiting a response. I’m only allotted a certain number of hours per week to work on ASDAH stuff and I’ve just not had the capacity to respond until now. Thank you so much for running this by me. I will make sure to share this with the rest of the team and discuss it at our next leadership meeting. I can give you my initial thoughts now.

First off I am so appreciative of the work that you have done to put Health at Every Size® on the map. Your book, which I first learned about over a decade ago during grad school, was my first introduction to HAES®. Despite its limited perspective and shortcomings, your book had a profound impact on my personal and professional life. Since my first introduction to HAES, my own understanding, fat politic, and social justice praxis have grown and evolved immensely. I’m sure yours has too. And so my questions to you are, as an ally or accomplice of social justice movements, had you considered passing this opportunity along to any of the fat, BIPOC, disabled, lower socioeconomic status, etc folks who are doing this work and whose voices need to be centered and uplifted? Had you considered just letting that first HAES book go out of print/publication so that new voices who are deeply impacted by fat hatred could be ushered in? Had you considered other ways you could give up some of your privilege and power in order to create a more equitable and just movement?

If you write this book, regardless of updating it to a modern perspective, you will be perpetuating harm by centering the experience and perspective of a relatively affluent, thin/straight-sized, white person. Sharing this singular perspective of HAES at this moment in history will drown out the voices of those with lived experiences of being fat, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, disabled, etc. Their voices are the divergent viewpoints the world needs to hear. Additionally, if you write this book, it may bring attention to ASDAH, but I doubt it will expand the reach to the communities and people who we want at the center of our work. ASDAH and the larger Health at Every Size movement, historically has been and currently is overwhelmingly white, thin, affluent, and otherwise privileged. If ASDAH is to survive and thrive, to be a leader in this social justice movement, we cannot have more of the same.

With all of that said, I would like to give you a heads up if you will be in attendance at ASDAH’s annual meeting tomorrow. We have been visioning and planning different ways to not only take back the HAES narrative, but to place it in the hands of the most marginalized in our community. Prior to your email, there has been discussion amongst the team about publishing an official HAES by ASDAH book (we will be discussing this during the meeting and providing more context). Would you be willing to do an e-introduction between your publisher and the ASDAH leadership?

I look forward to getting the team’s feedback and discussing this with you further. Moving forward, please contact me at [email redacted], which I’ve cc’d.

Thank you!



ASDAH Annual Meeting 9/29/2021

ASDAH Leadership Team held our annual meeting on 9/29/2021, and Lindo attended the live session and had access to the recording as an ASDAH member. During the Annual Meeting, we outlined our vision for the coming years for ASDAH. Notably, we discussed our vision of revising the Health at Every Size® principles and writing a Health at Every Size® book authored by fat, Black, Brown, neurodiverse, disabled, transgender, and queer activists. We shared a list of people we hoped to work with for this endeavor which included Marquisele Mercedes, Da’Shaun Harrison, Hunter Shackelford, Imani Barbarin, Caleb Luna, Derrick Reyes, Saucye West, and Vanessa Rochelle Lewis. For transparency, we’ve made the recording of that meeting available publicly.


Lindo’s response 10/7/2021

Hi Veronica,

Sorry it has taken so long to respond to your email. 

I’m glad my first book was meaningful for you. The rest of your e-mail did not land well. I’m going to take a pass on responding to your questions or engaging.

I wrote my initial email to you to get more info so I can make the most responsible and respectful decision and I did get what I needed from your response. Thanks. I look forward to hearing opinion from the board as well 

I can connect you with my publisher when you’re ready.



Lindo’s follow up response 10/20/2021

Hi Victoria,

Hope your week is going well. Things are going well here. I’m really enjoying some writing I’m doing now – it’s great to wake up every morning wanting to jump out of bed so I can see what comes next in the research trail.

You had written: “I look forward to getting the team’s feedback and discussing this with you further.”  Do you have a sense of when this might happen? I need to move forward in decision making – my publisher needs this too. It’s always surprising how long it takes to get things to press and there’s a bit of pressure for them to make it happen. This doesn’t have to be formal – I’m just looking to hear what people are thinking, to make sure I’ve considered this from all angles. Different perspectives are good, don’t need a consensus statement. It can also be verbal; perhaps you want to include me for a short time on one of your group calls.

By the way, if you or your team have any questions about publishing, as an insider whose been through it, I’m happy to help out. I think I can offer some insights that can be helpful to you. For example, you thought it was possible for me to give this opportunity to someone else. It’s not. In publishing, opportunities like this are meted out to specific people, not ideas. I don’t want to overstep here and offer unsolicited advice. But do let me know if its ever helpful for you to speak with me more about ASDAH publishing. I think it would be awesome if you could publish the book you want and I’m happy to support ASDAH. I know you think our books would be competitive. Seems like your team isn’t sure of what you want to do, but I can’t imagine any book ASDAH would write that would compete with mine – rather, I think they would be complementary. But I get that you don’t agree with this.

Thanks – I appreciate how much work your role must be. Thanks for your commitment to ASDAH.




Lindo’s email 10/28/2021

Hi Victoria,

I am meeting with my publisher on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of a new edition to my book.  Please let the leadership team know that if anyone has any feedback that may be helpful for me to discuss with my team, I encourage them to get in touch. Thanks.




Lindo’s email 1/18/2022

Hi Veronica,

No response necessary.

I get frequent requests for interviews and speaking gigs and often try to refer them out to others.

Today I got a request that I thought you might be a good match for – it’s a prominent podcast and might be good opp to get the word out about ASDAH and the work that you do. I just referred her to you, giving your email address because her request is time-sensitive (your ASDAH address, not your personal one). I’m not sure if she’ll follow through.

But it made me realize that I don’t have any info about you in my referral database. It’s helpful to have that info on hand because things are often time sensitive and I don’t like to give out people’s contact info without permission. I won’t do that again unless I hear from you that you’re interested.

If you are interested in referrals, it would be helpful for me to know the following:

Would you be interested in receiving referrals for any or all of the below:

Print Interviews

Podcasts or Videos

Speaking gigs

If you want to limit them in any way, like only those that pay or are large audience, let me know that too.

What email address should I give?

If they are looking for a phone #, is it okay to give yours? If so, please let me know your #. 

Thanks. Hope you are well.



Veronica’s response email 3/4/2022

Hi Lindo,

Thank you for your patience in awaiting a response. I’m currently not taking personal business media requests, but I and other folks on the ASDAH team would be happy to speak on behalf of ASDAH in print interviews, podcasts, videos, and speaking gigs. The best way for folks to reach the team regarding media requests is via the contact form on our website ( ) or via email at

Thanks for your consideration.



Leadership Team Letter re: HAES® Book 3/8/2022


Please find attached the ASDAH Leadership Team’s response regarding a revised Health at Every Size® book.

All future correspondence should be sent to me directly.

ani janzen


Attached letter reads:

March 8, 2022

Re: ASDAH Leadership Response to Republishing Health At Every Size® and Addressing Harm Done

To Lindo:

In your initial email correspondence with Veronica, you wrote: “I would like to write an updated (15th anniversary!) version, to be published in 2023, so that I don’t continue to do this damage and I’m able to put out a more modern perspective.” The ASDAH Leadership Team stands behind Veronica’s thoughtful response that publishing an updated version would do harm and damage to the community by continuing to center white, thin voices in the movement. The ASDAH Leadership Team does not approve of or agree with you moving forward with this project.

We at ASDAH, the holder and protector of the Health at Every Size® and HAES® trademarks, are committed to promoting an inclusive vision of Health at Every Size® which centers those most marginalized and harmed by fatphobia and the healthcare system. Your authorship of a revised Health at Every Size® book will cause confusion with ASDAH’s work promoting Health at Every Size®. A Health at Every Size® book will be reasonably interpreted to be ASDAH’s opinions, violating our trademark.

In addition to the potential harm of publishing a HAES® book, we would like to address the harm that has already been done in your interactions with Veronica, the Leadership Team, and the ASDAH community at large. At ASDAH, among the Leadership Team, with our members, and the greater HAES® community, we’re interrogating how white supremacy culture shows up in our work, organizations, and community. In your interactions with Veronica you demonstrated white fragility, white supremacy culture, and performative allyship. We invite you to this brave space, and to recognize that while intentions may be good, harm can and did happen.

Actions That Caused Harm:

  • Calling Veronica by the wrong name multiple times.
  • White fragility. You have stated that you are committed to antiracism. Despite this, when provided with earnest feedback, you have been dismissive and defensive, and have refused to engage in generative discussion.
  • Performative Allyship. By asking for input and then summarily dismissing it, your request for feedback was performative. When you didn’t get the response you wanted, expected, and believed you were owed, you went ahead as planned anyway.
  • White Supremacy culture
    • Sense of urgency – not giving your expected timeline then sending emails asking us to rush and adhere to your timeline.
    • Power hoarding – Choosing to be complicit in the status quo of the publishing industry instead of bringing in and uplifting new voices.
    • Fear of conflict – Dismissing the questions Veronica posed.
    • Individualism – Taking action as if you alone have the power and responsibility to write a book on Health at Every Size®.

This Leadership Team has been generous with our time, talents, and knowledge in responding to your requests with little evidence that you are willing to engage in an accountability process. If you wish to continue to engage in further conversations, we will need to do so as consultants where we are paid for our time.

In closing, we are unequivocally unified in opposing a revised edition of Health at Every Size® written by you. It will do harm and will not uplift the nuanced and inclusive use of our trademark as we intend.


[Leadership Team Signatures followed]

Summary & Analysis

In the exchange above, in Lindo’s engagement with the ASDAH Listserv, and evident through Marquisele Mercedes’ account, Lindo has harmed the community repeatedly, and continues their harmful actions even after multiple fat, Black activists have provided (uncompensated) labor to educate and ask them to do better. Some of the ways Lindo has and continues to harm the HAES® community, especially our fat, Black, and Brown members:

  • Lindo refers frequently to their contribution to the success of HAES® and ASDAH without equal and adequate acknowledgement of the success their book had because of the already existing work of HAES® advocates and fat liberationists.
  • Lindo does not gather community input or help shape the discourse of the future of HAES®. They run their business as an individual for their benefit.
  • Lindo continues to run which supports their hoarding of power in HAES® spaces. This keeps resources in Lindo’s hands and diverts resources away from ASDAH and fat, Black, and Brown advocates.
  • Health at Every Size®, before the trademark and before Lindo wrote a book which appropriated the term for its title, was a community movement, heavily influenced by the 1960’s group called The Fat Underground, other organizations, and more importantly, the many fat, Black women whose ideas were appropriated by white people and ‘formalized’ in white supremecist ways (such as through the written word and founding of “official” organizations which replicate white supremacy and made access impossible by people of color.)
  • When discussions of trademarking HAES® and Health at Every Size® came up as a way to protect the movement from being co-opted by weight loss companies and obesity researchers, the community was vocal about making sure the trademark did not belong to an individual and recommended that ASDAH hold the trademarks to keep the movement community-led.
  • Lindo expressed no intention of including others in authoring the book when they contacted us. Veronica’s first point in her response was whether Lindo had considered including other voices. Lindo dismissed Veronica’s feedback, yet still used her labor to further their individual goals.
  • Lindo’s email initially did not include the elements of our goals for ASDAH presented at the annual meeting. These goals were then reflected in the communications with Marquisele Mercedes, co-opting the vision and leadership of a fat, Black leader and diverse leadership team.
  • Though Lindo knew ASDAH’s goals for Health at Every Size®, they continued to move forward on their book instead of using their resources to support and follow the lead of fat, Black, Brown, disabled, transgender, and queer leaders of ASDAH.
  • Lindo reframed Veronica’s ask for them to step back as “competitive,” a term and concept Veronica did not use in her initial response. Yet, Lindo takes action as if they do see it as a competition, including the many ASDAH resources they are duplicating, including hosting their own HAES® registry and writing their own response to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as if they are the authority on HAES®. Competition shows up as a form of white supremacy in the belief that “if it’s going to be done right, I must do it” and binary thinking.
  • Lindo has not supported ASDAH materially besides the base annual membership fee in recent years.
  • 9/16/21: First email from Lindo
  • 9/28/21: First reply from Veronica
  • 9/29/21: Annual meeting where we shared our goals for ASDAH (Lindo attended the live session):
  • Revising the HAES® Principles
  • Writing a co-authored book by people oppressed and exploited by the HAES® movement and shared our ‘dream team’ including Marquisele Mercedes
  • 10/7/21: Lindo replied dismissing Veronica’s feedback
  • 10/20/21: Lindo’s follow up email
  • 10/28/21: Lindo’s ‘rush’ email
  • November 2021: Lindo reached out to Mikey with revised goals seemingly reflective of Veronica’s feedback (which was dismissed by Lindo) and ASDAH Leadership’s goals for HAES®
  • 1/26/22: ASDAH’s survey to develop the revised HAES® listing went out
  • Early Feb. 2022: ASDAH Leadership drafted letter to Lindo and gathered signatures
  • 2/18/22: Lindo posted on the ASDAH listserv they plan to revamp their listing on
  • 2/22/22 ASDAH wrote a response to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND)
  • 3/7/22 Lindo wrote a response to AND and asked ASDAH Leadership Team to post it on our blog
  • 3/8/22 Mikey shared her experience with Lindo publicly
  • 3/8/22 ASDAH sent Lindo and their publishers a letter stating their disapproval with Lindo pursuing a HAES® book revision


ASDAH has taken action to center Black, fat, and transgender community members in the last two years. We have revised our leadership structure to be less hierarchical. We have allocated funds and committed to paying people for their labor so that people with identities that are exploited could be supported in leading the organization. We have prioritized fat, Black, transgender, queer, and disabled speakers for all educational events and the 2022 conference. We have paid all speakers for their time and expertise. Throughout this, Lindo has been mostly absent besides paying the base membership dues. They have not reached out to the leadership team to offer support, but instead to ask for uncompensated labor, which has diverted resources (time, money, and energy) away from ASDAH’s work.

Why didn’t ASDAH respond sooner to Lindo’s request for a Leadership Team decision?

If you are asking yourself this, take a moment first to consider the white supremacy thinking that leads you to question the timeline of the events over the substance of the interactions. We will, however, provide context for those who are actively unlearning white supremacy and grappling with this.

Lindo did not provide a timeline in which to make this decision. This sense of urgency, not providing concrete information on their desired timeline, and not explaining why rushing was important to them, is a tool of white supremacy culture to force an answer quickly before the responding party has time to fully reflect. While the decision was relatively straightforward for the team, we took time to consider how to communicate this to Lindo, a person we perceived as having power, privilege, and clout that far outweighed the collective power of those on the Leadership Team. After Lindo’s dismissal of Veronica’s thoughtful and gracious feedback, we put the healing and support of Veronica and the team first. During this time period, the majority of the leadership team was uncompensated for their time working on all ASDAH matters including this one. Ensuring survival in our racist, capitalist system and caring for our own families and communities came first.

During this time period, we also took time to meet with our legal team, consider the consequences of our response and actions, and write a thoughtful letter addressing the harm done.

Community Accountability

In our last communication with Lindo, the ASDAH Leadership Team invited Lindo to a community accountability process. We asked Lindo to cover the financial costs of the labor of a facilitator and the team to engage in this process. Lindo has already cost ASDAH considerably financially and emotionally, taking resources away from our advocacy work in the community and causing harm to the team.

Community accountability processes require many things. The first is an existing relationship. Lindo does not have a strong relationship with any individual on the current ASDAH Leadership Team, nor has Lindo supported or participated in ASDAH’s work materially or meaningfully in the recent past. “It can also be dangerous to attempt a process if the people involved do not know each other well or do not know you well.” (Fumbling Towards Repair by Mariame Kaba & Shira Hassan) Engaging in community accountability with Lindo is a risk for our leadership team, which is another reason we’re asking Lindo to financially support this process.

Another requirement of community accountability is that all parties must be willing to engage in the process. “You can’t shame or coerce people into accountability. It doesn’t work. You can invite people to participate in an accountability process. You should not coerce them. You cannot force them.” (Fumbling Towards Repair by Mariame Kaba & Shira Hassan). It is not within the control of ASDAH or the individuals on the leadership team to force a community accountability process with Lindo. We ask our community to avoid demanding or forcing Lindo into an accountability process.

Creating Safety in ASDAH

In order to keep our community safer for fat, Black, and Brown folks in ASDAH spaces, we are setting boundaries as the natural consequence for causing repeated harm. We are revoking Lindo’s membership with ASDAH and disallowing Lindo from attending ASDAH events. We are setting these boundaries knowing that there is always a possibility of restoration and transformation.

It is evident that many if not the majority of people first associate Health at Every Size® with Lindo, and not as an evolving, community-led movement. To allow those most affected by fat hatred to lead HAES® into its next evolution, we ask that Lindo take down the HAES® Pledge Registry and

ASDAH is committed to the on-going work of eradicating white supremacy in our work and communities. In addition to continuing our education on community safety and accountability, we will continue to hold space for social justice development moments. We ask of ourselves and our community to continue to call each other in when we see white supremacy in action.

We are committed to centering and uplifting the most marginalized people in our communities. We invite Black, Brown, fat (especially superfat and larger folks), transgender, and disabled community members to let us know how we can continue making ASDAH a safer place by submitting your feedback to the Leadership Team. 

We know that this conversation will bring up past trauma whether directly or indirectly related to Lindo and Health at Every Size®. We invite you to take care of yourself and each other through social media breaks, getting support from loved ones, and engaging in your favorite restorative activities.

Behind ASDAH are eight humans who care deeply for this community and the work of fat liberation. We ask everyone to honor each other’s collective humanity by showing compassion and grace as our community grieves and heals. Though confronting the patterns of harm in our community is difficult, we grow and strengthen because of it. We have great hope for the future of HAES® and ASDAH and that is because of our incredible community.

With gratitude,

The ASDAH Leadership Team

The post Holding Lindo Bacon Accountable for Repeated Harm in the Fat Liberation & HAES® Communities appeared first on ASDAH.

via healthateverysizeblog

A Letter to Our Health at Every Size® Community on the Proposed Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ HAES® Recommendation

To our valued Health at Every Size® community:

Recently, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) completed a review of Health at Every Size® interventions as part of their Adult Weight Management Guideline that included many fatphobic and weight biased recommendations. One of the proposed recommendations is: 4.6 For adults with overweight or obesity, it is suggested that RDNs or international equivalents not use a Health at Every Size® or Non-Diet approach to improve BMI and other cardiometabolic outcomes or quality of life. (

We want to start by acknowledging the trauma caused by and being reactivated by AND’s actions. We see the frustration of not only the continued violence of recommendations such as these against fat people, but the violence of attempting to discredit Health at Every Size®, which to many of us represents not only a safe(r) path to health and healthcare, but a community where fat people are celebrated.

The actions of AND are not surprising. Dietetics, the concept of health, and the system of healthcare were built on and continue to thrive on fatphobic, racist, ableist, eugenicist and violent beliefs. It is doubly upsetting that their proposal comes during Black History Month. A time when the racist roots of fatphobia should be centered, rather than further promoting ideas that most harm fat Black people.

White supremacy plays a key role in the development of guidelines such as these, as well as in our response to the recommendations. We see it in the way we value the written word, especially when it includes copious citations and rubrics and people with an alphabet of credentials behind their name. None of this makes their guideline the Truth. We see it in the binary thinking, that one must be right and the other must be wrong; that for their adult weight management guidelines to remain correct, they must tear down any ideas that say otherwise. We see it in the urgency to respond immediately. We see it in the white martyr and white savior responses both at AND and in our communities. We see it in the power hoarding because fat people were not at the table. Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color were underrepresented at the table. And the ASDAH and HAES® community was not at the table.

This underscores a reality of our work. While we work to make healthcare less harmful in the now, we ultimately cannot reform a system whose core and foundation is white supremacy.

The review conducted by the AND Adult Weight Management team was limited in many ways. The first and most important of which was conducting an analysis on HAES® as an intervention for Adult Weight Management. As many of you reading this likely already know, the Health at Every Size® principles reflect the research that weight does not need to be “managed”; that pursuit of weight loss is not effective in making fat people thin; nor is the minimal amount of weight lost by most who attempt to do so, sustainable over the long term (i.e. more than 2 years); that there are ways for fat people to improve their health if they choose that do not involve weight loss.

Of the five outcomes they analyzed that make up their recommendation, three of them are antithetical to Health at Every Size® principles (lower BMI, percent weight lost, and smaller waist circumference.) For the two other outcomes (blood pressure and quality of life), only two articles each were included to draw their conclusions. Interestingly, only studies specifically using the term ‘quality of life’ were included. Other studies which included similar measures but used terms like psychological distress were not included in the team’s analysis for quality of life.

Another major limitation of their analysis was that HAES® is a singular intervention, rather than an approach to health that reflects existing research, most of which does not explicitly name Health at Every Size®. Any intervention that improves health markers regardless of weight is part of the HAES® toolkit. The search was limited to papers naming HAES® (or “non-diet”) as their intervention, along with other inclusion criteria such as only including programs overseen by dietitians and only including studies that were limited to fat people.

The result of their search choices, including the mischaracterization of Health at Every Size®, led to the identification of seven total studies included in their review. Despite lacking sufficient evidence to make claims about HAES®, they decided to write a recommendation that HAES® interventions not be used, though none of the studies showed harm, and none of the reported health outcome measures worsened during HAES® interventions.

For example, one of the papers included was designed to measure heart rate recovery time. Their results showed significant improvements in this measure in the HAES® group compared to the control group. This paper was only used in the analysis for BMI as an outcome by the team. Other studies showed improvements in dietary quality, LDL cholesterol, and binge eating. These outcomes were not evaluated and these results were not considered in making the proposed guideline statement.

Events like these remind us why the community elected to trademark Health at Every Size® and HAES®, and why the community chose to have a community-led organization hold the trademark. White supremacy and fatphobia will continue to rise up to discredit our work. HAES® was not created by any one individual and continues to evolve with our community. Likewise, we collectively protect it against efforts like this, by banding together, by remembering that their attempts cannot take away what we have built, as trauma-inducing and violent as they are.

We at ASDAH are proud that the organization has come so far to be able to respond quickly and thoughtfully to events such as these; and we’re even more proud to return to our work of building a new world with liberation for all at the center.


ASDAH Leadership

Read our Open Letter to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on this topic.

Consider supporting ASDAH today with a monthly donation to keep advocacy like this strong. 

The post A Letter to Our Health at Every Size® Community on the Proposed Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ HAES® Recommendation appeared first on ASDAH.

via healthateverysizeblog

An Open Letter to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

To the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Adult Weight Management Evidence Analysis Library team:

We are writing to you as the leaders of the Association of Size Diversity and Health, the organization that holds the Health at Every Size® and HAES® trademarks.

After reviewing the recent proposed recommendation 4.6 of the Adult Weight Management Guideline (For adults with overweight or obesity, it is suggested that RDNs or international equivalents not use a Health at Every Size® or Non-Diet approach to improve BMI and other cardiometabolic outcomes or quality of life (2D)) of the Adult Weight Management Guidelines, we are concerned about its inclusion in the Adult Weight Management Guideline.

The review conducted is based on a mischaracterization of Health at Every Size® (HAES®). First and foremost, the HAES® principles are not intended to assist with three of the outcomes evaluated (reduction in BMI, percent body weight lost, and reduction in waist circumference). HAES® principles reject the use of reduction in BMI, percent body weight lost, and reduction in waist circumference as measures of health based on the current evidence. None of the studies reviewed were designed with the aim to reduce BMI, reduce weight, or reduce waist circumference. It is unsurprising that your review showed weak effects on these three outcome measures, however, it is most concerning that the review and proposed recommendation mischaracterize Health at Every Size®.

Second, Health at Every Size® is not a singular program or approach to health. The principles are a result of extensive and ongoing review and interpretation of the existing evidence on weight and health showing that fat people are not inherently unhealthy and that there are paths to health for fat people that do not center on weight changes. A Health at Every Size® dietitian’s approach to a fat person with a family history of type 2 diabetes who is interested in behavior change to prevent diabetes, for example, might focus on increasing fiber, increasing fruits and vegetables, and increasing physical activity. By only including studies that specified a Health at Every Size® approach, you left out huge components of what the HAES® principles align with, and limited the review to a mere seven studies.

Finally, by making a recommendation that HAES® approaches not be used, it is reasonable to interpret that the review found evidence of harm, which it did not. In fact, no papers were found that included adverse effects in their studies. Further, every paper reviewed showed either improvements or no significant difference in the reported health outcome measures for the HAES® groups. None of the reported outcome measures worsened in the papers your team reviewed. We recognize that there are many unhealthy and extreme weight loss methods in existence, some of which dietitians actively promote, but none of those methods were called out in the recommendations as methods specifically to avoid.

In sum, the review is based on a mischaracterization of Health at Every Size® principles and as such contributes to consumer confusion about HAES®. We ask that you remove the proposed recommendation 4.6 from the Adult Weight Management Guideline. Additionally, we ask that all future statements and reviews regarding Health at Every Size® and HAES® involve the Association for Size Diversity and Health leadership team to ensure the principles are accurately represented.


ASDAH Leadership

This letter was emailed to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on Feb. 22, 2022. 

Read our Letter to the HAES® Community on this topic.

Consider supporting ASDAH today with a monthly donation to keep advocacy like this strong. 

The post An Open Letter to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics appeared first on ASDAH.

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Meet Your Leadership Team Series: Interim Projects & Operations Leader

By Brie Scrivner, PhD, Former Board Member-at-Large and ASDAH Education Blog Coordinator (2020-21)

Welcome to the third of this series where I sit down (have a Zoom call) with members of the ASDAH Leadership Team. We are moving forward and excited about the year ahead.

When I joined leadership as Board Member-at-Large, summer 2020, I was blown away by the people who have come together to form this team. Living in the Deep South, I often feel cut off from some of the cultural movements happening around the US. Having monthly meetings with individuals working to enact positive change in their communities has been inspiring- and not in the generic inspo way, in the (to modify a Madalyn Murray O’Hair quote) “two hands at work do more than a thousand inspirational social media posts ever could.” 

This time, I spoke with Ani Janzen, MPH, RD, who currently serves the board as Interim Projects & Operations Leader and is your former Secretary and former Interim President in 2020.

Note to reader: The following is a transcript of a Zoom interview I did with Ani Janzen on February 18, 2021. It has been edited for length.


Ani Janzen, Brie Scrivner


Happy to be speaking with you. Clearly, I know your name is Ani and use she/they pronouns. I use they/them. So, let’s start at the very beginning. Where are you from? Where did you grow up? 


Yeah, um, I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis. I spent some time in Kansas for school. And then I spent well actually before Kansas, I spent some time in Belgium as an exchange student. 


That’s awesome. What part of Belgium?


I was in Namur, which is the capital of the French side, Wallonia. Brussels is a trilingual city, and English is their third language. And since I was there to learn French, we knew that would probably be a hindrance to me. So, I was placed in Namur and actually lived on a houseboat for the first half of my exchange year, which was really cool. 


Amazing. There’s their third languages, Flemish. 


Yep. Flanders is the other side. And they speak Flemish and they created everything cool that comes out of Belgium. All the great artists and all the great chocolate.


Fantastic. You live in Minneapolis now? What’s it like there? What do you love about it? What do you hate about it? 


I love my city so much. It’s a small town-ish feel. Small city feel, I should say, it doesn’t feel like a small town. But it’s small enough that you can really get to know the communities that you’re in. And we have a great queer community. For a while in the late 90s, we were the third highest per capita, queer city, second to San Francisco and New York, of course, or third to those two. And then, you know, my big passion here is creating fat community. And, we have an awesome fat community. We’ve got lots of connections, we’ve got providers, but we’ve also just got cool stuff happening in the community, a very connected community, we all know each other. And we have a very, we have a strong Facebook group that connects local folks. And so my whole passion is all about working on the local level, and creating change in mostly in the Twin Cities. But Minnesota is my, you know, kind of my service area range, I guess you could say.


That was great. Minnesota is one of the few places I’ve never been. A lot of my colleagues are from Minnesota. And I know a lot of people who go to the universities there. 


Our universities can be a pretty big draw, especially in the health fields, public health or medical schools, etc…and Minnesota doesn’t have any huge tourist draws. So, I think that’s part of why the city feels so homey, is because when you’re here, everyone’s just local, I don’t ever see anybody that I can assume as a tourist, we just don’t have that kind of atmosphere here. So everywhere you go, it just feels like home. Which I really love. 


I have never thought about it like that. Birmingham also isn’t a big tourist destination. I just assume anyone I meet has been here their entire life, except for of course, in the medical school or at the university, and then it’s different. 

So, tell me about your professional life. What are some things you have done? Want to do? Will do- all of it. 


Yeah, I started my nonprofit, Radical Health Alliance, three years ago, while I was still in grad school, finishing my Master’s in Public Health. I became trained as a yoga teacher, which was my own pursuit. I wanted to take a yoga teacher training just for my own benefit to get deeper into what Yoga is. The big philosophy surrounding it so much more than just the Asana or the poses. I kind of fell in love with teaching and I fell in love with teaching fat folks, so pretty quickly after I finished my yoga teacher training, I started offering yoga classes. 

And I knew that this was going to fit under what I wanted my nonprofit to be. My nonprofit, Radical Health Alliance, is improving the health of fat people. So, just kind of prompted me; my classes took off right away, they filled up, there is great demand. It’s been really, really exciting. Immediately, I was like, “Well, I don’t want this money to just sit and be unaccounted for.” So. I created the structure and from there, we built what we have today. We’ve added more programs, we have Fat Girls Hiking, we’re ambassadors for the Fat Girls Hiking organization. We started, right before the pandemic, Rad Fat Biking, which got put on hold. We run Rad Fat Adventure Camp- it’s supposed to be every year, it started in 2019. And of course, that canceled for 2020. And we will be holding off for sure until 2022. It will be an annual thing once COVID is a thing that we can live with safely in our world. So, that’s all the services we do for fat people. That sums up the typical experience of general people who want to come and have fat, fat positive environment, enjoy people who have similar experiences to them, know that there’s not gonna be any weight loss or diet talk and just like be uplifted by being in the presence of people who are in larger bodies and just like love their lives and aren’t disparaging of themselves. 

And on the other side of the organization, we offer trainings, workshops, classes for health professionals. So, part of our mission in improving health for fat people is improving the medical industrial complex of the area. We train providers, we just talked to the U of M med students this week. We do trainings at various organizations; we offer other trainings for anyone who wants to come outside of the organization. 

Our other goal is to really just spread the message of “what does Health at Every Size have to offer? Why is it different? Why might it be better?” We obviously believe those things, but trying to show people the research and ideas that underlie why Health at Every Size is a really great model to use in your healthcare system. So, that’s what we’ve done. 

As we move forward, one of our biggest goals is to create a local provider network so that the local HAES providers know who else is in the area and can offer guidance, and referrals to those folks and feel a little bit more confident and safe in that. We’d like to do some work on size discrimination law here in Minnesota, I’m still kind of seeing where some of the federal efforts are going. And it’s just not a high priority for our legislature right now. We do some workshops that are less movement based, more focused on learning about the Health at Every Size model and fat liberation, and how can you incorporate these ideas into your own ideas of health and wellness? So yeah, we have a lot of fun. 


That’s incredible. I am super impressed. How did you find out about ASDAH? 


I think my very first introduction to it was at the end of Lindo Bacon’s Health at Every Size book where they very clearly lay out like, Okay, you’ve read this book, you want to see what else is out there. Here’s NAAFA. Here’s other stuff that’s going on. So, I think that was my first introduction to the idea that there was an organization out there that had something to do with Health at Every Size. But when I first read the book, I was not a professional in my field yet. I was thinking about these ideas for my own health and well-being. Even though I was on the path to becoming a dietetic student, I knew that was where I wanted to be, but I wasn’t in dietetic courses yet. Then, I kind of followed what ASDAH was doing, and I became a member. I very quickly felt like there wasn’t a lot of fat representation, at least on the current board at that time. I can’t speak for the long history of the board. But at that time, there was almost everyone- eight out of nine folks were in smaller bodies. That really spurred me to say, “well, I really want to make sure that there are voices at this table”. And that’s what prompted me to run for member-at -large for the first time. 


Okay, and how did you end up in your current role? 


Yeah. So, I’m currently the secretary, and this is my sort of second and fourth role on the board. I got elected to Secretary right after my member-at-large term- which is only one year. It’s barely enough to get you going and ramping up in the organization. I felt like I had spent so much time learning and I wanted to use that knowledge to continue to help ASDAH. 

It does take a lot of work to understand the intricacies and nuances of what’s happening in this organization. Not to mention, just like the community at large, we are an international community. So, to really start to understand what all is happening all over the place: it’s a big learning curve. I knew I wanted to continue on the board. I love the secretary position, because it doesn’t have a lot of official duties. Your time is basically accounted for in some of the other positions, because they’re quite intense, how much work they have to do. Secretary isn’t like that. I picked that because I love to do projects. I was a project manager in a former lifetime. I knew I wanted to have flexible time where I could just pick up projects to help ASDAH move forward. That’s why I went for the secretary position and got elected into that one. Then, I served as interim president for four months. It feels like both a very long time and a very small amount of time. That was mid 2020. I’ve transitioned out of that—we don’t use presidents anymore—and I am back at my secretary role for the remainder of this year. 


And we are very glad you are here. I’m always impressed with what you bring to the table. 

If you had access to unlimited resources meaning unlimited money time people, what would you have asked to do? 


Oh my gosh. This is such a huge question. Because I feel like my immediate answers are so small, because they’re more in the realm of possibility. I would have to think, like truly, with all the unlimited resources… 


I mean, we can flip it because my next question is what are three things you’d love for ASDAH in 2021 and so you can start reasonably and then jump off and maybe dream up? 


Okay, yeah. What do I want for ASDAH in 2021? The HAES provider listing is really top of mind. I think it’s top of mind for a lot of our members. 

I would love to see the HAES provider member listing get revamped and relaunched to be better than ever. I want great search functions with a nice look and that are attractive for the people who are using it. I want them to be intuitive so that people can really dig down and search for exactly what they want and need; whether that’s a kind of provider, a US area, a specialty, whatever it might be. I want to create a robust search function that allows users in the general public to find what they need to find. At the same time, serve the folks that are on the listing by making sure that the things that are key to what they provide—whatever that is—whether that’s health care, activism, etc, that they can communicate exactly what they’re doing so that folks can connect to the right people. 

That’s top of mind, I’m excited for strategic planning. I think that while the planning stuff can be really frustrating for some folks, I’ve seen the power of taking a breath, thinking stuff through and really coming up with a strategic plan for how we’re going to move forward. This is my third year on the board and it’s something that I have not seen our board get to do yet. We’ve really had to be in a reactionary mode for a lot of real reasons. And we’ve just kind of had to be like, “Okay, this issue came up, we got to deal with it, this issue” and so on. I think we’re getting to a place where we truly can breathe, look at the big picture, and recalibrate, strategize where we want to go. So, I’m very excited to formulate our next strategic plan. My third thing….I’m excited to see more of the diversity and inclusion trainings that I know are coming out. I’m not directly involved with them. But our diversity and equity director and our education folks are scheming and planning some really cool stuff. So, I’m really excited to see that stuff come out for all of our members and the general public. 


Fantastic. Now that you’ve had very reasonable actionable ideas, do you have any, like reach for the stars ideas?


I think probably one of my, my biggest dreams that is pretty like far off, if we ever go that direction would be to have a real advocacy force in our federal legislature. So, to have a team, essentially, that is creating connections with various positions, legislators in Washington, DC, creating those connections and starting to really make ASDAH a voice in healthcare, legislature, and human rights legislation. I think that would be just so cool. It’s very, very far away off….but putting us on the same level as, like, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics or the American Medical Association, getting us to a place where, like, our voice is at that table would be phenomenal. 


That’s a great answer. Ok, so some fun questions. So, what’s a typical day like for you? 


Hmm, there is no typical day for me. Radical Health Alliance is kind of like my main thing, but it still only takes up about half my time. I do have a dietetic private practice in addition to Radical Health Alliance. So, some days I see clients and some days I don’t. Some days I have lots of classes, and sometimes I don’t. So sometimes I’m teaching yoga, sometimes I’m leading a training for health professionals, sometimes I’m leading a workshop for fat folks just interested in these topics. 

Then, probably the most disheartening to my little activist heart, is that I have to spend a lot of time on email, connecting with people. I came from a community college, before I started this work, and I always thought, “Oh, yeah, like, of course, I’m on email all the time. In that system, there’s 600 employees and when I get into my work where I am the only employee, I’m never gonna have to do email.”

That is just not reality. I do so much email, I get emails all the time, from people wanting to know about various things. Everyday it’s a different question. I think that suits me pretty well, because I really do like variety. I don’t think I could be a full time one-on-one client, dietitian. I think I would burn out fast on that and need something else. When we’re in non-pandemic times, I get to do things like go on hikes with fat folks, and go for bike rides. Once a year, I get to lead a camp, which is literally just the most incredible experience. My days are pretty varied, but usually pretty awesome. It’s great. 


I love the idea of the fat camp. As I got more into like outdoorsy stuff, it’s been very isolating. At least around here, overwhelmingly, the people that you see in rugged outdoor activities are smaller bodied, able bodied, high SES folks. So, you have to really push through that compulsion to constantly self-monitor in order to enjoy it. Being around a bunch of cool, fat people would have just blown my mind. Don’t get me started on biking. Eesh.


Exactly. I mean, these are the real barriers that fat people face is…if you can manage to find a bike that you feel comfortable on, if you can manage to find a trail that is going to meet your ability level, you still are faced with your vulnerability out in the open as a single fat person, an individual fat person doing an activity- even just to your own thoughts, which sucks. I’ve watched people come to our events and they just they open up, you know, they’re laughing, they’re enjoying themselves. They’ve lost that self-conscious rhetoric. It’s like that self-conscious, internal monologue has gone away. And they feel very empowered. Because they’re surrounded by other people who think and look like them. Which is pretty rad. 


Okay, I don’t I don’t mean to turn this into a you know, Brie’s fat liberationist awakening time-


-no, please do. 


For so long. I wanted to canoe. My grandfather was a whitewater canoer and I didn’t even know that that was a thing. But I have pictures of my grandfather standing up in a canoe going through rapids. My older brother, who’s extremely fit and smaller bodied, is also into canoeing. But I always was worried I was too wide for a canoe and that would make me a threat to those around me. Then, a couple years ago, I finally got in one and realized that canoes suit me just fine. I had a blast. It was amazing. And so there I feel like there are so many things like that. That could be an enriching activity for people. How many people simply don’t because they have been told they can’t?


Exactly. I think we’ve seen this, as a movement, on a really big level. We’ve watched yoga become the thing that is available to fat folks, and helps change their minds and change the way they think about their bodies. Now that I’ve gotten to experience it more directly, because kayaking is my favorite activity like in the world, and I never saw another fat kayaker. I was just kind of lucky in that my uncle loves to kayak, he had a really nice kayak with a high weight limit. So, from the time I was 10, I had access to a kayak and I knew what it was like. As my body changed and got bigger, I just kept doing it. I had this level of comfort with it and didn’t need to get over that activation barrier of like, “Well, can I do this? How hard is it going to be? Are there weight limits etc.” Now, I get to see what it’s like for other people to see me doing kayaking. I didn’t know any other fat kayakers before this. Now, in our tiny community, people all over the place are like, “Oh, I want to try kayaking, tell me about it” and because I can so easily tell them about what they should look for and what they should be concerned about ,as fat folks, and what they don’t need to worry about at all—because that is often what it is: they’re worried about something that doesn’t even matter for fat folks. To clear all those barriers out and just show how possible it is. Yeah, we now have like a community of fat kayakers. 


Oh, my God. I can just imagine if I were at the river, and I saw this little flotilla of fat kayakers going by. I’d just fling myself into the river and want to be a part of it. 


Yeah! Come to fat camp next time. We do kayaking and canoeing. 


Oh, fantastic. So, you’re extremely busy. Obviously, you’re a busy person. But for your downtime, do you have a favorite show/movie/book?


Yeah I’ve been reading a lot. I started reading right before the pandemic. I actually read my favorite book ever and it kind of helped me really fall in love with books again. I’ve chased the high of that book, you know, like, when you read something like so good? And then you’re like, I need that again! So, I’ve been reading a lot. I still haven’t found anything quite comparable to this book that I love, which is called Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. It’s a fantasy book about a chosen one who has a vampire roommate. I don’t want to spoil anything, because that’s really the best part about it. There’s a queer love. There’s great diversity and representation amongst the characters. And they kind of flip the chosen one trope on its head. There’s Carry On and then there’s Wayward Son. They actually address a lot of the trauma that happens when you are a chosen one character or would happen to a chosen one character because he’s an 11-year-old who’s thrown into battles with dragons and other various things. The big bad is like The Insidious Humdrum, is what they call it. He has to battle and fight these things from the time he’s 11 to the time he’s 18 and it really traumatizes him and in Wayward Son, they’ve actually dig into mental health and trauma, but it’s all set in this wonderful fantasy world with dragons and vampires and other magical creatures. So yeah, that’s my absolute favorite book. 


I love it. I am a big fantasy nerd. There’s a reason my bookcase is behind me for Zoom calls. So, people see it’s mostly research and reference books. But then, over here [gestures off-screen], is my fiction bookcase. This is an excellent book [holding up Crooked Kingdom].


I’m reading that right now! I just read Six of Crows and like I’m a third of the way through- you will love Carry On! You will love Carry On if you like Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom!


Yeah. Awesome! I could talk about this all day. I so rarely get to nerd out about fantasy books. I get way too excited.

Anyway, what is your 2021 theme song? Or, just what kind of music are you into?


I like a lot of folk music. I’m obsessed with ukuleles and banjos and I just found out that there’s a thing called a banjolele, which is a hybrid between a ukulele and a banjo- which I plan to purchase for myself soon. I like Rufus Wainwright. He just continues to put out really great stuff, and I think I think he released it last year. My theme song for 2021 is “Trouble in Paradise.” It’s just a really, really pretty song. 


Right on. I like to know what kind of music people are into because I’ve met some people for whom music just isn’t a part of their life. It’s just…not a thing. My partner and I are All The Time music people- there’s always music going on. Have to set the soundtrack to your life. 

Well, that brings us to a close. Thank you for giving me your time to get this done. I’m really excited about membership getting to know you all there.

You can find more about Ani’s work at and you can find them via social media @radicalhealthalliance on Instagram and @radicalhealthallianceMN on Facebook

You can find Brie on twitter @bnscrivnerphd and on Instagram @bnscrivner_phd and check out their latest work now available online: Brie Scrivner (2021) Counter hegemonic discourse in a body-inclusive space, Fat Studies, DOI: 10.1080/21604851.2021.1970377  

If you’re interested in submitting a blog post for publication, contact the Education Director at 

Ani Janzen, MPH, RD, is a fat activist and Health at Every Size® advocate in Minneapolis, MN. She is the proud co-founder and co-admin of the fat liberation group, Twin Cities Fat Community, which works to connect fat people through community and activism. She recently founded the Radical Health Alliance, a nonprofit with the mission of championing the multidimensional and weight-inclusive health of fat people in Minnesota. Through education, support, and advocacy, we strive to eliminate weight bias, increase access to health services, and protect people from weight discrimination. Ani has a BS in Dietetics and is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Health Nutrition and her Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credentials. As a fat person and health professional, Ani is most passionate about the intersection of access to healthcare and fat rights. She believes that fat liberation and HAES, though they are different perspectives that aren’t always used in conjunction, are both necessary to effectively create equitable healthcare for fat people. Ani is also currently serving as the Operations and Projects Leader for ASDAH.

Brie Scrivner headshot.Brie Scrivner, PhD is a medical sociologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Their research focuses on anti-fat bias, embodiment, community health, HIV/AIDS, and LGBTQ+ adolescents.

The post Meet Your Leadership Team Series: Interim Projects & Operations Leader appeared first on ASDAH.

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Meet Your Leadership Team Series: Education Committee Chair

By Brie Scrivner, MA, Board Member-at-Large, and ASDAH Education Blog Coordinator

Welcome to the first in a new series where I sit down (have a Zoom call) with members of the ASDAH Leadership Team. It’s been a big year for change and everyone has been hard at work on the strategic plan for ASDAH moving forward.

When I joined leadership as Board Member-at-Large, summer 2020, I was blown away by the people who have come together to form this team. Living in the Deep South, I often feel cut off from some of the cultural movements happening around the US. Having monthly meetings with individuals working to enact positive change in their communities has been inspiring- and not in the generic inspo way, in the (to modify a Madalyn Murray O’Hair quote) “two hands at work do more than a thousand inspirational social media posts ever could.”

The first in the series is a conversation I had with Chelsea Fielder-Jenks, our Education Committee Chair. We spoke immediately after our February Education Committee Meeting.

Note to reader: The following is a transcript of a Zoom interview I did with Chelsea Fielder-Jenks. It has been lightly edited for length and clarity. Mon, 2/8 1-1:30PM • 26:08


Chelsea Fielder-Jenks, Brie Scrivner


Thank you for sharing your time with me. I know, we just had the education committee meeting, which is already an hour out of your day. You know, I’ve been really fortunate that I get to know you all during the monthly Leadership meetings. I thought that it would be a great opportunity for the rest of ASDAH membership to get to know you all, as well. So, let’s get started.

What’s your name and what are your pronouns?


Yes, my name is Chelsea Fielder-Jenks and my pronouns are she/her/hers.


As you know, my name is Brie and I also use she/her/hers.

Let’s start at the beginning. Where are you from? Where’d you grow up?


I was born and raised and still live in Central Texas. I live in Austin now. I got to Austin as soon as I could! I appreciate it’s culture, yummy food, music and events. I’ve always loved Austin, so I had to get here as quick as I could.


Right on, did you go to school in Austin, as well?


I did not actually. I went to school in San Marcos, which is a beautiful small town, south of Austin on a beautiful river. I was fortunate enough to do both my undergrad and grad there on that beautiful campus. So, I lived in San Marcos for most of my college career, and in graduate school I moved to Austin and then commuted.


Well, that leads into this next part, tell me about your professional life. What are some things you do, have done, would like to do?


Oh, gosh, feel like that’s a big question. Because I feel like for me, that’s constantly evolving. So, my answer to this question now will likely change in the future, because that’s just who I am.

I’ve always been somebody who has enjoyed wearing multiple hats – I enjoy doing diverse things. That also shows up in my professional life. I’m a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor, and a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist in private practice. So one of the hats I wear is Therapist, but I’m also a Supervisor and provide supervision for LPC-Associates. I also facilitate workshops and trainings. I enjoy freelance writing. I also find volunteer work rewarding and actively participate in non-profits, like ASDAH. 

I have to keep things fresh for me. Wearing multiple hats allows me to do that and it’s really rewarding to be able to build diverse relationships with folx in my professional life. In the future, I want to continue to grow personally and professionally. I see myself continuing the work I’m doing now, yet continuing to evolve. But, who knows? Maybe I’ll also become an interior designer in two years. Who knows? There’s no way to know. [laughs]


That’s too funny. We just had my partner’s dad, who is a retired contractor and remodeler, come to our house that we just bought. It’s an older house and I’m wanting to turn the basement laundry room into like a laundry/mudroom situation. While listening to the plans, I was like, “you know, I’m extremely handy, I can help you,” and, an hour later, I told my partner, “forget the PhD, I can be a contractor. It’s immediately rewarding and I get to use saws!” So, you know, there’s no telling.


Yeah, no joke. I’m not making this up. I have also been having a similar discussion. You don’t have to include this in the interview. But, yeah, long story short, something happened to the outside of our house that we’ve had to repair and now that has snowballed into, “I’m going to start flipping houses”.

But you know, that’s one day. And then the next day, I’m taking LSAT prep questions online thinking maybe I’ll go to law school. I understand how that goes. [laughs]


That’s fantastic. Always exploring new things. Tell me, how did you find out about ASDAH?


As I’m thinking about it, I think I came across ASDAH years and years ago, when I was first entering into the eating disorder field and learning about Health at Every Size® (HAES®) . That’s how I was introduced to HAES®, through  the eating disorder profession. So, I think I knew about them [ASDAH] and how they supported the health and every size movement and disseminating the principles.

But it didn’t really click with me, like, “Oh my gosh, like, this is an organization that I can be a part of” until, I think it was, was it 2018. Something like that. When I was putting together trainings for local health care professionals, about HAES®, and the importance of size diversity. When putting together that training, I came across ASDAH again, and then this time, it stuck. It really resonated with me. I was like, “Oh my god, these are my people!”

I’m fortunate enough to be in our Austin Community. The clinicians that I work alongside are very like-minded and I have many wonderful HAES® colleagues alongside me here in Austin. But, when it comes to trying to, reach out to those people beyond that little bubble, to all the healthcare professionals, to the larger community,  and things like that – it felt a little daunting.

So, to find this international organization of people who are encouraging one another to think differently about health and who have all this information and research – it’s like, “Okay, this is amazing. Sign me up now!”

That’s exactly what I did, I signed up and joined. And then it wasn’t too long after that, maybe a year or so after that, I saw the call go out to membership to get more involved and to join committees. They had an education chair committee opening and I was like, “Oh my gosh, could I do this? Like this sounds amazing. I get to work alongside all these other amazing people who are doing amazing things. What an amazing opportunity,” and at that time, I was education chair of our local Central Texas Eating Disorder Specialists. I thought, okay, maybe this is the time to take my training wheels off and do this for a bigger organization that has an even bigger reach. So, I applied and was very fortunate to be welcomed on as the education committee chair. So, that’s how I’m here now.


Well, that’s convenient, because I was next about to ask you about what inspired you to seek a role in leadership, but you’ve already done that. So, tell me, if you had access to unlimited resources, just like ridiculous amounts of money, time, people, whatever, what would you have ASDAH do? What are your Big Dream/Impossible Hope ideas? Or maybe even not so impossible?


Yeah. Well, I feel like maybe you’re getting to know me enough now where you know I fantasize a lot about really big ideas. I identify as being a creative person. I’m the one going, “I envision, like we could do this or this, and this,” so, what’s lovely is that I have other folks who can ground me in reality and be like, “okay, Chelsea, here’s what we need to do first”.

When you asked me this question, my mind goes all kinds of places. Oh, my gosh, we could have a brick and mortar community centers where people could come to do non-judgmental HAES® principled movement, or community gatherings, or where amazing HAES® advocates and speakers come in and offer continuing education events in person, or discussion circles and learning circles. And so that’s where my mind goes. But again, you know, maybe we need to start off with just one. One. Somewhere.


Well, so the next question is a little bit more realistic. What are three things you’d love for ASDAH in 2021?


I would love to see us host an amazing webinar. We just like wrapped up our education committee meeting. So, this is like what’s on the brain. But I would love to get a webinar out there. A successful webinar where we have a lot of members join in along with non-members join – that would be amazing. I would love, and you’re doing a wonderful job with getting us there, but regular blog posts, at least monthly, would be a great place to start. That’s what my goals are. That’s what I’m hoping to achieve.


So, how about some fun questions? To be fair, I think they’re fun, but let’s be real- I’m a medical sociologist, so my idea of fun is probably weird. What’s a typical day like for you?


Ha! Um, this is gonna be interesting, because it’s really quite mundane [laughs]. During the week, my day starts off with wrangling children. So, you know, getting my two and four year old up, having breakfast, then negotiating, you know, things like putting on shoes and getting them out the door. And then doing some kind of grounding and centering practices, which often looks like sitting for a little while doing nothing and just taking some deep breaths.

In this stage of my life I find this important because I’m always doing something with the kiddos, or in my practice, or elsewhere.  My days really vary because of those different hats I wear, so it could be days like today, where I’m kind of focusing more on ASDAH things and our meetings, making sure that we’re moving things along in the education committee.

Other days, I’m meeting with clients during the day. Or I’m meeting with my LPC Associates for supervision. Or I’m preparing for upcoming trainings or workshops. I try to balance the day’s to-do’s with breaks by going outside and going for a walk or taking a pause to do my own dance party in the afternoon. An afternoon slump dance party, why not? [laughs] And then usually by that time, it’s time to pick up the kiddos to get dinner started.

Once the kiddos are home, one thing that I’ve realized is that it’s pretty much impossible to do anything else other than just be a mom…and parent, when you have a two and four year old. So, once the kiddos are home, I’m doing whatever we need to do or whatever they want to do. I’m try to prioritize engaging with them. We have dinner, time to play and interact, and then our bedtime routine. And then the evening struggle begins, “should I go to sleep? Or should I do all the other things that I want to do?” Like, you know, binge watch my Netflix show? That struggle is real. [laughs]


Well, what is your favorite show, movie or book? Whatever you enjoy doing?


Yeah, so it really varies greatly. It varies based on the season as far as like television goes, like, “what’s out, what’s new?”

Right now, my husband and I have gone back and we started watching The Sopranos. So, it’s an oldie but goodie and it’s our first introduction to it. So, we’re not rewatching. It’s amazing. But yeah, I really am an avid television show watcher. I could list off all the shows that I watch and love. But that would take too long… I will say that one of my most recent favorite series was The Queen’s Gambit, the mini-series on Netflix. I loved it, I was obsessed, and obsessed still, with it. And then I also enjoy reading. But I do so in a very erratic fashion. Meaning I start one book, get partway through, then get distracted by another book, and then I pick up that book. I’m kind of notorious for picking up one book, starting it and then like, “Oh, I heard this great thing about this other book. Let me just pick up that book,” and then I’ll kind of flip flop back and forth. I do finish them, but it takes many, many returns back.


That’s completely ok! I’m like that with shows. My partner watches a lot of TV and loves it and they’ll try to get me into a show, but I can’t just watch a show because I need to know everything about everything all the time. And so, I’ll watch half an episode then I’m like, “what inspired this? where they film?” and next thing you know, I’m doing a deep dive on the archeology of that area. So, I usually have to watch things on my own bizarre timeline.

Well, what would you say is your 2021 theme song going to be?


Oh, man [big sigh] why is this one so hard for me? Um, so I’ve been kind of obsessed with those amazing Tiktok dance videos that are happening and they’re in V-formation doing amazing dances and okay, oh my gosh, this is like my highest aspiration ever: being in V-formation doing amazing coordinated dances.

So, I’ve been obsessed with this dance troupe. They dance in V-formation to the “Pump It Up” song. I don’t know the actual song title.


I know what you’re talking about. The song. I mean.


That’s…everybody should know what I’m talking about when I say, “you know the Pump It Up song.” I mean, it’s amazing watching them dance to that. So, to try to answer your question, I guess it’s not just a theme song, but that’s the kind of energy that I want to be bringing in to 2021: just gathering in V-formation and dancing in synchrony on beat. [laughs]


That’s fantastic. Well, I hope that you make that happen this year, and also that you record it… 

Do you have anything else that you’d like to add?


I don’t think so. Trying to think…we need more folks! Folks on the Education Committee, so people join us! Please, come.


Yes, absolutely. That’d be amazing.


Like, we need people power. Please join us!


We meet the second Monday of the month at noon. So, if someone wanted to join, or they just wanted to come to a meeting and see how it was, would they just email you?




Okay. Well, I will put your contact information at the bottom of this so people can reach out. And of course, if anyone wants to write a blog, they can send it to me and I’ll put my contact below, as well. Thanks, Chelsea!


You’re welcome. And thank you!


See you next month!

If you’re interested in joining or learning more about ASDAH’s Education Committee, you can email Chelsea Fielder-Jenks, LPC-S, CEDS and ASDAH Education Committee Chair at

The next Education Committee meeting is scheduled for April 12th  at 12pm CST.

If you’re interested in submitting a blog post for publication, email Brie Scrivner at for more information..

Chelsea Fielder-Jenks is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor in private practice in Austin, Texas. Chelsea works with individuals, families, and groups utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and EMDR frameworks. Chelsea is committed to ASDAH’s mission and incorporates HAES® principles throughout the various roles in her life. Chelsea also serves as the Education Chair for Central Texas Eating Disorder Specialists, a HAES-principled non-profit for eating disorder professionals. She is an expert contributor for Eating Disorder Hope and Addiction Hope. She has extensive experience working with adolescents, families, and adults who struggle with eating, substance use, and various co-occurring mental health disorders and has presented at regional, state, and national conferences. You can learn more about Chelsea and her private practice at

Brie Scrivner headshot.Brie Scrivner is a Ph.D. candidate and Southern Regional Education Board Doctoral Scholars Fellow
(2020-21) in the Sociology Department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she teaches courses specializing in sex, gender, and health. Her research interests focus on gender, stigma, embodiment, and feminist methods, with specific emphasis on the roles of fat stigma and oppression in shaping contemporary health discourse.

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Eating Disorders Are An Active Trauma, Not A Maladaptive Coping Strategy

by Danielle B. Grossman, LMFT

‘Binge eating is about using food to numb emotions and stuff feelings.’ 

‘Anorexia is about control.’ 

‘Disordered eating and eating disorders are about acting out self-hate with food.’ 

The narrative that eating disorders are rooted in psychological issues and that people act out with food and  ‘use’ eating disordered behaviors for coping or control was made up by eating disorder theorists decades ago. It did not originate in diverse voices or first-person narratives. It is not supported in scientific research. It is not born from an understanding of trauma and oppression. It has just been around for so long now that it has become internalized as the truth. 

This is a problem. 

People deserve accurate information about their own brains and bodies. While we certainly do not have all the answers about eating disorders, contributions from the fields of neuroscience, neurobiology, trauma, and social justice gives us an emerging clarity. 

An eating disorder is an active trauma. When a person experiences ongoing distress around a fundamental survival need like eating, there is an activation of the nervous system into a heightened survival mode. The distress around eating could occur due to a varied range of stressors. For example, there could be a lack of consistent access to food, negative cultural consequences of eating freely, a medical issue that affects digestion or absorption of nutrients, an embodied anxiety around eating because of the systematic dehumanization of white supremacy and/or a neurobiologically driven terror around food triggered by energy deficit. 

In this active trauma, the brain and body sense ‘there’s a problem with my food situation’. This drives the person’s thoughts and behaviors toward surviving that problem. These survival responses, mediated through the person’s life experiences and genetics, could be avoidance of food, fixation on food, binge eating, continual mental calculations about food and/or compensations around eating like exercise or forced vomiting. 

When we frame eating disorder behaviors as maladaptive coping strategies for psychological problems or life stressors, we pathologize these normal, healthy responses around eating. Even if we frame the narrative in the most compassionate way possible, such as, ‘it makes sense you turned to food to manage your emotions–you were being hurt and oppressed’ the message is still ‘your personal issues are at the root of your eating disorder, you have a pathological problem with food, and you need to work on your thoughts and behaviors.’

In an eating disorder, people are responding just as they should to the distress around eating that they have either fallen into unintentionally or that has been inflicted upon them. Naming their thought and behavior patterns with food as the root of their suffering and the path out of their suffering is wrongful victim blaming and gaslighting. It also sets them up to fail and feel like it’s their fault and that they are inherently broken when they are unable to change their behaviors around food. 

An understanding of eating disorders as an active trauma allows us to move away from these harms. It also allows us to move away from the harms of our narrow focus in eating disorder assessment and treatment. A trauma lens gives us the ability to recognize all who suffer around eating, not just those who fit a certain set of diagnostic criteria or stereotypes. We can ask, ‘who amongst us is likely to experience fear and lack of safety around food?’ and bring those who are currently invisible or at the margins of eating disorder treatment into the center.

This eating disorder as an active trauma framework also helps us to provide effective treatment. We can seek to identify the causes of the person’s distress around eating and do our best to offer the support and resourcing they need to have a way out of the trauma. We can hold space for them when that support or resourcing is not available or sufficient. We can take responsibility to change the oppressive systems that cause suffering around eating.

Of course we continue to work with whole people and attend to all of the feelings or experiences or needs that they bring to the table. Trauma – not just food trauma – can be a vulnerability and perpetuating factor for eating disorders and trauma focused therapies are often needed for those suffering around food. And of course it’s up to the person who is suffering with food to decide how to tell their own story. What needs to change is how clinicians frame and describe eating disorders so that we can move into a narrative that is more accurate, ethical, inclusive and effective.

Danielle B. Grossman, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, has her BA in Ethics, Politics and Economics magna cum laude from Yale University and her MA in Integral Counseling Psychology from the California Institute for Integral Studies. She has twenty years of experience in the field, works virtually for clients throughout California and does consulting for clinicians internationally. Reach out at or learn more at

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First, Do No Harm: The Importance of Removing Weight Stigma from the Pediatrician’s Office

Oona Hanson discusses the challenges of addressing weight stigma in the pediatrician’s office.

Doctors care about their patients and want the best for them. Pediatricians in particular are deeply invested; the care kids receive now can affect their health for decades after graduating to other providers.

The “obesity epidemic” drumbeat, however—codified by American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines and insurance reimbursement practices—has pressured pediatricians to “address weight” despite the risks of weight cycling. Although in 2016 the AAP announced that doctors and families shouldn’t focus on weight, they then launched the Institute for Healthy Childhood Weight.

Some pediatricians, often at a worried parent’s request, still recommend a weight-loss program, an experience that can threaten a child’s wellbeing for years. More often, doctors gently encourage “eating fruits and vegetables” and “getting exercise,” seemingly harmless interventions that in actuality instill morality beliefs around food, exercise, and the “right” way to have a body.

On the surface, these suggestions don’t sound restrictive because the focus is on getting enough of these potentially health-promoting behaviors. But for kids in larger bodies—and those anxious about weight gain—the message is clear: don’t be fat. Diet culture, falsely equating health with thinness and promoting the calories-in/calories-out myth, has warped the connotations of certain foods and activities.

Many people cite a pediatrician’s comment as the catalyst for a life-threatening eating disorder. Others use a doctor’s advice to rationalize disordered behavior as “healthy.” Even those who never go on to develop a full threshold eating disorder can still suffer consequences because we know weight stigma itself is harmful to health.

Although adults are free to decline stepping on the scale, children have different health needs; their physicians rely on growth charts for monitoring development, identifying signs of illness, and prescribing medication. So what are we to do?

Some parents have started presenting notes requesting that weight not be discussed in front of the child; templates and cards are now available online to make this potentially awkward conversation a little easier. These requests, however, don’t challenge a physician’s underlying weight bias. But they could make the doctor’s office a little safer for young people in the meantime.

Health at Every Size® (HAES®) advocate Dr. Gaudiani, who treats people with eating disorders, suggests parents talk to their kids ahead of time about the stigma they might encounter and offers a script to teach kids to dismiss medical weight talk. But there are also risks in telling children they can’t trust their doctors. Having confidence in medical science seems more important than ever, as kids and teens are likely to receive inaccurate and dangerous “health advice” from social media influencers and the internet at large.

The doctor’s office certainly isn’t the only place a child may encounter weight stigma, but pediatricians have a special authority and responsibility when it comes to kids’ health. Uniquely positioned to communicate with parents throughout a child’s development, pediatricians can be powerful forces for educating families about the risks of diet culture.

To get there, we have to remove the barriers preventing doctors from making this paradigm shift. When asked about HAES® and weight-neutral care, physicians tend to be skeptical, at best. With years of training and consistent reinforcement from the weight-cycling industry and the media, many doctors vehemently dismiss the possibility that weight isn’t the enemy.

If we can invite more physicians to approach HAES®-informed research with an open mind–and to approach people’s lived experience with an open heart—it’s possible that young patients and their parents may not have to prepare fearfully for check-ups. Instead, we could count on compassionate, evidence-based care that lays the foundation for a lifetime free from body shame.

Additional Resources:

Oona Hanson, MA, headshot.

Oona Hanson, MA

Oona is an educator and parent coach in Los Angeles. She holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology from California State University Northridge and a Master’s Degree in English from Middlebury College. Helping a child heal from an eating disorder forever changed her understanding of weight stigma. Passionate about protecting kids’ relationship with food and their bodies, Oona runs the public Facebook page “Parenting Without Diet Culture.” She can be found at

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