Can you be healthy at any size?

There’s been a lot of discussion in recent weeks around the idea of health at any size – the idea that a person can be technically ‘overweight’ but still healthy.

Recently New Zealand’s first ‘fat studies’ conference was held, in which fat activists aimed to challenge stereotypes about fatness, and curb what they say is discrimination against fat people.

I am not sure if fat discrimination exists to a large extent. You may want to disagree (I’d love to read your comments). But I am interested in the idea that we can be healthy, no matter what our size, and that losing weight to conform to an ideal or a measurement scale is not always the best thing we can do for our health.

In fact, a larger person who eats well and is physically fit can be a good deal healthier than a thin person who is unfit and has a terrible diet. Our senior nutritionist Rose Carr looks at this topic in more detail in the August issue of Healthy Food Guide. She also gives tips on how – no matter what your size – you can work on being the healthiest ‘you’ that you can be.

In that spirit, I’m excited to introduce a new initiative we’re starting this month: Make Every Meal Healthier! This is our challenge, not only to Healthy Food Guide readers, but to all New Zealanders. We want to encourage Kiwis to make small changes to their diets for a healthier life – one meal at a time.

It’s what we do here at Healthy Food Guide all the time, of course. We’re all about making small changes that contribute to a big change in our health over time. For us it’s not about radical or restrictive diets or extreme ways of eating. We think most Kiwis want a common sense approach to health advice, so that means small changes that add up over time to a long-term benefit, whether it’s feeling better, sleeping better, having more energy or, sometimes, losing weight.

So we want to help ordinary Kiwis everywhere make small changes every day. Each month we’ll concentrate on a different theme, and bring you tips, ideas and simple swaps. We’ll also be asking you for your contributions – how you’re making every meal healthier. This month’s theme is recipe makeovers, which you’ll notice we’ve done for every recipe in our August issue.

First published: Jul 2012

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