Association for Size Diversity and Health

Find HAES Expert
Program  Conference 2015

Difficult Conversations: Building Relationships in the HAES® Community and Beyond
July 17-19, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts

 Conference Program*




Opening Remarks

Brave Space
Lisa Marie Alatorre, MA
Lisa Marie will facilitate an interactive and engaging presentation to help ASDAH conference participants set up our Brave Space in order to start unpacking the anti-oppression building blocks that will support our discussions throughout the conference.

Sonya Renee Taylor8:00p-9:00p
Radically Connected: Poems at the Intersection of Bodies
Sonya Renee Taylor

The Association for Size Diversity and Health enthusiastically announces that Sonya Renee Taylor, international award-winning performance artist and founder of The Body Is Not An Apology, will conclude our Friday evening program with an igniting performance, creating the frame for our weekend of HAES® relationship building. 

"Art has a unique gift in its ability to pierce the spirit very directly, and so I think that things that people may understand intellectually begin to move somatically through the tool of artistry. I'm really excited about the idea of providing poetry and hoping that people take concepts and ideas that they have understood in their minds and that they really begin to feel them in their souls."

                    - Sony


Movement Workshop
Rachel Smith, NCC, LPC, CAC II, CYT


Jumpstarting Our Difficult Conversations
Lisa Marie Alatorre, MA
Lisa Marie will start the day by constructing Group Agreements and facilitating a values-based activity to jumpstart the discussions all are ready to have regarding intersectionality, power, and oppression as it relates to ASDAH's work and community.


Creating Change: Mindfully Addressing and Embodying Intersectionality in *Building an Authentic Body Positive Movement
Melanie Klein, MA and Tiina Veer, BA, RMT, RYT
Creating change requires conscious thought and action. Through a feminist and intersectional lens, Melanie Klein and Tiina Veer discuss why body positive organizations and movements must address the intersection of the many forms of inequity, privilege, and power in order to have representation reflecting the full range of human diversity (and how to do that!). This 1 hour workshop combines lecture, discussion and mindfulness exercises.


Addressing Size Dynamics in Academia

Fat Studies and Mental Health: A New Intersectional Lens
Sheila M. Addison, PhD, LMFT
The emerging discipline of Fat Studies, a field exploring social and political impacts of body size, has been largely taught within the humanities. Unlike other
dimensions of diversity, information about body diversity and the impacts of fatphobia and size discrimination are not yet integrated into mental health training programs. Most trainees are not exposed to principles such as Size Acceptance and Health at Every Size for use in their work with clients or their own self-of-therapist work, and therefore lack the tools to challenge cultural mandates about slimness and weight loss efforts, or to help clients who are experiencing weight-based stigma. Clinical training needs to prepare students to address these issues. This workshop will present qualitative research done with clinical psychology doctoral students who took an elective Fat Studies course, exploring the impact the course had on their personal and professional lives. Ideas for integrating Fat Studies principles into training programs alongside other social justice narratives will be presented.

The Challenge of Teaching HAES in a Public Health Curriculum
Friedrich Schorb, PhD
The presentation gives an overview of the discussion within Public Health regarding weight discrimination and the HAES-approach with a special focus on intersectionality. Furthermore it will give insight in the experiences of teaching HAES in a Public Health curriculum at a German university.


Difficult Conversations with Ourselves

Irreconcilable? A Journey from Bariatric Surgery to HAES
Marci Anderson, RD and Susan Tomlinson, PhD
This presentation addresses the conflicts between bariatric surgery and eating disorder recovery. From the perspective of a Registered Dietitian and her client who has undergone bariatric surgery, the presenters will share strategies to move patients from a medical/bariatric paradigm to a HAES/recovery paradigm. Personal experience as well as research and clinical tools to enhance practice will be shared. This presentation does not advocate bariatric surgery but rather thoughtfully investigates the process of skill development with intuitive eating, mindful movement and body trust post-surgery.

The Talk We Avoid: How to Dialogue with the Body around Intuitive Eating, Food Intolerances, and Eating Disorders
Kimber Simpkins
"How do I eat intuitively when I have food allergies?" "Is it possible to eat intuitively, restrict the foods my body won't tolerate, and not retrigger my eating disorder?" In this experiential workshop, I will share my personal story and take participants through a guided meditation to dialogue with the body around these thorny questions of intuitive eating as well as share a written practice of listening and feedback that can help them find their way to a better relationship with their body and reinforce their intuitive eating practice.  These tools can also be used by practitioners with their clients.


Emerging Research

Health at Every Size Trumps Behavioral Weight Loss in Long-term Results of Controlled Trial:  HAES® Research Update
Janell Mensinger, PhD
It is well-known in the Health at Every Size® community that mainstream medicine continues to prescribe weight loss for obesity despite highly controversial evidence surrounding its long-term effectiveness for improving health and well-being.  Long standing biases towards weight-focused treatments for people with higher BMIs call for more rigorous evidence comparing traditional approaches to the Health at Every Size® approach. The present study was a two-year randomized controlled trial examining the health benefits of behavioral weight-loss (BWL) versus a Health at Every Size® (HAES) intervention in women with a body mass index over 30.

Fat and Disabled: The Embodied Experience
Rachel Fox and Nelly Edmonson
We study the intersection of fat phobia and ableism, particularly as it occurs in the medical encounter. This study includes life history interviews with five women who self-identify as fat and disabled or as experts in fat and disability issues. Three broad conclusions are evident thus far: fat and disabled people often experience extreme discrimination from health care providers; fat and disabled individuals often internalize society's negative perceptions of and prejudices against them; and, fat and disabled individuals may also belong to/identify with other marginalized groups, such as queer and/or low socioeconomic status. These intersectional identities often result in inadequate medical care and lower quality of life. The presentation will include an overview of the project and its origins, excerpts from the primary data, current conclusions, and discussion.


Building Relationships With Other Communities
Moderator: Natalie Boero, PhD

"The Club of Strong Friends": A Regional Health Program to Empower Kids and Teens of Every Size
Claudia Koller
While the idea of weight as opposition to health is widely spread in Austria, critical discussions on size discrimination and weight bias don´t seem to take place yet. As one of Austria´s regional non-governmental sport organizations, the SPORTUNION Burgenland wants to take an active stance against these worrying developments. With the project The Club of Strong Friends the organization wants to offer an alternative way on how to conceptualize the promotion of children´s health. The project takes a pioneering role as a health program which combines intersectional awareness, size positivity and weight neutrality. It is a regional intervention located within the most-eastern province of Austria and is intended as a health program to empower kids at every size, regardless of their financial situation or ethnic background. Following the holistic health approach, the project contents are based on the HAES principles and the HAES curriculum.

Size Diversity and Midwifery Advocates: Partners in Delivering Equity in Public Health
Sharon Bernecki DeJoy, PhD, MPH, CPH, CPM
The growing focus on America's "obesity crisis" has led to greater surveillance of women's weight during pregnancy. Recommendations from the Institute of Medicine and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists focus on weight restriction during pregnancy, despite studies that suggest restricting caloric intake does not provide optimal nutrition for the mother or her developing fetus. This presentation will provide a summary of the literature about obesity stigma as applied to pregnancy, and will introduce a conceptual model for how obesity stigma produces poorer health in larger women. It will also provide an overview of the literature exploring the experiences of women of larger size in the maternity care system. An overview of the midwives' model of care, along with the underpinnings of the current direct-entry midwifery movement will be provided. Common goals and philosophy of the size diversity and midwifery movements will be outlined, with a discussion of ways to create synergy to promote the health of women of all sizes.


Health Ain't Always Healing: How Medical Models Miss the Community Mark
Deb Burgard, PhD and Sonya Renee Taylor
Beginning with a comparison between features of the medical model vs. community-based programs, the presenters will discuss differing conceptions of health, well-being, and "disease." Problems of access and awareness of the full range of people's lives and needs, which often do not map neatly into isolated "variables," can sometimes be addressed by working from the community first. We will look at Sonya Renee Taylor's "The Body is Not an Apology" online community and its RUHCUS model (Radically Unapologetic Healing Challenge) as an example community based models for addressing wellness and healing through the lens of intersectionality.  We will explore how using community driven models may serve as an alternative that fosters connection and helps individuals resist dominant definitions of beauty, well-being, and worth as they move toward healing.


Movement workshop

Breakfast on your own

How to Have Difficult Conversations Using Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing and Ambivalence About HAES
Ellen Glovsky, PhD
In this session, we will explore the issue of ambivalence about HAES vs the "obesity" model.  Trying to talk with or convince others, including professionals, clients, and students, that HAES is a better approach than weight loss can be a difficult endeavor. People sometimes respond quite defensively or even with anger or indignation when the HAES model is suggested as an alternative approach to the dominant weight loss paradigm. In other situations, we may find that people mistake HAES for just another treatment modality for "obesity", without realizing the profound dissonance between the two.  Using the spirit and techniques of MI can enhance conversations with others who may not know anything about HAES or are ambivalent or very emotional or defensive about this subject.  MI combines communication and highly refined listening skills with specific techniques that can help others to consider HAES as a new idea, and perhaps to adopt these principles in their own and others' lives.

Looking the Part: Patients' Size-Based Biases Toward Their Practitioners and How to Handle Them
Jonah Soolman, RD, LDN, ACSM-HFS, NSCA-CPT
During the bariatric surgery rotation of my dietetic internship, I met two dietitians of very different body sizes who worked in the clinic. Some patients did not want to work with the larger dietitian. "Look how heavy she is," they would say. "How can she possibly help me?" Meanwhile, other patients were hesitant to meet with her smaller colleague. "Look how tiny she is. How can she possibly understand what it is like to be big like me?" The first phase of the presentation will consist of an overview of the research investigating the biases that patients hold about their practitioners. It will specifically highlight the inconsistencies, thereby leading to the conclusion that while practitioners must be cognizant of the existence of bias, they also must not similarly make assumptions of their own about the content of said bias. The second phase of the presentation will focus on teaching the audience how to use motivational interviewing principles when having with patients the sometimes difficult conversation that addresses the biases they hold about their practitioners, including the extent to which self-disclosure by practitioners may or may not be appropriate.


Families, Health-Care Providers, and Ourselves: How Fat Phobia is an International Phenomenon
Mary Dye, MPH, RD, CDN, LD/N and Karin Lawson, PsyD
This multi-disciplinary clinical workshop features a registered dietitian and clinical psychologist with extensive experience in treatment of the spectrum of eating disorders and co-morbid struggles both in and outside of the United States. One significant focus will be the importance of understanding the trauma of weight stigma and fat phobia, as well as how the constant pursuit of thinness, regardless of body size, can impact one's health and psychological well-being. Presenters will draw on their experience to highlight issues that both hinder and foster implementation of the HAES approach cross-culturally.

Silent Auction Closes

Sowing the Seeds for Body Positivity: Examining the Connections Between Food Justice and HAES
Julie Nowak, MEd
The food justice movement tends to be very separate from the HAES and body positivity movements. These distinguished movements even critique each other, with the local foodies being called out for fat shaming, and the fat activists being critiqued for being classist. Not only do these movements have a lot to learn from each other, but they also intersect in ways that are being overlooked by both sides. This participatory workshop will examine how food (in)justice and (dis)connection from our food sources impacts body image. Using an intersectional and anti--oppressive approach, we will interactively explore structural factors that contribute to our broken food system, to our disconnection from food sources, and to negative body image. We will make links between food justice and HAES/body positivity initiatives, as well as brainstorm how to bring these movements together.

Silent auction winners announced

Learning From Our Past for a Better Future: ASDAH In Review
Claudia Clark, PhD, Fall Ferguson, JD, MA, Deb Lemire, BFA, and Dana Schuster, MS.
As ASDAH seeks to expand the access to, and effectiveness of, the HAES® model in both policy and practice, it is critical to learn from the past. Greater community awareness of where the organization has been seems essential to crafting a positive future, in which ASDAH and the Health At Every Size® approach are increasingly grounded in social justice and intersectional awareness. Much has evolved in healthcare, weight-science and size advocacy since ASDAH's inception in 2003, and both significant mistakes and successes have been realized by the organization over the past twelve years. Each of the past presidents, along with ASDAH's founder, will briefly share the 'lay of the land' at the time they were in the leadership position, including their priorities, key accomplishments, areas for which they received criticism, and what they see as unmet challenges.


Moving Forward Together
ASDAH Board Members (as available)
Lisa Marie Alatorre, MA
A workshop brainstorming and problem solving for the movement's future.

Closing Remarks

*These speakers are confirmed at this time.  Schedule and program are subject to change. Click here to see previews of some of the speakers.

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