What I've been chewing on lately...

August 16, 2012
The Well-Fed Woman: Dr. Linda Bacon


10 years ago, when I began my journey to understand how we relate to our hungers, I was introduced to a then budding paradigm called Health at Every Size. This “belief system”, abbreviated as HAES, bucks the dominant view that weightloss and dieting are the path to health and happiness, instead offering intuitive eating and pleasurable physical activity as a more successful route. I’m thrilled that HAES is now back by solid scientific research and is increasingly considered the best approach to well-being and weight.

Leading the charge is Dr. Linda Bacon who pioneered some of the research that supports HAES and authored the book Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight. If you want a basic primer on the tenets of HAES, Dr. Bacon has written an excellent (and free) manifesto that you can check out HERE.

Oh and if you’re interested in bringing the HAES approach to parents and young people check out The Body Positive.

I like fantasize sometimes about a high council of Well-Fed Women (think Knights of the Round Table) that brings together the leaders and lighting rods of this community. Let it be know, at least in my fantasy, I’ve saved Dr. Bacon a special seat at the table.


Linda, what are you TRULY hungry for?

I am hungry for a world which values diversity and treats all bodies with respect.

What’s a craving you previously denied that you now happily satisfy? How has this impacted you?

Ice cream! I used to believe that ice cream was fattening, and that it stood between me, the body I wanted, and all the other good things I thought would come along with that body. Boy, was that loaded. I’m sure you can imagine what those ideas did to my ability to actually enjoy the ice cream! No longer buying into the value of dietary control, the belief that certain foods are “bad” and should be avoided, my own fears of being fat, and having confronted a host of other damaging myths has been tremendously freeing. Ironically, giving up on these ideas about dieting and weight loss helped me to settle into a comfortable weight, something I never achieved when I was resisting my ice cream craving.

What comes through you with ease, meaning, and spark? What are you conduit for?

These days, it’s words.  They’re just flowing out of me faster than I can keyboard. I’m enjoying jamming out another book.  It builds on the ideas of my previous book, Health at Every Size. It’s tentatively called Eat Well: For Your Self and the World, kind of a manifesto for cutting neurosis from our daily diets and, in the process, improving our health and the health of our world. It includes an in-depth look at nutrition, including the science and politics of food.

Favorite bite in recent memory?

I’ll get literal here again and talk about food because I just spent the afternoon making arancini.  Came out amazing.  Arancini, at least my version, are risotta/saffron/cheese balls that I toss in panko (bread crumbs) and bake, and then serve on a marinara sauce with fresh basil.  A perfect complement to roasted asparagus. I’ve been sampling along the way, but I’m trying to show some restraint until my family comes home for dinner. Not easy.