14+ Weight Neutral and Health at Every Size Resources for Managing Chronic Illness

Some days, caring for our fat bodies looks exactly like caring for any human body. On other days, we may need a little extra something to carry on.

When it comes to chronic health conditions, though, caring for a fat body can be very different.

Why? Because fat bodies are subject to weight stigma: discrimination against those at higher weights. And weight stigma means that when we try to get help or access resources to care for ourselves, we’re often turned away entirely with admonitions to “just lose weight.”

Since we don’t have an evidence-based method of making larger bodies smaller in the long term — most people will regain all the weight they lost within three years, and two-thirds of them will gain more than they lost — we need real resources that are weight-neutral and help us care for the bodies we have right now.

(And let me be clear: larger bodies are not in themselves ill, diseased or wrong. There are no health conditions that only affect big bodies.)

So what’s a larger-bodied person to do?

Here are over 14 practical resources — including articles, podcasts, support groups and programs — to help you deal with chronic illnesses that are based on scientific evidence and working with your existing, worthy body.

(Looking for resources for diabetes? Check this post.)

Groups, Organizations & Programs

Articles, E-books and Other Resources

1. {Intuitive Eating with a Chronic Condition} Principle #1: Reject the Diet Mentality

“I believed that these small, sustainable changes would help a person “manage” their weight. Yet I can’t tell you how many times I would have someone in my office telling me about what a “good” week they had of watching their portions, avoiding high-calorie foods, drinking water, exercising, etc, only to have their weight stay the same or increase. Then it would become this “game” of, “maybe you gained muscle”, “maybe it’s water weight”, “maybe you’re not measuring your portions properly” or “maybe you’re forgetting to count the times you lick the spoon when you’re cooking.”

The message? You’re doing something “wrong” or you’re not trying hard enough.”

Read more: https://vinccitsui.com/blog/2018/07/iecc-reject-diet-mentality/#.XWnD-ShKiUk

3. FRR 146: Navigating Body Image With Chronic Illness Revisited– With Ivy Felicia

  • Ivy’s story of growing up in a larger body and suffering from PCOS,
  • What is PCOS and how it impacted Ivy’s relationship with her body,
  • Why she looks at “body love” as a relationship, like a marriage,
  • How to choose peace with your body, even when there is frustration and resentment,

Listen to the podcast: https://summerinnanen.com/146/

4. When Healthy Isn’t An Option: How I Learned To Love My Chronically Ill Body

“Despite what I’ve been force-fed by society, losing weight didn’t make me healthy. Not every disease can be cured — not every disease even has a treatment. There is no battle to wage and there is certainly nothing left to control. The only thing to fight is my own cells. And that means there is nothing to fight at all.”

Read more: https://thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/when-healthy-isnt-an-option-how-i-learned-to-love-my-chronically-ill-body

5. Food Psych 177: Intuitive Eating, Chronic Illness, and Breaking Free from The Wellness Diet with Linda Tucker, Health At Every Size Coach

“Linda Tucker joins us to discuss how dieting causes health problems even while purporting to solve them, how diet culture and its new guise as the Wellness Diet twist the definition of self-care and health, how intuitive eating can help with managing a chronic illness, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to handle the feeling that things were just easier in a smaller body.”

Listen to the podcast: http://foodpsych.libsyn.com/177-intuitive-eating-chronic-illness-and-breaking-free-from-the-wellness-diet-with-linda-tucker

6. FRR 115 – Body Positivity & Chronic Conditions – interview with Imogen Fox

“In this episode of Fearless Rebelle Radio, I’m interviewing Imogen Fox, the person behind @the_feeding_of_the_fox.

We talk about what it was like to recover from an eating disorder and navigating body acceptance as a Disabled Person with chronic conditions.”

Listen: https://summerinnanen.com/115/

7. What Does It Mean To Live With A Body That Can’t Be Fixed?

“Forty years after that essay was published, I continue to grapple with its implications — as the daughter of someone with a disability and as someone who has struggled with chronic illness myself, and when reading other people’s experiences of illness. That’s why I welcome three new books that each offer a different prism through which to view sickness and disability. The authors of these books are not merely surviving with chronic conditions, but thriving. Their books counter traditional narratives that equate illness with weakness and women with hysteria by providing complicated, lived contexts in which illness or pain is not the be-all and end-all but, rather, one aspect among many in their lives.”

Read more: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/annaleahy/living-with-chronic-pain-that-cant-be-fixed-ada-limon

8. HAES Medical Nutrition Therapy Handout Set.

Provided by nutritionist Meghan Cichy and Creating Peace with Food, this set of quick, weight-neutral healthcare guides covers:

  • Dyslipidemia/atherosclerosis
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
  • Cancer
  • Celiac disease
  • Constipation
  • Diabetes
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)

Download the entire set.

9. Learning To Love My Sparkly Purple Cane

“Body image with a disability is complicated, whether your disability is visible, invisible, or somewhere in the gray area. I resisted mobility aids for most of my childhood and teen years. I didn’t want a cane, a wheelchair, or a walker to define me or my interactions, and my internalized ableism told me that fitting in (which also, by our society’s standards, for someone assigned female at birth means: white, thin, cisgender, and straight) was more important than accommodating my needs.”

Read more: https://ravishly.com/2017/03/20/learning-love-my-pink-sparkly-cane

10. Intuitive Eating: Enjoy Your Food, Respect Your Body

Chances are you’ve been prescribed a food regimen to help control your blood glucose levels. If you’re like most people, you find it hard to stick with a rigid plan, and if your meal plan excludes certain foods that you like, you mourn the loss of those foods.

Read more: https://lindobacon.com/pdf/BaconMatz_Diabetes_EnjoyingFood.pdf

11. Your health is not your fault.

Your health has way more to do with factors out of your control: genetics, socioeconomic status, childhood trauma than it has to do with anything you have done, are doing or will do.

Read the post here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CD2Yd4oJea6/

12. A Weight Inclusive Guide to… Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)

Your health has way more to do with factors out of your control: genetics, socioeconomic status, childhood trauma than it has to do with anything you have done, are doing or will do.

Read more: https://lcie.gumroad.com/l/xciPS?fbclid=IwAR2_dvHwitbFGwkpDMGehJLXgOkq79HZ7u649RqlWnpFLoz-6NCB23NlesE

13. Intuitive Eating Dietician

The truth is that Intuitive Eating is really helpful for people with diabetes, and the research bears that out.

Consider this study comparing mindful eating and conventional diabetes self-management interventions for diabetes: both were equally helpful at improving blood sugar.

See the full post here: https://www.instagram.com/p/B40BEkoFCAc/

14. The Case for a Health at Every Size Approach for Chronic Disease Risk Reduction in Women of Color

Health At Every Size® health coach and certified intuitive eating counselor Linda Tucker joins us to discuss how dieting causes health problems even while purporting to solve them, how diet culture and its new guise as the Wellness Diet twist the definition of self-care and health, how intuitive eating can help with managing a chronic illness, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about how to handle the feeling that things were just *easier* in a smaller body.

Read full text here: https://www.jneb.org/article/S1499-4046(20)30553-4/fulltext#seccesectitle0001

15. Health At Every Size®-Based Guides for Blame-Free, Shame-Free Explanations of Common Medical Conditions

“When you live in a larger body, you are met with fatphobia and shaming from the very people you are there to receive treatment from. They fail to treat–or take seriously–the symptoms you are concerned with by focusing instead on your body size by suggesting that weight loss is your only treatment option.”

“These sheets were created as a way to give weight-neutral, evidence-based care options for common health conditions.

They are meant to be used by you, the patient, as reference materials to gain knowledge and advocate for yourself and others; and as resources for healthcare practitioners who are interested in creating more inclusive practices by gaining a better understanding of weight-neutral care options.”

Read more: https://haeshealthsheets.com/

Let’s dig deep.

Every Monday, I send out my Body Liberation Guide, a thoughtful email jam-packed with resources for changing the way you see your own body and the bodies you see around you. And it’s free. Let’s change the world together.

Hi there! I'm Lindley. I create artwork that celebrates the unique beauty of bodies that fall outside conventional "beauty" standards at Body Liberation Photography. I'm also the creator of Body Liberation Stock and the Body Love Shop, a curated central resource for body-friendly artwork and products. Find all my work here at bodyliberationphotos.com.