Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Educational Specialist (EdS)


Department of Graduate Psychology


A. Renee Staton

Amanda Evans

Eric Cowan


Central to the healthcare system in the United States is the belief that weight is an accurate measure of health. This belief, which is the foundation of the Weight Centered Health Paradigm (WCHP), is linked to the proliferation of diets, weight cycling, and weight stigma. However, a growing body of research indicates that higher weight is not necessarily linked to negative health outcomes and that the impact of weight cycling and weight stigma pose far greater risks to health. Counselors and other mental health professionals function within the weight-normative healthcare system in the United States and are faced with the challenge of examining their own weight biases when working with larger-bodied clients. Research supports Health at Every Size (HAES) and Intuitive Eating (IE) models as ways to promote sustainable, holistic, weight-neutral care, and to expand the definition of health. Counselors can integrate HAES and IE congruent messages and practices into their work with clients to reduce the impact of weight stigma, promote client wellbeing, and support a strong working alliance.



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