Health At Every Size Naturopathic Doctor
Dr. Kerri Fullerton is a HAES doctor and certified intuitive eating counselor
“Just lose weight” has become a healthcare anthem. But, if you’ve been on the receiving end of that outdated advice, you know it’s not that simple. Research tells us that significant long-term weight loss isn’t possible for the VAST majority of people. Rest assured, as a HAES doctor, you’ll never hear that in my office. Nor will you ever be asked to restrict any foods. My practice is both weight-neutral and anti-diet.
I chose to practice as a Health At Every Size doctor (or HAES doctor for short) in 2015 after 11 years of practice. That was long enough to know firsthand the dangers of focusing on weight and restriction. In 2018, I became a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. Combining these approaches with my naturopathic medical training, I help my patients focus on their health without compromising their sanity or dignity with useless weight-loss advice or dangerous food restriction.
What is a ‘weight-neutral’ approach?
Being weight-neutral means your treatment plan will not include a weight-loss recommendation. You will not be scolded for gaining nor praised for losing. Your weight will only be discussed if it’s medically necessary (which is not very often). This approach is especially welcoming to those who’ve experienced weight stigma and live with conditions like:
|Emotional Eating or Stress Eating||Chronic Dieting and Weight Cycling|
|Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)||Pre-diabetes, Diabetes, or Metabolic Syndrome|
|Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)||Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)|
|Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) or Snoring||Binge Eating Disorder (BED)|
|Anxiety and/or Depression||Stress and/or Fatigue|
What’s it like to work with a HAES doctor?
I offer a free meet-the-doctor visit to see if working together makes sense right now. If we agree that it is, we start with an initial assessment to determine your current health. This includes a 75-90 minutes visit to discuss your past medical history, current concerns, sleep, hormones, stress, routines and nutrition. Laboratory tests may help us determine your current challenges and give you a clear risk assessment in terms of cardiovascular risk and diabetes risk.
Your treatment plan will be customized based on what we learn from the assessment. Treatment options include supplements (herbs, amino acids, vitamins, minerals), lifestyle counselling (routines and habits) and gentle nutritional counselling (consistent with an Intuitive Eating approach). Again, treatment plans will not include weight loss recommendations or restrictive dietary plans.
Follow-up visits are booked depending on what interventions we’re trying. Typically, we follow up every 2-4 weeks until your conditions are stable and then a few times a year to tweak and adjust your plan. If intuitive eating counselling is specifically part of your treatment strategy, then follow-up visits are typically every 2-4 weeks for 6-18 months.
- Weight Inclusivity: it rejects the notion that we can pathologize someone based on their body size. We know that weight alone is not a good indicator of health.
- Health Enhancement: it focuses on improving and equalizing access to information and services. That means including attention to individual physical, economic, social, spiritual, emotional, and other needs.
- Respectful Care: is the acknowledgement of biases and working toward an end to weight discrimination, weight stigma, and weight bias in medial care. We should be addressing socio-economic status, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, and other areas that impact weight stigma, and support environments that address these inequities instead.
- Eating for Well-being: flexible, individualized eating based on hunger, satiety, nutritional needs, and pleasure, rather than any externally regulated eating plan focused on weight control.
- Life-Enhancing Movement: encourage physical activities that are enjoyable movement (at any size or for any ability), to the degree that you choose.
For more information, you can check out the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) website at asdah.org.
Please note: Naturopathic services are only available to residents of the Province of Ontario. If you live outside of the Province of Ontario, intuitive eating coaching programs are available. Book a Connection Call