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Rays Minor League Baseball Road Trip: A guide to North Carolina — Game 3



Rays Minor League Baseball Road Trip: A guide to North Carolina — Game 3

In my initial DRaysBay Blog post titled “Rays Minor League Baseball Road Trip: A guide to North Carolina,” I outlined a plan for Tampa Bay Rays and Durham Bulls fans to see a large number of the Rays’ MLB Top 30 Prospects in action on the field by attending a series of games in North Carolina.

I have been doing that road trip and documenting my baseball travel and the games with additional posts on DRaysBay.

In earlier posts on that blog, I introduced the Tampa Bay Rays top prospects, team offense leaders, and game highlights of the Rays High-A class affiliate, the Bowling Green Hot Rods, in an away game against the Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) at L.P. Frans Stadium in Hickory, NC and an away game of their Low-A affiliate, the Charleston RiverDogs, versus the Kannapolis Cotton Ballers in Kannapolis, NC at Atrium Health Ballpark. My last stop planned for that trip was a Durham Bulls home game.

The Durham Bulls have been the triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays for each of the twenty-three seasons since 1999. Also, Durham, North Carolina is a legendary historic Minor League baseball destination and has been the home of a professional baseball team named the Durham Bulls during ninety-four of the one hundred twenty-two baseball season since 1900. Moreover, the Bulls stadium Durham Bulls Athletic Park, which is better known as the DBAP, is one of the top ranked Minor League ballparks in the country.

The photo above shows the view of the ball field from the seats behind home plate. Looking close at the top of the ballparks high Blue Monster left field wall, you will see one of the most unique attractions found at any Minor League stadium—the Durham Bull’s infamous snorting bull.

This Bull’s origin is from a prop that was added to the Bull’s old ballpark, Durham Athletic Park, for the filming of the movie Bull Durham. When a Bulls player hits a home run, this Bull’s large red eyes blink, tail wags, and puffs of smoke stream out from its nostrils. It also puts on that show after each Durham Bulls home victory.

On Tuesday June 29th, the Bulls started a six game home stand against the Atlanta Braves AAA affiliate, the Gwinnett Stripers. On that day the Durham Bull’s record was 31W:16L and they ranked number 1 among the seven teams in the SouthEast Division of the Triple-A East League.

On their other hand, that day, the Gwinnett Stripers, who are also a member of the SouthEast Division, were 22W:25L and ranked #4. I attended game three of that series on Thursday July 1st. With this post, I complete the review of my road trip travels with a Durham Bulls home game at the DBAP.

Durham Bulls—Tampa Bay Rays MLB Top 30 Prospects

Similar to my findings prior to attending the Bowling Green Hot Rods and Charleston RiverDogs away games, there had been a number of changes to the Tampa Bay Rays MLB Top 30 Prospects on the Durham Bulls roster.

In my original DRaysBay post, which outlined the Tampa Bay Rays North Carolina Minor League baseball road trip, I identified eight players, four pitchers and four field players, who were members of the Bulls roster and ranked among the Rays top 30.

The table above lists the top 30 ranked players on the Bulls roster on the date of the game I attended. That list has just seven players and includes four pitchers and three field players. The changes that took place were that right hand pitcher Shane Baz, (#5 prospect) was promoted to the Bulls from the Rays AA team in the Southern League, the Montgomery Biscuits, on June 15th and then Durham’s #1 prospect, shortstop Wander Franco was promoted to the majors on June 22nd.

Last, left hand pitcher Brendan McKay, who had been on the injured list, was recently assigned to the FCL Rays (Florida Complex League, Rk class) for a rehabilitation stint. Therefore, he could return to the Durham Bulls shortly, if there are no set backs in his recovery. I should also note a number of the remaining members of the list have moved up one notch in their rank: center fielder Josh Lowe to #10, right hand pitcher Joe Ryan to #11, RHP Brent Honeywell to #17, RHP Drew Strotman to #18, and third baseman Kevin Padlo to #21.

Note that the Bulls list includes three of the Rays top 10 prospects. However, now they are second bases/shortstop Vidal Brujan (#2 — and recently promoted), right hand pitcher Shane Baz (#5), and center fielder Josh Lowe (#10).

Three of those field players were in the Bulls starting lineup in the game that I attended: Vidal Brujan started at second base and batted leadoff, Josh Lowe played center field and hit third, Kevin Padlo played third and hit cleanup. However, #17 prospect, right hander Brent Honeywell also made a late innings relief pitching appearance. Finally, two of the current top 30 ranked players, Brent Honeywell and Kevin Padlo, had already made their Major League debut with the Tampa Bay Rays prior to my visit.

Drew Strotman is currently the leader of the Durham Bull’s starting rotation. Strotman pitched for Saint Mary’s College of California prior to entering the 2017 draft. He was selected in the fourth round of that draft by the Tampa Bay Ray; signed to a contract; and that year began his pro career at the short-season class with the Hudson Valley Renegades (New York-Penn League).

For the start of the 2021 season, he made the jump from advanced A class ball (Charlotte Stone Crabs, Florida State League) to the AAA class with the Bulls. At the start of the series with the Gwinnett Stripers, Strotman’s record was 5W:2L in eight starts and he led all members of Durham’s starting rotation in wins, innings pitched, and starts.

Durham Bulls—Team Offense Leaders

The table here lists the leader of the Durham Bulls offense in each of the twelve standard statistic categories listed on the team’s official website prior to the date of game one of their home series against the Gwinnett Stripers on Tuesday, June 29th.

Each of the three field players identified as a team leader in the table is a member of the Tampa Bay Rays MLB Top 30 Prospect, but only second baseman Vidal Brujan (#2 prospect) and center fielder Josh Lowe (#10) are currently members of the Bulls roster. Note from the table that as of the start of the series with the Stripers, Vidal Brujan and Josh Lowe ranked number 1 on the team in four and two stat categories, respectively and were tied for #1 in one of them—home runs. But, the earlier season leader of the Bulls offense was clearly the Tampa Bay Rays #1 prospect switch hitting shortstop Wander Franco.

Franco is an International player from the Dominican Republic that was signed as a free agent by the Tampa Bay Rays in July of 2017 at the age of sixteen. He came stateside in 2018 and made his professional baseball debut at the rookie class with the Princeton Rays in the Appalachian League. For the start of the 2018 season, Franco was promoted to the Rays’ full-season A class team in the Midwest League, the Bowling Green Hot Rods, but after the mid-season all-star break was promoted to their advance A class team in the Florida State League—the Charlotte Stone Crabs.

In 2021, Wander Franco made the jump to the AAA class. On opening day of the new season, he was the Durham Bulls starting shortstop and hit in the number 2 slot in their batting order. He continued to fill those roles for the Bulls until being called up by the Tampa Bay Rays on June 22nd.

When Franco departed, he had already made 177 plate appearances. That should secure him to qualify as a team/leader for AVE, OBP, SLG, or OPS through approximately game 57 of the Triple-A East League season.

In fact, the table shows that on June 29th Wander Franco ranked #1 on the team in seven of those twelve offense statistic categories: hits (51), triples (6), runs batted in (35), batting average (.315), on-base percentage (.367), slugging percentage (.586), and on-base plus slugging percentage (.954). The photo here shows Franco at the plate. On that swing in the inning 1 of a Bulls game versus the Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox) on May 18th, he doubled and later scored run 2 of a 4 run rally. The Durham Bulls won that game by a score of 7-2.

On July 22nd, Wander Franco made his Major League debut in the Tampa Bay Rays uniform. That day, in a Tampa home game at Tropicana Field versus the Boston Red Sox, he started at third base and batted second in the Rays lineup.

Meeting expectations, he had an excellent start at the Major League level. Franco had 2 hits in 4 official at bats and walked in a fifth trip to the plate. In fact, he walked in this first at bat and later in the first inning crossed the plate to score the Rays second run of the inning. Next, in his third trip to the plate he hit a three-run homer to tie the score at 5-all. Then, in his fourth at bat, Franco doubled. But the game remained tied 5-5; went to extra innings, and Tampa lost 9-5 in eleven innings.

On the bright side, in that game Wander Franco’s got his first home run, double, walk, run scored, and run batted in at the Major League level. The next day he moved to shortstop when Tampa’s regular starter at the position, Taylor Walls, went on the 10-day injured list.

Game 3 Highlights

As mentioned earlier, I attended game 3 of the Durham Bull’s six game series at the DBAP versus the Gwinnett Stripers on July 1st. In that game, the Bull’s sent left hander Dietrich Enns to the mounds as their starter. Enns had already made his Major League debut with the Minnesota Twins in 2017 and this year is pitching his first season in the Tampa Bay Rays Minor League organization with the Bulls. That game was his seventh start in ten pitching appearances and prior to that game his record was 2W:1L. Right hander Kyle Wright took the hill for the Stripers and entered the game with a 1W:2L record in eight starts. Wright had already played briefly in the majors for the Braves each season since 2017.

Brett Sullivan

The Durham Bulls got on the scoreboard first. In the bottom of the third innings, they rallied for 3 runs and then in the 4th added a solo run to take a 4-0 lead. With one out in the third, number 8 hitter, shortstop Tristan Gray walked and then moved up to second on a wild pitch.

With two down, the Bulls leadoff hitter, second baseman Vidal Brujan (Tampa’s #2 prospect) walked to put runners on first and second base. That brought Durham’s number 2 hitter, left fielder Brett Sullivan to the plate. He connected on the first pitch delivered by Wright and drove it over the left field wall for a three-run homer. The photo of above shows Sullivan’s swing on which he connected with that home run pitch.

Then, in the bottom of the 4th Durham’s number five batter, first baseman Mike Ford lead off and walked; moved to second base on a ground out, and crossed the plate with run 4 of the game on a two out double by Tristan Gray.

Dietrich Enns

Meanwhile, Dietrich Enns was having an outstanding start. He threw five complete innings of shutout ball. In fact, he pitched 1, 2, 3 first, second, and fifth inning. Overall he allowed just four base runners on three hits and one walk and no runner reached third base. Even more exceptional is that Enns recorded twelve of the fifteen outs over his five inning stretch via the strikeout. When he departed the Durham Bulls had a 4 runs to 0 lead over Gwinnett.

Durham added two insurance runs in the bottom of the 7th inning to extend their lead to 6-0. In that inning, the Bulls number seven hitter, DH Deivy Grullon led off and hit a solo home run over the center field wall. Then, with one down, #9 hitter, catcher Joseph Odom walked; moved to second on a groundout; and later scored run 2 of the inning on an RBI single to right field by #3 hitter, center fielder Josh Lowe (Rays #10 prospect).

Over the last four innings, three Durham Bull’s relievers continued to shut down the Gwinnett Stripers offence. Right hander Louis Head, who took over for Enns in the top of the 6th, threw two scoreless innings and allowed just one base runner, while striking out two Stripers batters. Then, righty reliever Phoenix Sanders threw a 1, 2, 3 eight.

Finally, Tampa Bay Rays #17 prospect Brent Honeywell Jr. came in to close out the game. However, the first batter he face Gwinnett’s #3 hitter Johan Carnargo hit his 3 ball, 2 strike pitch over the right center field wall for a home run. But, then Honeywell shut down the Stripers offense for a Durham Bulls 6-1 victory.

The Bulls star of the day was starting pitcher Dietrich Enns. As highlighted earlier, he threw five shutout innings. His overall pitching line for the day was IP(5), R(0), H(3), BB(1), and SO(12), Enns got the win to increase his record to 3W:1L.


The truth about fast fashion: can you tell how ethical your clothing is by its price?



What is the true cost of a Zara hoodie? In April 2019, David Hachfeld of the Swiss NGO Public Eye, along with a team of researchers and the Clean Clothes Campaign, attempted to find out. They chose to analyse a black, oversized top from Zara’s flagship Join Life sustainability line, which was printed with lyrics made famous by Aretha Franklin: “R-E-S-P-E-C-T: find out what it means to me”. It was an apt choice, because the idea was to work out whether any respect had been paid to the workers involved in the garment’s production, and how much of the hoodie’s average retail price, €26.66 (£22.70), went into their pockets.

This was no simple assignment. It took several people six months, involved badgering Zara’s parent company, Inditex, over email, slowly getting limited information in return, and interviewing dozens of sources on the ground in Izmir, Turkey, where the garment was made. The researchers analysed financial results and trading data, and consulted with experts in pricing and production. It was, Hachfeld says on the phone, with dry understatement, “quite a huge project”.

Their research suggested that the biggest chunk of the hoodie’s retail price – an estimated €10.26 – went back into Zara, to cover retail space and staff wages. The next biggest slice, after VAT at €4.44, was profit for Inditex/Zara, at €4.20. Their research suggested that the textile factory in Izmir received just €1.53 for cutting the material, sewing, packing and attaching the labels, with €1.10 of that being paid to the garment workers for the 30-minute job of putting the hoodie together. The report concluded that workers could not have received anything like a living wage, which the Clean Clothes Campaign defined, at the time the report was released, as a gross hourly wage of €6.19.

When the research was covered by the media at the time, Zara said the report was “based on erroneous premises and inaccurate reporting”, that the €7.76 sourcing price was wrong and that the workers were “paid more than the amounts mentioned in Public Eye’s report”. But at the time and when I contacted Zara for this article, the company declined to set out in greater detail where the research was inaccurate.

Workers in a small garment factory in Istanbul
Workers in a small garment factory in Istanbul. Photograph: NurPhoto/Getty Images

What is clear is that trying to find out the true production cost of a garment is a tortuous and potentially fruitless process – even when assessing a major high street retailer’s flagship “sustainability” line.

Hachfeld points out that Zara is by no means uniquely opaque. It is doing more than many clothing brands and has long-term commitments in place to work towards living wages. “They are launching initiatives and consultations with trade unions. But the question remains: when will they deliver on it?” he says. Vanishingly few retailers guarantee living wages across their vast, complex supply chains. According to the not-for-profit group Fashion Revolution, only two of the world’s 250 largest fashion brands (OVS and Patagonia) disclose how many of their workers are paid a living wage – despite the kind of resources that make billionaires of founders. Forbes estimates that Zara’s founder, Amancio Ortega, is worth $77bn (£55bn) and that H&M’s founder, Stefan Persson, is worth $21.3bn; the Sunday Times puts the wealth of Boohoo’s co-founder, Mahmud Kamani, at £1.4bn.

Throughout fashion, the numbers just don’t add up. High-street clothing has been getting cheaper and cheaper for decades. A major reason why, according to Gordon Renouf, the CEO of the fashion ethics comparison app Good on You, is that so many western brands have “moved from onshore production 40 years ago to larger offshore production”. Often, the countries they have chosen have “much lower wage costs, weaker labour movements and laxer environmental regulations”. Of course, we know all this, but we have also become accustomed to reaping the benefits. Our perception of what clothing should cost – and how much of it we need – has shifted.

In 1970, for example, the average British household spent 7% of its annual income on clothing. This had fallen to 5.9% by 2020. Even though we are spending less proportionally, we tend to own more clothes. According to the UN, the average consumer buys 60% more pieces of clothing – with half the lifespan – than they did 15 years ago. Meanwhile, fashion is getting cheaper: super-fast brands such as Shein (which sells tie-dye crop tops for £1.49) and Alibaba (vest tops for $2.20), have boomed online, making high-street brands look slow-moving and expensive by comparison.

But the correlation between price and ethics is knotty, to say the least. The conversation about sustainable fashion tends to be dominated by expensive designer brands: at Stella McCartney, for example, a wool-cotton jumper costs £925; at Another Tomorrow, each $520 sustainable viscose carbon-offset scarf neck blouse features a QR code in the label that outlines every stage of its “provenance journey”.

On the high street, many who proudly opt out of shopping at Primark or Boohoo for ethical reasons may be unaware that most reassuringly mid-priced brands don’t guarantee workers living wages or produce clothing without using environmentally harmful materials. A garment’s price is often more about aspiration and customer expectation than the cost of production. Hachfeld points out that the Zara hoodie was priced higher in Switzerland (CHF 45.90; €39.57), where Zara is positioned as a mid-range brand, than in Spain (€25.95), where it is perceived as more mainstream and affordable.

Another Tomorrow scar-neck blouse.
‘Provenance journey’ … Another Tomorrow scarf neck blouse.

Online, debates about the price of clothing can get heated. The sustainable-fashion writer Aja Barber, for example, uses the phrase “exploitation prices” to refer to very cheap clothes, such as the 8p bikini offered by the Boohoo brand Pretty Little Thing last autumn. “Either the company or the garment worker is taking the hit, and most likely it’s not the company, because that wouldn’t be a profitable business model,” she says.

Barber has a personal threshold in mind when she buys an item. “Any time a dress is under £50, you really need to break down the labour on it,” she says. “Think about what you get paid hourly – think, could a person make this dress in three hours?” She doesn’t base this calculation on local wages in the global south, either, which are so much lower “because of years of colonialism and oppression”. She buys new clothes infrequently and tries to avoid polyester, which is made with fossil fuels and generally used in garments to make them cheaper.

Barber gets annoyed by the accusations of snobbery that ripple through social media when anyone criticises super-cheap brands. Largely, she says, these comments come from middle-class people “who want to participate in the system and not feel bad about it”. In her view, fast fashion is propped up not by those with very low disposable incomes, but by middle-class overconsumption.

The only way to tell if a garment has been ethically produced is by combing through the details on the manufacturer’s website (although many brands give little or no information) and checking out its rating on Good on You, which compares fashion brands on the basis of their impact on the planet, people and animals. Even among brands that have launched with sustainability as their USP, greenwashing is rife. Renouf warns against those that talk vaguely about being “natural” and “fair”, or bang on about recycled packaging, without giving details about, say, the materials they use or whether they engage with unions in their factories.

For the fashion retailer Sam Mabley, the idea that fashion can be ethical only if it is expensive is a myth. Mabley runs a sustainable fashion store in Bristol; he thought it was a shame that he was selling so many ethical T-shirts at around the £30 price point. Usually, he says, such T-shirts are created in small batches, by “cool indie brands who do printed designs – a lot of the work is in the design”. He decided to invert that business model, ramping up the scale in order to get bigger discounts from suppliers and creating plain, organic cotton, ethically produced Ts in black and white for £7.99. With just a month of social media promotion, he secured 4,000 orders.

A model wears a Yes Friends T-shirt by Sam Mabley
‘Buying power’ … a Yes Friends T-shirt by Sam Mabley.

He believes it would be fairly easy for fast-fashion brands to use their buying power to “drive change for millions of workers around the world” and guarantee their factories paid living wages, without drastically affecting their margins. He is not alone in this view: Jenny Hulme, the head of buying at the sustainable fashion mainstay People Tree, believes ethical production is necessary and possible in every part of the market. “If you order in big volumes, it does reduce price – if a company really wants to improve, it can,” she says.

The reality of high-street clothes shopping is still very far from this ideal. Apart from a few “sustainable” lines produced by the big fast-fashion brands – which I am loath to recommend, because of so many accusations of greenwashing – it is almost impossible to find new, ethical clothing at rock-bottom prices, because the business models that have enabled clothing to get this cheap rely on inexpensive, environmentally damaging fabrics and very low wages.

That may leave anyone wanting to dress ethically on a high-street purse feeling out of options, although Renouf points out that buying better is possible at every budget. That is why, he says, Good on You aims to “provide ratings for as many brands as possible, rather than simply promoting the most sustainable brands”. You could, for example, move from an ultra-rapid fashion brand to a more engaged high-street fast-fashion brand, which might not cost much more, but still could constitute progress.

Buying fewer, but better-quality, items might save you money overall and is the most consistent advice you will hear from fashion campaigners. “Buy the best quality that you can afford, perhaps in end-of-season sales or by buying a thick jumper in the middle of summer to wear the next winter,” says Hulme.

Stepping out of the trend cycle, and avoiding brands that trade on planned obsolescence, is another avenue to explore. For example, Patrick Grant, a judge on the BBC’s The Great British Sewing Bee, explains that his Community Clothing brand aims to give shoppers more bang for their buck by stocking basics rather than continually designing new collections (it also does without retail space and marketing). Working to slimmer margins means he can invest in good fabric, but keep prices fairly low: his £49 hoodies are made from 470g 100% loopback cotton, a thicker, more durable fabric than you might find for a similar price on the high street.

A blazer from ethical brand Lora Gene
A blazer from the ethical brand Lora Gene. Photograph: Lora Gene

For those who can afford mid-high street prices, researching small, sustainable brands might glean results. A quick look at the Zara website today shows silk dresses selling for as much as £199, with plenty of others at £49.99, while H&M-owned &OtherStories sells blazers for about £120; Barber points out that at these prices, shoppers could switch to ethical brands including Lora Gene, for which she has designed a collection, and Ninety Percent. (There is a dress I like the look of for £64 in the Ninety Percent sale; a mustard Lora Gene blazer is £139.)

If those prices are out of reach, swapping clothes, shopping secondhand, repairing and rethinking what you already have, and occasionally renting for special occasions can all be cheaper – even free – alternatives.

Voting with your wallet will only go so far, however, and won’t be possible for many people who are struggling, as the number of people in poverty in the UK soars to 15 million. Questioning the magical thinking of rock-bottom prices is not about blaming the consumer. Instead, you could write to MPs and CEOs and demand that they do something about living wages and the environmental cost of fashion. The responsibility lies with brands, and with the government, which should be held to account for a broken system.

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What Is Health at Every Size (HAES)? The Approach Focuses on Health vs. Weight




What Is Health at Every Size (HAES)? The Approach Focuses on Health vs. Weight
anti diet special report bug

Whenever we go to the doctor’s office — whether it’s for an annual physical or a sore throat— one of the first things we do is step on a scale. For some of us, it’s a fraught moment: Will the number be higher or lower than last time? How will we feel about that? And folks in larger bodies, especially, may wonder: What will my doctor think about that?

In a paper published in 2014, researchers found that 21% of patients with BMIs in the “overweight” and “obese” ranges felt that their doctor “judged them about their weight” — and as a result, they were significantly less likely to trust their doctor or even to return for follow-up care. And research shows that this lack of trust is valid: Doctors are more likely to be biased against patients with high BMIs, and that this impacts the quality of the medical care they receive.

After analyzing audio recordings of 208 patient encounters by 39 primary care physicians, scientists found that doctors established less emotional rapport with their higher weight patients, according to a study published in a 2013 issue of the journal Obesity. Other studies have found that this lack of rapport makes doctors more likely to deem a higher-weight patient as “noncompliant” or “difficult,” often before the exam has even begun. And for women, gender non-conforming folks, people of color and people with low socioeconomic status, a doctor’s weight bias may intersect with other biases and potentially make the situation worse.

Medical weight stigma can have dire consequences. When patients delay healthcare because they’re worried about discrimination, they miss regular screening exams and are more likely to be much sicker by the time doctors do see them, which is one of the reasons why some people assume everyone in a larger body is unhealthy and observe correlations (but not causations) between higher body weight and chronic health conditions that benefit from good preventative healthcare.

At the same time, provider bias can lead doctors to under-treat or misdiagnose their larger patients in all sorts of ways. Patients in larger bodies with eating disorders tend to struggle longer and be sicker when they finally do get treatment, because doctors can ignore their symptoms — or even praise their disordered eating when it results in weight loss. Weight stigma also causes doctors to overlook problems that aren’t about weight. For example, in May 2018, a Canadian woman named Ellen Maud Bennett died only a few days after receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis; in her obituary, her family wrote that Bennett had sought medical care for her symptoms for years, but only ever received weight loss advice.

Because of this mounting evidence about the health consequences of medical anti-fat bias, some providers are starting to shift their medical practices to what’s known as the “Health at Every Size” approach, the purpose of which is to take the focus off a person’s weight, and instead look more holistically at their overall health. Of course, many doctors are still using scales and prescribing weight loss. But the Health at Every Size movement can be a model for health and wellness that you can adopt for yourself, too.

anti diet special report bug

While only a fifth of the 600 respondents in a 2012 survey perceived weight-related judgment from PCPs, they were significantly less likely to report high trust in these doctors.

So, what is Health at Every Size?

Most doctors today approach health through what’s known as the “weight-centric” model, where weight is viewed as one of, if not the, most important marker of health. In the weight-centric model, if the patient is in a larger body, many conditions are treated primarily through the prescription of weight loss. Health at Every Size, commonly known as HAES (pronounced “hays”), is an alternative approach, also sometimes referred to as a “weight-inclusive” model of healthcare.

HAES originated in the fat acceptance movement and was further popularized by Lindo Bacon, Ph.D., a weight science research and associate nutritionist at the University of California, Davis, who wrote the book Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight in 2010 and hosts the HAES Community website. “Health at Every Size is the new peace movement,” writes Bacon. “It is an inclusive movement, recognizing that our social characteristics such as our size, race, national origin, sexuality, gender, disability status and other attributes, are assets and acknowledges and challenges the structural and systemic forces that impinge on living well. It also supports people of all sizes in adopting healthy behaviors.” (If you’re interested, more information about the history and philosophy of HAES is available from the Association for Size Diversity and Health.)

HAES-informed practitioners do not routinely weigh patients, or use weight to determine how healthy a person is. Instead, they look at other biomarkers, like blood pressure and cholesterol levels, to assess physiological health. And they consider how various social, economic and environmental factors in a person’s life impact their ability to pursue health. Translation: Instead of assuming you’re lazy or uninformed if you aren’t exercising or eating vegetables, a HAES-aligned doctor will ask about your schedule, responsibilities and priorities, to see what kind of barriers you face to adopting a regular workout routine. And they’ll take into consideration whether or not you live near a grocery store, have time to cook, or can otherwise easily access healthier food.

This doesn’t mean a HAES provider won’t ever encourage you to be more active or change your eating habits; it means they’ll only recommend changes that are attainable and realistic for you. And, most crucially, they won’t be telling you to do these things to lose weight. In the HAES model, weight loss is never a goal of treatment because your body is never viewed as a problem to be solved. You have the right to pursue health in the body you have, rather than waiting for that body to change in order to be deemed healthy.

But isn’t it unhealthy to be fat?

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not inherently unhealthy to be fat. Research shows that the relationship between weight and health is much less clear-cut than we’re often told. Weight may be a correlating factor in health conditions like diabetes and heart disease, but scientists haven’t been able to prove that a high body weight causes such diseases. In some cases it may contribute, or it may be simply another symptom of a different root cause. (Consider how smoking can cause both lung cancer and yellow teeth — but nobody assumes that yellow teeth cause lung cancer.)

In fact, weighing more can actually protect you against certain health problems, including osteoporosis and some kinds of cancer. Heart surgery patients with higher BMIs also tend to have better survival rates than their thinner counterparts. The fact that a high body weight actually helps you survive major illness could explain why overweight and low-obese BMIs have the overall lowest risk of dying compared to other weight categories, according to data first published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2005. In short, it is absolutely possible to be fat and fit.

Even if you live in a larger body and do have health conditions often assumed to be weight-linked, there is good evidence that you can treat those problems and improve your health without pursuing weight loss. In a 2012 GFN of almost 12,000 adults, researchers found that lifestyle habits were a better predictor of mortality than BMI because regardless of their weight class, people lived longer when they practiced healthy habits like not smoking, drinking alcohol in moderation, eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily and exercising 12 or more times per month.

That’s good news because despite how often doctors prescribe it, we don’t have a safe and durable way for most people to lose significant amounts of weight. That’s because our bodies are programmed to fight weight loss, for our own good. According to an evidence review of common commercial weight loss protocols first published in 2007, and later updated in 2013: People lose some weight in the first nine to 12 months of any diet, but over the next two to five years, they gain back all but an average of 2.1 pounds. And dieting and “weight cycling” in this way can increase your risk for disordered eating and other health problems.

anti diet special report bug

In a University of South Carolina study, all of the men and women followed over the course of 170 months benefited from the adoption of healthy habits, no matter their size.

How do I practice HAES — and how do I get my doctor on board?

Practicing Health at Every Size will look different for everyone, because that’s part of its beauty: You get to decide your own health priorities and can focus on the goals that are accessible and realistic for your life, rather than following a doctor’s “one size fits all” approach to health. But there is one universal tenet: Your weight is no longer part of the conversation. That might mean that you ditch your scale, stop dieting and exercising for weight loss, start to explore intuitive eating and joyful movement — or all of the above.

But while there is growing awareness of HAES in the medical community, it is not the default approach in most healthcare offices. To find doctors or other practitioners in your area who identify as HAES-aligned, you can start by checking the HAES provider directory. But if not, it may be possible to have a productive conversation with your current doctor about why you’d like to take the focus off your weight. One simple way to set this boundary is to decline to be weighed at the start of the visit.

You may worry that the doctor’s office won’t allow you to skip the routine weigh-in, but you have a right to refuse to be weighed, says Dana Sturtevent, R.D., a dietitian and co-founder of Be Nourished, a nonprofit organization in Portland, Oregon, which offers workshops, retreats and e-courses for healthcare providers on how to offer trauma-informed and weight-inclusive care. “This can be a very real and potentially vulnerable step towards self-care,” she says. If your doctor objects, you can ask: “How will this information be used?” There are times when a weight is medically necessary, such as when it’s needed to determine the correct dosing of certain medication. If that’s the case, you can ask to be weighed with your back turned to the scale so you can’t see the number. But if you’re told it’s routine or that they just need to write it down for insurance purposes, you can ask that they write “patient declined” instead.

It can also help to give your doctor a heads up that you would prefer not to discuss weight or weight loss at your appointment. If you feel anxious about bringing this up in the exam room, you can download this letter, created by HAES providers Louise Metz, MD., and Anna Lutz, R.D., to send ahead or give to the nurse who takes your vitals at the start of the appointment. Dr. Metz has also collaborated with health coaches Ragen Chastain and Tiana Dodson to create the HAES Health Sheets Library, which contains downloadable fact sheets on how to treat conditions commonly linked to weight from a HAES perspective.

If your doctor persists in a weight-focused approach to your care, remember that you have the right to switch providers. But more importantly: “Remember that you are not required to be a certain weight in order to be worth of love, respect, belonging or decent medical care,” says Sturtevent. “Your body is your body.”

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9 Amazon Fashion Brands You Need to Be Shopping



9 Amazon Fashion Brands You Need to Be Shopping

You’re already well-acquainted with Amazon as your shopping preference for everything from household products to books, tech accessories to groceries. But since 2017 one of the world’s largest retail marketplaces has made a pointed effort to expand past their traditional stock. In less than four years, Amazon has introduced dozens of in-house fashion brands, making their mark on the style world in the process. (And with free speedy shipping on most Amazon Prime items, there’s never been an easier way to do a spot of last-minute shopping).

We’ve gathered the nine standout Amazon fashion brands you need to know below. Whether you’re looking to refresh your underwear drawer, update your closet with some trend-focused finds, or simply add a few wardrobe essentials, the mega-retailer is literally your one-stop destination.

Core 10

What it is: High-quality workout-wear with tons of amazing reviews

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If you’re looking for affordable activewear that performs just as well as brands three times the price, Core 10 is your answer (it comes in extended sizing as well). Sports bras, leggings, shorts, hoodies, and more—it’s got all your workout needs covered.

Highlights include a ’90s-fantastic collaboration with Reebok launched earlier this summer and a “Build your own” legging option. Shoppers can customize their perfect pair with three lengths and three waistband styles, resulting in one shopper saying that they’re the “best leggings [she’s] tried. Hands down.”

Wild Meadow

What it is: Basics with a ’90s feel that all cost less than $30

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Launched this spring, Wild Meadow brings that easy-breezy youthful ’90s vibe and all styles are offered up to a size XXL. The best part? Not a single item costs more than $30, which means you should stock up—ASAP.

In the market for a tie-dye cami dress? A tie-front cropped tee? Still hunting for that perfect slip dress that will take you from day to night with a simple shoe swap? Wild Meadow has you covered with all that and more.

Amazon Essentials

What it is: Non-basic basics that are budget-friendly

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The Amazon Essentials brand includes food, household items—and wardrobe basics. Essentials, yes, but they’re anything but boring. Expect to find everything from floral t-shirt dresses to cozy fleeces, yoga leggings to bathing suits.

It’s affordable—prices are pretty much all under $50, with most under $25—and available in plus sizes. An important-to-know factor that makes this label stand out is how many maternity options there are, should you be in the market. In short, you can curate your entire wardrobe virtually no matter your size, budget, or stage of life.


What it is: Trend-driven closet essentials

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Goodthreads started as a menswear-only Amazon brand but quickly expanded into the womenswear market. This line has a lot of wardrobe essentials, like button-down shirts, chinos, and sundresses, but they’re a bit more fashion-focused than some of Amazon’s other basics go-tos (like Amazon Essentials).

Here, you’ll find cinched-waist midi dresses, tops with subtly ruffled sleeves, and colorfully striped button-downs. The biggest draw, though, is the denim, which is sold in six different silhouettes, showcasing an impressive number of length and wash options. The size range for Goodthreads is XS-XXL on most pieces.

There is

What it is: Everyday underwear and lingerie, plus great swim options

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Amazon’s own lingerie brand offers everything from underwire bras to slinky slips and lace-trimmed thongs. If you’re looking for underwear or sleepwear of any kind, this is your brand.

For casual everyday wear, Mae offers cotton briefs and bras, lacy bralettes, and future go-to t-shirt bras to name a few. If you’re looking for more of a special lingerie moment, consider their wide selection of sexy, flirty sets and separates. The brand has expanded into swim, shapewear, and pajamas, too.

Daily Ritual

What it is: Comfortable basics that go up to 7X

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Daily Ritual is your go-to for comfortable options that look presentable enough for stepping out with friends or running errands. The brand is known for its selection of casual essentials that are anything but basic, and most items are made of a super soft cotton jersey or fleece.

There’s a bit of everything, including puffer jackets for when temps get chilly, but the majority of the pieces focus on classic cotton tees, joggers, and the like. An impressive amount is offered in plus sizes up to 7X, providing real universal appeal. For the shopper who loves to dress simply, stay comfortable, and look put-together, this is the Amazon fashion brand for you.

The Drop

What it is: Limited-edition collections co-created with some of today’s biggest social stars

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Built on the concept of curated, limited-edition capsule collections that are only promised to be available for a quick 30 hours, The Drop is Amazon’s most coveted line. Each collab is designed and curated by a rotating list of bloggers and influencers uniquely catering to their individual style at affordable prices—it’s either pieces they want for their own wardrobe or have developed a signature look around.

Past influencers to participate include Charlotte Groeneveld of The Fashion Guitar, Leonie Hanne of Ohh Couture, Quigley Goode of Officially Quigley, and more. Depending on the influencer, The Drop could include everything from wrap dresses to faux leather pants; teddy bear shearling coats or shackets. You have 30 hours to order originally, but some styles (like the below) make a reappearance.

Cable Stitch

What it is: Classic knitwear silhouettes, updated

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The name literally says it all: Cable Stitch is the Amazon brand to go to if you love a good knitwear moment. Cardigans, pullovers, dresses…you name it. The range will appeal to minimalists and maximalists alike, with classic solid colors and brightly colored stripes in the mix.

When Amazon creates an entire line centered around knitwear, you know they’re going to go big or go home. You can shop an array of the more unconventional knits that are trending (like side-slit midis and puff-sleeve pullovers) as well as basics. Most pieces retail between $20 and $60, though some outliers will exist from season to season.

The Fix

What it is: Stand-out shoes and bags that can upgrade everything in your closet

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Accessory obsessed? You need to know about The Fix. Specializing in the little pieces that make or break a look, this is your shop for all the trendiest footwear and handbags you’ve been coveting since you first saw them explode on the street style scene.

At The Fix, you can shop heels, flats, sandals, and sneakers in a range of head-turning styles. There are certainly no basics here, with every style boasting at least one special detail that makes them stand out from the rest. Whether that’s an ankle strap or chunky heels covered in velvet, special details let you transform your look by swapping in a new accessory.

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