Weight loss is the most common new years resolution. But in my office the other day, I heard a weightless resolution that was music to my ears. “I just want to heal,” she said. “I want to stop wishing I lived in someone else’s body. I want to stop abusing myself with food.”

“You’ve come to the right place, “ I replied with certainty. Most people need a bit more convincing that an internal shift in the way they see and treat their bodies is a more effective way to get healthy than the usual cut-out-carbs-and-get-to-the-gym resolution.

Food plans and exercise strategies don’t fix eating problems because they ignore the underlying cause. We grew up in a culture that taught us to second-guess our perfectly normal bodies before we developed breasts. We were sold on the conflicting virtues of weight watching and comfort eating. We became adults who feel anxious about our bodies, mistrust our hunger and are addicted to forbidden fruit.

We should stop worrying about the calories in food and start healing the toxic body insecurity and mistrust that perpetuates unhealthy eating habits.

“I’m too fat”,
“My body is disgusting”,
“If it eat that, I’ll never stop”,
“I can’t have cookies in my house”,
“I’m not worth it”

We talk to ourselves this way because we hope it will keep us in control. But it actually makes us hungry. Starved of self-love and inner peace, we are far more likely to go to food for comfort. Void of self-trust, we work against our bodies instead of in sync with our innate weight regulating system. It’s a tragedy.

If only we’d been taught to love ourselves and trust our hunger in the first place, weight problems would be rare. But there is hope. The other day in my office a wise soul shifted her resolve from self-loathing to love and self-care. “I just want to heal,” she said. “I want to stop wishing I lived in someone else’s body. I want to stop abusing myself with food.” She started on a path that will change the old tape that plays in her head. She will cease to believe that she’s fat and lazy and must find the discipline to get to the gym. Instead, she will discover that she is good and has always been. And that is where the magic will happen. Suddenly everything will change.

Want help making the shift into a healthier mindset and body? Join us at Center for Eating Recovery for an 8-Week Eating Psychotherapy Group, Heal the Hungry Brain, or for Repair Your Reflection, our monthly, body image workshop where you will update the lens through which your see your body and start to build body esteem. 

Alison Ross is the founder of Center for Eating Recovery in Agoura Hills, California. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in eating and body image. Alison was inspired to start the Center after healing her relationship with food and her body. Her mission is to help others rise above the obsessive and self-hating diet mentality in our culture to find true health through empowerment, awareness, love and self-care. The Center offers treatment for eating and body image problems across the spectrum including food addiction, binge-eating, emotional overeating, yo-yo dieting, bulimia and anorexia.