By Jami Soukup, LPC, RD, CDWF at Renew Counseling
I love going into a new year with visions of new possibilities. It’s a burst of motivation to review the previous year and set new goals. Many of us may review our careers, finances, relationships, or ourselves. However, in a diet, thin-obsessed culture, many of us tell ourselves that we must change our bodies before we can create anything new. The most common American resolutions pertain to diet, exercise, and weight loss. We know that few actually keep them all year and many have failed by the start of February. We then blame a lack of willpower, or maybe even a character defect in ourselves, that prevents the ability to change. Weight loss diets are a multi-billion dollar industry, yet we blame and shame ourselves and not the product. This reinforces the already present shame stories of unworthiness.
We are hardwired for connection. It is no wonder why we struggle with food and body when being thin has become such a perceived pre-requisite for being acceptable or loveable.
I will be worthy when I lose XX pounds.
I will go on a date when I lose XX pounds.
I will land that new job when I lose XX pounds.
The thing is, worthiness does not have prerequisites. You are worthy of love and belonging now. As – you – are. Shame and blame are not motivators to feel your best. We can change our relationship with our body when we love and appreciate ourselves enough to feel our best.
When behaviors surrounding food become extreme, it is then classified as an eating disorder, but often the patterns have begun much earlier. Disordered eating occurs on a spectrum and the majority of people experience a struggle with food on some level throughout their life. Millions of people struggle with clinical eating disorders. Eating disorders do not discriminate and affect people of all ages, gender, racial/ethnic background, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientations.
National Eating Disorders Awareness week is Feb 24 – March 1 and this year’s theme is Come as You Are. It doesn’t matter whether you fit the criteria of an eating disorder, because if eating is affecting your quality of life, you deserve help to feel your best. I encourage you to renew your resolution and explore your relationship with food and body from a place of compassion. Discover the freedom of feeling strength, joy and ease in your body without all the hustle and shame. Showing up can be the hardest part, but there are Licensed Counselors and Registered Dietitians at Renew that want to walk beside you or help find the right fit for you. Call us today at 913-768-6606!