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  • Writer's pictureNatasha Lavji

Diets Breed Shame

Updated: May 24, 2023

Anchoridge Counselling - diets breed shame scale measuring weight loss

Walk into a room of ordinary people, and how many people wish they could lose a little weight.

At least half would raise their hands.

Imagine how many are ashamed of their weight. Self-conscious? Angry for having rolls, or a pouch, or large thighs. How many do you think would raise their hand?

Now imagine you ask yourself. Do you raise your hand?

Most dieting is built around the idea that something about our bodies is wrong and needs to be

fixed. It is built on the “not good enough” belief. This is a self-destructive mindset because it is

built on the belief that we are not good enough as we are, which is the foundation of shame.

We are sucked into this shame cycle before we even realize what is going on. Our attitudes

imply “I’m not good enough as I am, so I better change my body so I can finally be accepted”.

And when we attach this shame to our weight, it can lead to certain behaviours, such as over or

under eating, isolation, a coping strategy to manage pain, and these, in turn, can contribute to

disordered eating patterns. It is a set-up for reinforcing deep rooted shame.

This shame about weight often shows up in phrases that we tell ourselves over and over,

usually without realizing.

I was born ugly.

My body will never be good enough.

No one will ever want me.

I’m so fat.

These statements are hurtful. Our body and appearance does not increase our value as a

human. There are thousands of things we can buy to help us change and manipulate how we

look, to “fix” ourselves, to get those washboard abs, that thigh gap, that perky bum, or those

toned muscles. But having those things does not make us any less superior, and not having

those things does not make us any less inferior, than anyone else.

One of the things we can do to actively loosen the shame is acknowledge the thoughts, but

rather than let them play over and over, start to replace each of the shame thoughts.

My body helps me live my life.

Right now, I am grateful my body can do [name one thing]

My body deserves love and respect.

I love my body as it is today.

My body is perfect the way it is and I honour it in this state.

Your voice and your thoughts are powerful tools that form the foundation of how you view

yourself. At first it may be awkward, and you don’t need to believe these new thoughts 100%.

The practice is in noticing the shame and countering them. This is a start to changing the

negative thinking, and begin to build a better relationship with your body. Remember, you are

challenging years of body images and negative self-talk. Take baby steps and begin with one

statement you can focus on.

We have the ability to change our mindset and changing our mindset is a million times more

effective than changing our bodies.

Remember: My worth isn’t defined by my weight. I define my worth and I am worthy.

Until next time,


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