How to Get Free From Body Shame in the New Year

Written by: Center for Body Trust

It makes sense that you may feel a strong pull to want to make health-related changes in the New Year. For those who celebrate year-end holidays, you may be feeling ready for a change after all the food, family, travel, stress and busyness. This makes sense! However, dieting does not, and here’s why…

Dieting is rooted in shame and self-blame. Diet culture tells us our bodies are problems that need fixing, a project of never-ending self improvement. Body shame and self blame run rampant in dieters when they inevitably “fail” at it, when really dieting has failed us all.  

  • Shame cannot survive in the face of empathy. There is great power when we come together with other people who are moving away from dieting and body shame and working toward Body Trust®.

Dieting is damaging to our overall health and wellbeing, not health promoting. Many people who diet end up weight cycling—losing and regaining weight throughout their lives—which has been found to have a lasting negative impact on metabolic health and one’s relationship with self and body.

  • We can look at “health” with a wider lens to incorporate many aspects that contribute to our overall well-being. Our culture treats the pursuit of health like a moral obligation. You are worthy of love, respect, and belonging regardless of your health status.

Diets just don’t work. Long-term, intentional weight loss doesn’t work for most people, period. 95% of people who intentionally lose weight regain the weight within two to five years. Two-thirds of those people regain more. There isn’t a single study that has evidence saying otherwise. Not a single one.

  • When we move away from dieting it opens us up to the possibility for deeper healing and increased life satisfaction. Moving towards healing our relationship with food and body creates opportunities for sustainable, compassionate and life-affirming care of one’s self. These changes can be rooted in your truth, not another entity’s plan for you.

Weight stigma is a form of oppression, and all forms of oppression are interconnected.  Everyone is negatively affected by weight stigma, regardless of their size, and people in larger bodies experience the most harm in a world obsessed with thinness. While weight stigma significantly harms those in larger bodies, almost everyone is hustling in response to weight stigma.

  • When you choose to start or stay on the journey of respecting your own body at whatever size it is, you are also choosing a path of body autonomy and freedom. Body sovereignty opens the door to reclaiming trust in yourself and your body.

Size diversity is a biological reality and deserves to be celebrated. We live in a culture that tries to tell us the only way to have a good body is to have a thin one. That simply isn’t possible for a lot of people who have genetic predilections for different body types. Working hard to suppress your natural body weight does more harm than good.

  • Throughout human history, there have been people of all shapes and sizes. We can choose to acknowledge and celebrate our differences without valuing one kind of body over another. All bodies are good bodies. Many of you can look at your loved ones and wholeheartedly accept them in the body they are in. We believe you can include yourself in that too.

There are kinder, more sustainable ways to take care of ourselves and our bodies. Dieting harms our relationship with food and body and doesn’t make us feel better about ourselves in the long run. Food restriction leads to anxiety, food preoccupation, and disordered eating. When we try to follow a plan that ends up being unsustainable, we often blame ourselves, amplifying shame and distrust of ourselves. The truth is weight change efforts are unsustainable for almost everyone. It’s not just you.

  • Rooting self care in weight-neutrality is a radical act. Amazing things can happen when we turn toward ourselves with kindness, compassion, and curiosity. Body Trust is a path for healing the harm perpetuated by diet culture. And it is a path for moving forward.

There is incredible community in Body Trust. We are a growing, thriving, community of brave and vulnerable people healing their relationship with food and body to finding real and meaningful change. We are working to end weight stigma and oppression in all its forms, both in ourselves and in the world.

  • Everyone who joins us for a retreat or e-course gets access to a free private Facebook group where the Body Trust community comes together to talk about all the things that come up when we are doing this healing work. It helps to know you are not alone. We want you to know and truly believe that this has not been your fault. There is a way out.

There are hundreds of ways to approach “feeling better” at the beginning of the year that do not involve dieting. Honor your truth and experience: these methods do not serve you.

Let us support you on your path. Freedom will not be found in another diet, program, or plan focused on changing the size, shape, or weight of your body.

We get free when we try different, not harder.

We have several offerings that are designed to support you in reclaiming the body trust that is your birthright; whether you’re brand new to this work, or you’ve been on the path for years, these offerings are designed to help you come into kind, curious attunement with your own healing, wherever you are right here, right now.


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