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Do You Struggle with Weight and Body Image Issues?

If you struggle with your weight and have body image issues, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that over 90% of women are unhappy with their bodies. And they’ve taken drastic measures to get to a certain number on the scale. In fact, most of the women I work with have tried everything: pills and potions, diets and detoxes, even surgery.

But the outcomes were always the same:

  • They never got lasting results on the scale.
  • They felt worse about themselves than ever before.

Chances are you know what I’m talking about.

So Where Do These Weight Issues and Negative Body Images Come From?

The women I work with have shared some of the factors that contributed to their own weight and body issues.

  • Having a mother who was very concerned about her own weight and was always trying to be thinner. Carmen’s mom put her on diet pills at age 12 because she was getting “pudgy,” when in fact she was going through puberty.
  • Having a family member or authority figure make judgments about your body weight. Rachel shared that her father told her she’d never be able to attract a man if she was too fat. This started the endless cycle of yo-yo dieting.
  • Being bullied by family or friends about your weight. “Fatty, fatty two by four” and “here comes thunder thighs” were phrases that Michelle often heard at school and from her brothers.
  • The fashion and media industry showing the “ideal” female body as thin. Carla shared that when she was younger, she wanted a “Twiggy” body. At the height of her career, Twiggy was 5 feet 6 ½ inches, weighed 92 pounds, and measured 31-23-31.

This last one really hits hard because these messages are everywhere. And every time I see an online message that judges women’s bodies or promotes “thin” as the pathway to happiness I want to cry.

Because when we’re told we are “too fat” or we see images of how we are “supposed to” look, we internalize these thoughts, and they become beliefs for us. And this can set us up for a lifetime of weight, body image issues, and poor self-esteem. Ironically, we end up turning to food to feel better.

And That’s When the Cravings and Emotional Eating Begin

Maybe we find ourselves binge eating at night, after dinner, even though we’re not even hungry. Or perhaps we’re secretly stashing carbs, hiding the evidence of our “treats.” Or constantly grazing our way through the pantry or fridge, looking for “something.”

The bottom line is that we’re not feeling good about ourselves or our bodies. So, we’re using food to comfort, numb-out or fill the void. Which usually leads to more weight gain and feeling even worse about ourselves.

And another diet won’t fix that. As a registered dietitian, it would be easy for me to tell women what they “should” eat. But most women already know this! In fact, what I commonly hear from my clients is “I know what I’m supposed to do but I just can’t do it.”

It’s Time to Let Go of the Emotional Baggage

Until we let go of the emotional baggage and the negative beliefs that we’ve accumulated over the years, chances are nothing will change. This is because our emotions and beliefs are running the show behind the scenes.

To feel the power of these negative thoughts and beliefs, take a moment right now to reflect on the messages you heard growing up (and are likely still hearing). Write them down in a notebook or journal.

How do these words make you feel? Do you notice any tension in your body? Maybe a nauseous feeling in your gut? Are you feeling inspired to eat some veggies? Or are you finding yourself craving your favorite comfort food?

Are You Ready to Learn More?

I struggled with weight and body image issues for decades. As a dietitian, this was really hard because I felt like a fraud. How could I help other women when I couldn’t even help myself? Well, that was I realized that it wasn’t about the food… it was about my emotions and my beliefs.

When I started letting go of my own emotional baggage and changing my beliefs, that’s when I was finally able to feel good about my body (that came first) and release the extra weight. Yeah!

If you’d like to learn more on how to make this happen for YOU, I warmly invite you to watch my free training – How to Stop Cravings and Emotional Eating So You Can Lose the Weight and Keep it Off.

There definitely is hope to ending your weight and body images issues, but it’s not in another diet.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Is emotional eating a major hurdle in your life? Have you figured out that you eat because of your emotions? How do you work through your emotions so they don’t affect your eating habits?

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Toni Stritzke

It would be hilarious if it weren’t so tragic; I’m reading this article, scrolling down through ad after ad that are all about “being your idea weight.”

Karen Donaldson

Toni I agree. It’s everywhere and social media is the worst. I remember reading a women’s magazine article when I was in my 20s about how if I (or any woman) could just lose weight I would be a better mother, wife, sister, friend, lover, etc. etc. So ridiculous! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Karen


Right ?!! All the ads for intermittent fasting, Wow talk about mixed messages .


It’s not about the number on the scale exclusively. Are you large or small boned, how do you feel physically, do your knees hurt, are you a diabetic, etc. Some people feel good even if a bit overweight. Weight is put on over time and takes time to take it off. Don’t diet, because that implies denying yourself. Instead adopt a healthier lifestyle. If the bad food isn’t in your home, you can’t eat it. Cheat now and then so you don’t feel deprived. With just a small amount of progress, you will begin to feel better physically and emotionally. Just start.

Karen Donaldson

Hi Kim. I definitely agree it’s not just about the scale. In my program I work with women to help them choose their foods from a place of love for themselves instead of from deprivation and restriction. For example, we might create a new belief of “I love myself so much and I’m worthy and deserving of putting the best foods for me into my body”. I actually don’t encourage “cheat” days because I don’t like the word “cheat”. Instead, I encourage women to tune in and really enjoy what they are eating even if it’s the “bad” food (another term I don’t use much). For example, I love cheesecake. But if I think it’s bad (or I’m bad for eating it) and that I’m cheating, I’m likely to eat more because of the emotions of guilt and shame I’m feeling. I always tell my friends and clients not to eat under the influence of guilt and shame because these emotions increase stress hormones and make you feel worse about yourself! If I allow myself to enjoy the flavor and texture and the moment, then I usually stop naturally after a couple of bites. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


This really hits home for me. In my home growing up, a phrase commonly heard was: There is no such thing as too rich, too pretty or too thin. Mom still reduces a personal health issues to their size. I am over 60, heavier than I have ever been and how I feel about myself, my worth, is not good. Not good at all.

Karen Donaldson

Brena, I’m so sorry you had to hear those phrases growing up. Those words become our beliefs and then they influence us for the rest of our lives. And when we can’t live up to these (ridiculous) expectations, we do end up feeling not good about ourselves. For many, this leads to using food to tranquilize our emotions. But please know there is hope for changing this. My free training (mentioned in my article above) describes how. And please let me know if you have any questions. Many blessings, Karen

The Author

Karen Donaldson helps women stop their cravings and emotional eating so they can lose the weight and keep it off. She is a Registered Dietitian, EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Certified Weight Loss Coach, Emotion Code Certified Practitioner and a Weight Loss Mindset Expert. Learn more at

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