I grew up with a fear of being fat. I felt that if I was fat, then I was unloveable. Therefore, my number one priority was to not be fat – which meant I woke up every single day with the goal of losing weight. This goal of mine had nothing to do with being healthy, and actually resulted in me taking drastic measures to lose weight because my main motivators were guilt, shame, fear and pride. My problem had nothing to do with calories in / calories out; it was that I was trying to solve a spiritual problem with a physical solution. I was so hungry for love that I starved myself of the very thing I was craving, and I thought that food was the solution.

In a country where over 90% of women have used diets to control their weight, there is clearly an enormous stigma against being fat – but this fat shaming is not effective. Why? Because weight loss is not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is love, and often we think that if we are thin enough, we will get that love. But as A Course in Miracles teaches, the only love we are missing is the love we are not giving. Shaming ourselves, hating our bodies and using that as motivation to restrict our food intake is counterproductive because it will never result in self love. You will never have enough willpower to override the guilt and shame because they deplete your energy and that is the very mindset that drives most people to overeat in the first place.

So you’re ready to move away from guilt and shame, but you’re not ready to dive head-first into body positivity tomorrow? That’s okay. Start with body neutrality. Embrace the mindset of: If I lose weight – fine, if I don’t lose weight – that’s ok too. When you separate your self worth from your weight, shape, age or size, you can start to act more neutral.

Most of the #fitspo we see in today’s media uses pride as a motivator, but pride only takes you so far. At this level of mind, you are constantly on the defensive for being “right” and making others wrong. Choosing neutrality over pride can be much more empowering. As Dr. David Hawkins said, when you are at the level of neutrality, you are no longer attached to any outcome and you are no longer a victim. It is certainly better than guilt, shame or even fear but ultimately if you need a stepping stone before you can say “I love my body”, try simply practicing neutrality.

Start by eating well and moving your body because you have reverence for life. Make conscious choices about what to eat based on being present, conscious and tuned into how you feel in the moment, not because you are afraid of being fat or unloveable.

It’s hard to reverse old patterns and deep-seated beliefs, but with practice it can be done.

One thing you can implement today to shift your mindset is to start and end each day with gratitude. When you bookend your days with sincere gratitude – not just for your body, but for all of life – you will move from craving, desiring and wanting to simply feeling more satisfied with what you have. That will impact all of the choices you make throughout the day, including what you eat and how much you eat.

Start and end your day with gratitude.

When you wake up and before you go to sleep, write down 20 things you are grateful for.

By writing a longer list of 20 things, you will train your brain to find more answers. It will be programmed to search for things to be grateful for throughout your day.

Try this for 30 days and you will elevate your state and will naturally make more life enhancing choices.