How Do I Handle My Struggle With Body Image?

I am a 44 year old woman and have struggled with negative body image issues since I was about 8 years old.  My parents and my 2 younger sisters are tall and slender and I’m short and have never been slender.  My family jokes that I was switched at birth though I don’t find the joke to be very funny.

I’ve tried many diets and have sometimes been successful at getting to a lower weight and smaller size, but I can never stay there for very long and as soon as I stop focusing all my energy on eating less and exercising more, my body returns to its usual overweight size.  I am otherwise in good health and am able to regularly keep pretty active with regular walking, biking and yoga.

I constantly compare myself wherever I go and am often the largest person wherever I go.

I often feel left out and self-conscious and there’s a constant critical track playing in my head that prevents me from feeling at ease and truly enjoying myself.

Whenever I see a physician for anything there is always a suggestion that I try to drop some weight, most recently when I was seen by a dermatologist for a suspicious mole, that thankfully was just a benign spot.  I’m pretty much sick and tired of trying to transform my body and would love some help with giving up this goal that keeps me feeling like a failure.

Jenny, Logan Square

Dear Jenny,

There’s a lot of pressure to meet size, weight and appearance standards, especially for women. It sounds like you’re ready to stop making efforts to transform your body and ready to move to grateful acceptance of your body, just as it is.

There are many organizations that can provide information and support as you embark on this journey.  There are also lots of podcasts that can help you feel connected to others who are on the same path.

Here are just a few resources to get you started:

Association for Size Diversity and Health (

Health at Every Size

Rudd Center for Weight Bias and Stigma


Maintenance Phase

Rebel Eaters Club

The Fat Doctor

You might benefit from therapy as well.  The right therapist can help you reframe the way you think about your body and help you find your way to body neutrality, body acceptance or even body liberation or body positivity.  Change isn’t easy and getting the right help can give you some positive, affirming voices to drown out the destructive, negative words of that tireless inner critic who has been with you for way too long.  Sounds like you’re ready to start enjoying your life in the size and body you’re in.

Wishing you all the best,


Leave a Comment