The Five A’s of Better Body Esteem®

Do you know that:

  • Four out of five 10-year-old girls reported they were afraid of getting fat
  • 80% of American women are dissatisfied with their appearance
  • Americans spent 40 billion dollars on diet-related products every year

We need to reverse these disturbing trends and heal ourselves and others. Better Body Esteem® is a trademarked program that was designed to improve self-esteem and body image for people with food addiction and eating disorders.

Body image issues are a crucial component of recovery for people who have long been disconnected from their bodies. It needs to be addressed at every stage of the journey, or it will pop up as self-consciousness, low self-esteem and low body image. Ignoring the problem can sabotage recovery and send someone right back to unhealthy food behaviors.

I have been presenting about this topic for many years, and have developed a model called the Five A’s. We use this in the Better Body Esteem® program to guide people towards having more compassion for themselves.

  1. Awareness (includes acknowledgement and anticipation) – Build your awareness of your current body image beliefs by journaling, meditating and talking about what you discover. Acknowledge your positive, healthy perceptions and anticipate the benefits of moving more and more into this new perspective.
  2. Appreciation (includes achievement and abundance) – Practice self-caring and self-loving rituals that celebrate your body and all of its gifts.
  3. Action (includes attention, amends, aspiration and accountability) – Take the necessary steps to care for and heal your body. You may have spent many years making unhealthy choices, but you can repair that damage one day at a time. Build and use a support team for this process (e.g., therapist, dietician,  accountability buddy, mentor, therapy group).
  4. Acceptance – The sooner you can accept yourself (one day at a time) and your body as you are right now today, the sooner you will be able to evolve into the next stages of recovery.
  5. Affirmations – Talk to yourself kindly and positively, always choosing the perspective that everything you want is already on its way.

Choose just one or two actions from this list to improve your own body esteem right away. We’ll be discussing these topics in depth on the blog over the next few weeks.

This post was originally published on the White Picket Fence Counseling Center blog at