The 12 Step Process - Modified for Chronic Dieters

I modified the typical 12 step list from the addiction model for two reasons. One, I had clients who had been members of Overeaters Anonymous and who valued the 12 step process and the feeling of community while being members. Unfortunately, they were also harmed by the idea that they were powerless over food - the original addiction model does not apply to food - so I wanted to give them their power back.

Second, I have never been very religious, but while healing my own eating issues I have become much more spiritual. At times - the one thing keeping me motivated and inspired was the idea that there was more to life than the struggle that I was having with my body and that perhaps this was all happening for a reason. I now believe I am being supported and guided constantly and this has helped in moments when I feel at odds with my body and what is happening in my life. Reading these steps brought me a feeling of peace that I believe everyone can access in their lives as well.

The 12 Steps - Modified for Intuitive Eating

  1. We admitted we were powerless over our appetite — we cannot control our food and should not try to – our appetites are biological processes that we should not fight.

  2. We have come to believe that we have support and guidance from God and the Universe to help us be our healthiest selves.

  3. We have made a decision to let others in to help where we need the support – therapists, friends, coaches, family.

  4. We have made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our dieting history and how we have treated ourselves and vow to make self care a priority.

  5. We have admitted to God/Spirit/the Universe, to ourselves, and to another human being that we have not treated ourselves kindly.

  6. We are entirely ready to have God/Spirit/the Universe remove the negative ways we talk to ourselves and treat ourselves and put pressure on ourselves.

  7. We humbly asked Him/Her to support us in our healing.

  8. We made a list of all times we have harmed ourselves with diet and negative self-talk, and put ourselves last, and tried to forcefully change our bodies, and we became willing to make amends to ourselves.

  9. We made direct amends wherever possible, spending time on ourselves and asking people for more support where needed.

  10. We have continued to take personal inventory of our inner voices and when we were critical of ourselves, we noticed it without judgment.

  11. We sought through prayer and meditation, group support, and activities we love to do to improve our conscious contact with God/Spirit/the Universe as we understood Him/Her, praying only for knowledge of His/Her will for us and the power to carry that out.

  12. We have had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, and we tried to carry this message to others who suffer from diet culture and to practice these principles of self compassion and acceptance in all our affairs.