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New Year, New Eating Disorder

New Year,
New Eating Disorder

We knew January was bad for self-esteem. Now we know it's destroying bodies, too.

When you see the words “New Year, New You,” you might roll your eyes and prepare for a diet ad. 

Or you might check into an eating disorder clinic.

According to a first-of-its-kind study published in Psychosomatic Medicine, nearly 20 percent of people admitted into an eating disorder (ED) treatment facility said that anti-obesity, pro-dieting messaging drove them there.

Messaging like “New Year, New You.” Once a seemingly innocuous resolutions rallying cry, the phrase has come to mean something more sinister: There’s something wrong with your body. 

The messaging has gone far beyond gyms and weight loss programs. It’s made its way to medical centers, universities, even the NIH. This omnipresence isn’t just an issue for the 9 percent of Americans—or nearly 29 million people—who will have an eating disorder in their lifetime. (Though, that should be quite enough, shouldn’t it?)

Research and experts agree: The idea of “New Year, New You” can trigger anyone with a history of disordered eating, body concerns, weight struggles, or self-confidence issues. We don’t have the math skills to add up how many human beings that would encompass.

And this kind of triggering can be deadly. Someone dies every 52 minutes as a direct consequence of an ED, according to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).

Our special package shines a light on the insidious way a four-word phrase is making women sick, what January feels like for people who have had EDs, how to prepare yourself for the diet-messaging avalanche, and what we all can do to do better moving forward.

You Can’t Escape the Onslaught

If only we saw “You Do You” as much as “New Year, New You.” What we really need to lose in 2023 is that phrase.

Slimming World’s Jan/Feb 2023 Issue

National Institute of Health’s “New Year! New You! Fitness and Wellbeing Challenge”

Universities Across the Country

Cleveland Clinic’s Health Essentials Blog and Buckeye Weight Loss in Upper Arlington, Ohio

Walmart’s New Year New You Shopping Section

Hampton Fitness in Sherwood, OR

“I Have a History of 

Disordered Eating”

Top Therapists On The

January Trap

Jen Douglas, Ph.D.
Rachel Goldman, Ph.D.
Sara Kuburic, M.A.
Megan Johnson, Ph.D.
Julia Colangelo, LCSW
Jaime Zuckerman, Psy.D.

We Can Do Better

With bodies and diets and stigma, let’s all do our part.

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