I Grew Up Believing I Would Never Be Good Enough


I grew up believing I was fundamentally flawed and that I would never be good enough.

I believed my body was naturally evil. It needed to be controlled. Its impulses were not to be trusted.

I believed that I had to work really, really hard to redeem myself, and even all my hard work might not be enough. 

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So you can bet I worked my ass off. I tried to be good. I tried to please. I tried to get it all right.

All my hard work did result in social capital in my community. The more pious I was, the more praised, liked, loved I was.

But these good feelings, this social capital didn’t overshadow the insidious dark side of my belief system. Believing I’m not good enough, I’ll never be good enough resulted in guilty, shamey feelings that hindered all realistic improvement and made me miserable, but that kinda didn’t matter — I thought the guilt and shame were good: guilt and shame are appropriate feelings for a fundamentally flawed girl, an imperfect young woman, an unworthy adult. 

Given these fundamental beliefs, of course I took to dieting like a fish to water. 

Dieting: redemption through hard work. Perfection attainable through sheer force. Your body is bad.

Yep, dieting was right up my wheelhouse. 

And the guilty-shamey feelings that came after my diets’ inevitable failure made me feel right at home. 

But it was worth it, I thought, for the sense of belonging. The social capital. The in-group feeling of being able to relate. Of being able to commiserate over my body with my friends. And of occasionally being the skinniest one in the room.

When I was 25, I rejected my I-am-never-good-enough-I-will-never-be-good-enough belief system. I chose to believe that I was fundamentally good, not fundamentally bad. That happiness is my default state, not something attained through work and proving. That I am worthy.

When this shift happened, you can bet that my relationship with food and my body shifted, too.

I went from believing my body is imperfect, disgusting, detestable to believing my body is incredible, amazing, deserving of respect. 

I went from believing the way I ate was unacceptable, something to be controlled and manipulated, to believing food was a source of pleasure, a source of fuel, a way to connect with my inner self.

And that resulted in behavioral shifts. Instead of dieting, I paid attention to my body’s needs and wants.

Instead of feeling out of control around food, I began to understand the science behind my previously unexplainable eating behaviors.

Instead of punishing my body for its shape, its size, its needs, I began to love, respect, and honor it.

I stopped binge-eating. I exercised for fun. I tried a “risky” haircut and didn’t spin into depression when it didn’t work out. I wore a bathing suit without fear. I actually starting enjoying my body. And I’ve never been happier.

If you’re one who struggles with food and body image and binge-eating and emotional eating and all the guilt and shame and self-hatred that accompanies this suffering, I urge you to consider your fundamental beliefs about yourself, and your fundamental beliefs about bodies. Does what you believe about yourself result in harmful behaviors? Could a mindset shift shift your attitude toward yourself and the resulting behaviors?

Helping women heal their relationships with their body and with food from the inside out is my specialty and, honestly, my greatest passion. I work step-by-step with my private coaching clients, leading them on a personalized journey to address the way they think about food, bodies, weight, fat, and eating.

Consider the harm your attitudes are doing you, and please know: you don’t have to live this way. Schedule some time with me or get on my coaching waitlist — let’s go over what life could be like — how your life will be different the moment you reframe your attitude toward your food and your body.


About Holland Hettinger

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Hi, I’m Holland Hettinger, and I help women heal their relationships with food. I believe your life doesn’t have to revolve around food. Your mind can think about something other than what you eat. You don’t have to shrink yourself and hide your body. There is an alternative to food guilt and body shame. And none of it includes dieting, meal prepping, weighing yourself, or forcing yourself not to binge-eat for just one—more—day. (Insert sigh of relief here.) Through training videos, coaching emails, and one-on-one work, I teach women to heal their relationships with food for good.

Holland Hettinger