What it Takes

Waging Peace is underway! It’s such an honor to gather each week with these nine open-hearted, courageous women to talk about what’s real when it comes to food and our bodies.

During our first group session, we talked about what it takes to really get free. The quick answer is that it takes a lot. You have to want to be free more than you want to be comfortable or thin. You have to want to belong to yourself more than you want to belong to anyone or anything else.

Don’t hear me wrong–it’s perfectly acceptable (expected even) to be ambivalent. It’s okay if you only want freedom a teeny-tiny hair more than you want approval or thinness. Because that crack will grow into a chasm once you get a taste. But eventually you do need to have that ardent desire.

As you may have noticed, we’re living in a culture that is absolutely mad when it comes to this stuff. It’s gotten to the point where we hardly notice. Diet culture is the very air we breathe; it’s bred in the bone. Which only makes it that much more noxious. It’s a slow poison and the people who are really suffering, whether it be from a diagnosable eating disorder or garden variety compulsive eating and body shame, are the canaries in the coal mine.

Which is why I see it as a very good sign when my clients start to get fed up. When, instead of directing their anger inward at themselves for failing to shrink their bodies and their appetites, it dawns on them that they’ve inherited an impossible task. Not only impossible but life-sucking and meaningless.

As Naomi Wolf put it,

“A culture fixated on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty, but an obsession about female obedience. Dieting is the most potent political sedative in women’s history; a quietly mad population is a tractable one.”

Getting fed up with this toxic legacy is not only important, it’s required. We need to say ENOUGH to diet culture and to what food and weight preoccupation has taken from us, which is time and energy that we can’t recoup.

Connecting with the anger is important because we’ve been holding all that energy down in our bodies.

Shame is the great silencer.

I like Brene Brown’s definition of shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.”

As women (and increasingly men, too), we learn to be ashamed of ourselves and our appetites. We do not learn to feed ourselves. In order to break free, we must unburden ourselves of this shame. We have to or it keeps us hungry and half-asleep, numb to ourselves and our world. We can live our whole lives from this place, friends, but we don’t have to.

Connection is the antidote to shame.

And connection is a big part of what it takes. Support. Likely more than you think you need or want to need (hello, shame!). Paradoxically, it’s confronting the shame of being needy head-on that heals the shame of begin needy. (In case no one has told you yet, we humans are the needy sort.) And we gotta feel it to heal it. This is not optional.

In the context of safe connection, we can begin to identify and reject diet culture. This is, not by accident, the first principle of Intuitive Eating. Before we can learn to nourish ourselves, we have to identify and begin to clear out what’s standing in our way. The messages we’ve imbibed about food and our bodies are far more devoid of nutritional value than the most processed frankenfood.

So, this is a beginning: you need to want to be free. You need to get good and sick of diet culture. You need a willingness to feel through what’s been repressed and stuck in your system, namely toxic shame. And, above and alongside all of this, you need a whole bunch of support.

I’m here to help with that. I’ll be back in the coming weeks with more on what it takes to get un-stuck with food and body obsession. My practice is currently full but I’d be glad to hop on the phone and see if we’re a match to work together soon. Otherwise, I can refer you to a host of talented colleagues and free resources. Find me at larkin.molly@gmail.com.



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Waging Peace Small Group Coaching Program


Dear You,

Several people have expressed a desire to do the work of healing food and body obsession in a small group format. I love small groups as they capture much of the intimacy of one-on-one coaching while also capitalizing on group wisdom and momentum. I especially like the idea of a small group for this work because food and weight problems are not simply an individual issue—they are a systemic issue. When we go to work solving the problem solely on an individual level, we stay blind to key cultural elements that keep us stuck. In the light of one another’s presence, we can illuminate and dismantle the unconscious core beliefs that keep us spinning.

For these reasons, this January, I’ll be offering a small group coaching program centered on healing food and body obsession.

Dieting, food, and body obsession force us to go to war with our bodies and with ourselves. I’m here to tell you unequivocally that there is another way. My colleague Rachel Cole calls it “waging peace”. And that’s what this group is all about—coming into a peaceful relationship with food and with your body. If that sounds like an impossible dream, if you’ve tried everything under the sun and failed time and again, I hear you. And I imagine you may be exhausted and skeptical about trying yet another thing. Perhaps you’ve even tried “intuitive eating” and found yourself knee-deep in cookie dough for weeks on end. I get it. I went about as low as you can go with food craziness and if I can recover, anyone can. But you’re going to need a whole lot of support.

I can say with confidence that this approach is different because it’s not about going to war with yourself. Rather, it’s about meeting yourself right where you are, right at this moment. It’s about radical self-care rather than rigid self-control. It’s about increasing our tolerance for ease, pleasure and true nourishment. Eating and health really don’t need to be so hard!

Fair warning: this might be the most courageous work you will ever do. As such, it requires a willingness to tolerate the discomfort of uncertainty. Unlike diets, which start off exciting and sexy and move toward hungry and miserable, this work starts off scary and wobbly and moves toward ease and joy. It gets easier because you are moving toward deep self-trust rather than away from it. And that makes every step worthwhile.

For those of you coming from Bright Line Eating, you may wonder what the overlap is between this work and BLE. In truth, not much. While Susan and I share a friendship and a lot of mutual love and respect, we obviously take very different approaches when it comes to food and weight. I teach based on what’s worked for me and many, many others. I believe in a full recovery from food obsession and disordered eating. This podcast episode summarizes my take on the concept of food addiction.

My experience is that keeping the focus on weight loss always distracts us from the real work of learning to feed ourselves, on every level. Rigid food plans and restriction promote food obsession and bingeing behavior. This would be bad enough if it worked but the reality is that for the vast majority, it simply doesn’t. In the long run, weight loss attempts most predictably result in one thing: weight gain. There’s a ton of science to back this up. Here’s a good place to start. Or here. Or here.

It’s completely understandable and okay that you want to lose weight. None of this is to suggest that I am opposed weight loss; I’m not. People who are above their set point range often do lose weight, quite naturally, with the process of intuitive eating. (Here’s some research on intuitive eating.) But I am extremely concerned about the pursuit of weight loss because contrary to popular belief, it is making people not only fatter but less healthy (see aforementioned resources for evidence). If we want to find peace, we need to accept that our body will settle at the right weight for us as we learn to feed and care for it, with kindness. We are not all meant to be a size 4 or 8 or even 18. This kind of acceptance doesn’t come overnight. But, with time and support, it does come and its value far outweighs the price of admission.

So! All of that said, here’s some of what we’ll explore in this group, in no particular order:


  • The cost/benefit of pursuing weight loss
  • What we get from keeping our focus on weight and food (the hidden “payoff”)
  • Rejecting the diet mentality (Principle One of 10 Intuitive Eating principles—it’s #1 for good reason)
  • Grieving the loss of the “perfect body/perfect eating/perfect health” dream and all the time lost in pursuit of the impossible
  • The relationship between restriction and bingeing, breaking free of the compliance/rebellion model
  • Self-attunement (self-sensing, including hunger/fullness, yes/no, what do I want/need)
  • Radical self-care
  • Navigating difficult emotions without turning to food
  • Feeding ourselves–creating structure and containment without rigidity
  • What is enough?
  • What is a “good” body?
  • The intersection between the individual level and the systemic level. What does it mean to relate to your body (and all bodies) with respect?
  • Re-inhabiting the body, entering the wilderness
  • Redefining health
  • Reclaiming desire, pleasure and satisfaction
  • Examining our deeper hungers


Everyone is in a different place in their process. Some of you have already begun this deep work and will be raring to go. Others will be more tentative. And that’s perfect because we will all be learning from each other.

I invite you not to take anything I say at face value. This work is to be tested in the crucible of your own experience. My aim is always and only to shine the light on what’s true for you. Only you can know that.

We’ll meet on Zoom video conferencing so we can see each other’s faces and really get to know one another. We’ll meet weekly for 90 minutes for three months. I’ll do some teaching and lots of coaching. You’ll have email access to me between sessions, just like my one-on-one clients do. The group will be small enough (7 people max) to make room for everyone’s voice.

Your commitment is to show up with an open mind and an open heart for all the sessions. Sessions will be recorded so if you need to miss one or two, you can catch up. For group cohesion, it’s important that we all be all in.

The cost is $1200, a bit less than half of my one-to-one package. You can pay upfront or in installments. If that investment is prohibitive to you and you need to do this group, reach out and we can work something out.

If you’re ready to roll, you can sign up below. Questions? Reach out to me at larkin.molly@gmail.com and we’ll set up a time to talk. You can ask me anything. Also, I’ve created a short little survey to see what days/times will work best for you. If this group isn’t a match for your needs but you want to do this work, I have a host of wonderful colleagues and resources I can refer you to.Please share this freely with anyone you think could benefit.

Finally, I just want to reiterate that if you’re suffering around food and your body, there really is light at the end of the tunnel. You don’t have to spend the rest of your life feeling crazy around food. I came through and you can too. It won’t be easy and it won’t be perfect and it won’t be nearly as seductive as the promise of the next weight loss/perfect health program. You will think it’s taking too long. You will need tons of support (that’s what we’re up to here).

And it will be worth it, it will be worth it times a million. Because unlike restricting and bingeing and dieting, all of which takes you further out into orbit, recovery is a process of reclamation. Every sloggy step brings you back home to yourself. And home, it turns out, is what we’re truly hungry for. Devastation is the secret doorway to awakening. As Mary O’Malley says, what’s in the way is the way.

If this rings for you and you’re ready to set yourself free, I do hope you’ll join us!




****Update: The current group is close to max capacity and I’ve had lots of people express a desire to participate. If there’s sufficient interest, I’ll consider a second group. If you’re considering it, please let me know by 12/31: larkin.molly@gmail.com




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Three Kinds of Business

Are you guys familiar with Byron Katie?  She teaches “The Work”, which is a method of questioning the stressful thoughts that cause us to suffer.

When I found “The Work” in my early twenties, I’d walk for hours through the big trees of western Washington with “Loving What Is” playing on my gigantic walkman.

Katie, as she’s called, is one of a small handful of teachers who have impacted my life and my perspective profoundly.

I was over the moon to attend her workshop last month with my mom.  We had a great time on the six hour drive, drinking in the blue skies and eating cherries from a farm stand.  We arrived at the Omega Institute in high spirits but as we pulled into the parking lot, my stomach dropped into my feet like a broken elevator. Continue reading

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Nothing to Fix, Not Broken

When I was really in the weeds with screwed up eating and body image, I remember how desperate I felt to find someone, anyone, who could say that they had been where I was and found a way through.

I just wanted someone to tell me exactly what to eat and not eat.  As things got worse, I fantasized about being locked up.  I couldn’t be trusted within a ten mile radius of cookies or ice cream or steamed broccoli if that was all that was around.

Part of the trouble was that my beliefs about what it meant to be free of food and body obsession were as rigid and disordered as my behaviors.

When I was twenty, I went to a therapist who disclosed that she herself was in recovery from a history of eating disorders.  I asked what her recovery was like and she shared that she felt really normal about food.  She then said that had emotionally eaten a pint of Ben & Jerry’s a few weeks back and she hadn’t felt bad about it.  She’d gotten to the heart of what was bothering her and moved on.

I was horrified.  I didn’t go back.

Never mind that I was so anxious on my way to the appointment that I had stopped at the donut shop to wolf six donuts and purge in the bathroomI was not about to take advice from someone who ate an entire pint of ice cream.  Ever.

As much as I would have told you(and meant it!)that I would do anything to stop the obsession, the truth was that I wasn’t looking for a way through.

Continue reading

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The Gift of Obsession

big cloud


A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how food and weight are not the problem.

Food, weight and body obsession can become a problem, for sure, but if we mistake them for the root cause, we are barking up the wrong tree.

Food and weight craziness are an attempt at a solution to the problem of self-abandonment.

Our dilemma is that life, by its very nature, is ever changing and rife with uncertainty.  To be human is to continually have the rug pulled out from under us. There are no guarantees and there is no getting it together.

Instead of looking squarely at the nature of things, we walk around believing that there is something fundamentally wrong with us.

Otherwise, we wouldn’t feel so unhappy, inadequate and disconnected. Otherwise, we would have gotten it together by now.

Obsessing about how to fix the problem of “me” offers temporary relief from the very human experience of wobbliness and insecurity.  Of nothing to hold onto. 

There is no getting it together.  There is no figuring it out.  Life is not a problem to be solved.  You are not a problem to be solved.   Continue reading

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Food and Weight Are Not the Problem

orange flowersI started down this path of coaching with the intention of helping women heal their relationship with food and weight, which is ultimately and always a reflection of one’s relationship to life itself.  When I was stuck beyond stuckness in that particular realm of hell, I promised myself that if I ever found a way through, I would dedicate myself to helping others.

The underlying theme of my work with all of my clients is returning home to oneself, to one’s inner wisdom.

Self-abandonment is certainly not limited to food craziness but if you’re a woman in this culture without any history of food or body “issues”, you’re sort of like a unicorn.  I believe you might be out there but I haven’t run into too many of you yet.

I keep talking with women-powerful, smart, capable, beautiful women-who tell me this desire to lose ten pounds spins like a broken record in the back of her mind, nagging and whining.  She hasn’t gone swimming in years because she’d have to put on a bathing suit.

Or maybe she eats “clean” all day without a problem and then finds herself in the kitchen at two in the morning eating bowl after bowl of sugar cereal.  She is consumed by thoughts of what she will eat next and what she will avoid and when and where and how.  She can’t bring herself to wear shorts, even when it’s 90 degrees because she is convinced that everyone would be repulsed by her legs. 

She keeps the running tally in her mind—was she “good” today?  Better make up for those cookies.  Maybe she’s a sugar addict?  Maybe she should go Paleo or vegan or do a juice cleanse…starting tomorrow.

It gets more subtle too—comparing herself to every woman’s ass in line ahead of her at Starbucks, alternating envy and relief.  The persistent belief that something is wrong with her:  shouldn’t have eaten that, shouldn’t wear that, shouldn’t be hungry.  

Does this sound familiar?

You want to eat like a normal person.  You want to feel vibrant and sexy and alive. You want to trust yourself around food.  You don’t want to live in fear of work potlucks and dinner parties.  You want to feel at home in your body.  You want to stop working so fucking hard.

Continue reading

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You Don’t Need More Time


Recently, my friend Natalia and I led a conference call on time management for the coaches in training with CLCC.  We are at the mid-way point in the training, where the pressure is on to keep up with reading and assignments while gathering client hours. These women have full lives, many with children and/or full time jobs and grown up responsibilities.  People tend to get a little panicky and overwhelmed about now.

Not enough time.  Not enough time.

It’s a story that is very much supported culturally.  “How are you?”  “Busy!  You?”  “I’m okay…for a Monday.”

We’ve confused productivity with self-worth and are thus locked in a perpetual race against time.  Always behind that eight ball, in a hurry, hopped up on cortisol and adrenaline, another cup of coffee.  Got to keep going.

It’s entirely normal to endure the work week, waiting  to live it up on the weekend.  To live for the weekend and for little pockets of vacation.  (It’s worth considering: is this how you agree to spend your life?)

Not enough time.

This topic is close to my heart because I lived steeped in this scarcity mentality for a loooooong time.  Whatever I was doing, I felt behind.  Should be doing more.  Not enough.  I quite literally could not sit still. Continue reading

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Whatever This Is…



My sister gave birth to a baby boy last night.  He’s a tiny perfect human and this is his first day breathing air.  He looks like a cross between an angel and an old man.

The older I get, it seems, the more astonished I feel by this whole business of being born, and living, and dying.  The baffling, stunning mystery of it all.

“Gabe!”, I say to my own son, “Can you BELIEVE that you grew inside my body?  And now you’re sitting in this kitchen, with this whole life of your own?  I mean, think about that!  What is going on around here?”

He is, understandably, more interested in seeing if he can roast his green bean in the candle’s flame.  He hasn’t been here long enough; he still thinks the grown ups know something about how this whole place works.

As I edge toward thirty-five, which seems solidly adultish, I can say with great confidence that this is not the case.

This being human is such a clumsy endeavor.  Despite my best intentions to stay awake, I am routinely confused, lazy, sleepy, hooked.  I contradict myself. Continue reading

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Looking After Yourself

Tea on table                                                                                                                                                                       Many years ago and many miles from here, I had a wonderful therapist.  Sitting down across from her, when I could drag myself in, was nearly unbearable.  Shame and depression had me in a vice grip and I believed I was stuck, beyond help.  I was desperate for this woman to fix me or scream at me or tell me to leave.  Instead, I could very much feel that she saw me whole, even loved me.

The contrast was excruciating.

Elizabeth could see that I could scarcely hold my seat, so we would walk her dog together.  Side by side and moving, it was easier to find words.  We would walk down to the water and breathe the air.

At some point, she gave me an assignment.  I was to keep my journal nearby and every hour, I was to jot the answers to the following questions: Continue reading

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Thoughts on Eating Disorders: Be the Change

attic windowNote: This post was heavily inspired by this piece by the fabulous Rachel W. Cole.  I hope you’ll read them both.

It’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.  As one who lived in the vice grip of anorexia and bulimia for over a decade, I’m sometimes amazed that I don’t burst into song every morning at the sheer joy of being free from those chains.

It would be difficult to overstate the torture of addiction, the way it suffocates from within, noxious weed tentacles strangling light, air, joy.

On good days, my best hope was that I could just stop binging and throwing up, stop being insane about food.  I  didn’t know freedom was even an option.  I needed to hear it.

If you or someone you love is suffering, I’m here to tell you that real freedom is possible.  100%.

It will likely require a hundred times more courage and a thousand times more support than you wish it did AND it is available.  It is yours to claim.

Recovery is the central miracle of my life.  And though I only break out in musical theater occasionally, I am very, very grateful.

Continue reading

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