Positive Body Image

Millions of men, women, boys and girls are struggling with eating issues. Many are struggling in private, secretly wishing for a way out of their situation, others have already expressed a desire to change and are supported by those around them. Regardless of your situation, whether you are dealing with anorexia, bulimia, a food addiction, comfort eating, binge eating or simply having a relationship with food that is regarded as less than healthy, we can provide you with assistance more powerful than you have probably ever imagined.

How Can Eating Issues Affect Our Lives?

Whether it is anorexia, bulimia, food addictions, or simply having a relationship with food that we regard as less than healthy, countless numbers of us struggle with eating issues.

The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders website displays some very telling numbers. At least 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S. alone. 11% of women and 4% of men are at risk for eating disorders.2  One group of women who lived separately in a social sorority had the highest risk of 15%.2  The greater prevalence in females mirrors societal messages and expectations. For instance, most female fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women, 80% of whom are unhappy with how they look.3

What’s more, these trends start at a very young age. By age 6, girls especially start to express concerns about their own weight or shape. 40-60% of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) are concerned about their weight or about becoming too fat. This concern endures through life. 51% percent of 9 and 10 year old girls feel better about themselves if they are on a diet. It is important to note that 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting3

Our Relationship With Food

These disorders can have serious health consequences. Eating disorders have the second highest mortality rate of all mental health disorders, surpassed only by opioid addiction.3  Among those who struggle with anorexia, 1 in 5 deaths is by suicide.3  Many more of us struggle with overeating and other challenging relationships with food that don’t technically fall under a specific disorder name. Many times, the programs designed to help those with eating issues focus on changing behavior. Certainly changing behavior is important, but attempting to change behaviors without changing the beliefs that fuel them becomes an uphill battle fraught with backsliding.

We have found that, for a large number of people, their relationship with food is a microcosm of their relationship to their entire lives. When someone believes that their life is out of their control, for instance, they may seek to regain it by attempting to control their world; and one of the ways they might do this is by strictly limiting what and how much they eat. When someone feels that their life is empty, and they are a victim to the emptiness, they may endeavor to fill the void with food.

How Can the Option Institute Help?

We can help you to uncover the beliefs you hold which fuel your relationship with food. We do this in a very nonjudgmental manner, and we don’t try to convince you to change how you eat. We simply give you the opportunity to decide what type of relationship you’d like to have with food, and then we give you tools and assistance with dropping the often undiscovered beliefs in your way. Then we can help you learn to construct a new set of beliefs to set you on the long-term track you desire.

Indeed, we have had participants in the past who have moved beyond their overeating, anorexia or bulimia.

If you have decided that it’s finally time to leave your eating issue by the wayside and forge a new relationship with food, we can provide you with a kind of assistance you have probably never received before.

Schedule a Free Call Today! It will only take a minute.


Personal Stories

When I arrived at the Option Institute last Sunday, I had spent years struggling with self judgment, judgment of my body, yearning for a “mother” to heal me. Now, after this outstanding program, I have, for the first time ever, been able to feel my perfection at this moment, look in the mirror and see beauty, feel that I have healed myself by taking in the comfort of being held, and have felt my own strength and power to direct my growth.

Amy Aronoff

Cardiology Practice Administrator, Maryland

The Weigh Happier Program is not about pounds – losing or gaining. It’s about how we relate to our bodies and food. This isn’t a way to diet. It’s a way to look at our hang-ups we may have about food and our bodies. After this week, how I see food and my body is radically different. It’s like starting over, but this time choosing how I want to see them both in the most comfortable way.

Sid Diamond

Consultant, Maryland


  1. anad.org/education-and-awareness/about-eating-disorders/
  2. Risk for Disordered Eating Relates to both Gender and Ethnicity for College Students – www.tandfonline.com
  3. www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/statistics-research-eating-disorders

Contact Us

Call Me

Or send us a message or question and we will get back to you as soon as we can.



The Option Institute and its teachers have had the honor to present programs (during the last four decades) that explore the attitudes and beliefs we have (and may want to change) and to help program participants find their own answers to questions about relationships, careers, family challenges and health issues. Our new program, Health & Healing: Navigating Life’s Health Challenges (formerly '5 Days to Live') , focuses on navigating significant health challenges and decision-making with greater ease, clarity, and clear purpose.

We are not a medical facility and we do not dispense any medical advice. We have and would always guide our program participants, to consult with their doctors, healthcare providers, and family members in making medical decisions for themselves and those they love. Neither Mass General Hospital nor any member of its medical staff endorses any program being offered by the Option Institute and its teachers.

NOTE: Attendance of live sessions via Zoom are required to complete this course.

Please note, this is a per-person registration



PRE-REQUISITES for attending Advanced Power Dialogues are:

  • Completion of The Option Institute’s PowerDialogues program.
  • If it’s been more than 5 years since you attended PowerDialogues, please call 413-229-2100 to discuss options.

NOTE: Attendance of live sessions via Zoom are required to complete this course.

Please note, this is a per-person registration


Dear Donor,

Jeannie Reid was searching for answers to the challenges she and her family were facing. Jeannie and her husband Stuart’s son, Carson, had been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a condition on the Autism spectrum. For Carson that meant being completely involved in obsessive behaviors and only using minimal words to identify objects, as well as frequently and completely melting down.

Soon after, Jeannie found the book, “Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues” and when she read it, she KNEW she had found what she was looking for. She began using some of the Son-Rise techniques described in the book on her own until she was able to come to The Autism Treatment Center of America for the Son-Rise Program Start-Up. As she put into practice what she learned there, Carson’s world was opening up. Today Carson is attending a Montessori school as a 'typical' student and functioning at or above typical grade level, being fully verbal and conversational, and very interested in learning about the world and interacting as much as possible with other people. He is even taking swim lessons at the local YMCA and doing great!

“It has been wonderful to get, and stay connected with other people and Son-Rise parents from all over the world. My son’s progress had already come very far, but now I truly believe we can go all the way!”

Jeannie wrote.

Stuart Reid then attended the Empower Yourself course and brought home a new sense of clarity, balance and personal power. He shared his new empowerment with Jeannie and she in turn gained in confidence, strength and enthusiasm. Their own relationship began to flourish anew, as well. Life-altering changes were happening for Jeannie and her family.

Jeannie journeyed again to Sheffield, this time for the Fearless course at The Option Institute to help her recognize and overcome her personal obstacles. Jeannie wanted to continue her amazing journey as she had found using the techniques she learned in The Son-Rise Program and in Fearless had absolutely changed the lives of everyone in her family.

But, because the Reids’ finances had been seriously stretched by then, their next steps were put on hold. Then an amazing event changed everything. Jeannie’s college roommate and lifelong friend decided to start a Son-Rise Program scholarship fund for people from the Cleveland area. Since then Jeannie has been able to move ahead with her courses, taking Radical Authenticity, Son-Rise Maximum Impact and Son-Rise Wide Awake ... and eventually she became a Certified Group Facilitator.

Jeannie Reid’s story is about wanting BIG and making it happen. She is about to embark on her renewed private practice as an art therapist, and plans to be a super advocate for The Son-Rise Program in her area. Her wonderful new life is a product of her persistence and belief, and of the wheels she helped set in motion for others when her friends learned of how she and her family had been impacted by The Son-Rise Program.

“I know I will be able to give back by helping others, and that will be the top of my personal mountain! Thank you to everyone who donates! You are making a big difference in the world!

Jeannie Reid


Dear Donor

Two years ago, Antonio's kindergarten teacher told us something was not quite right with our little boy. He was not socializing, he somersaulted all the time and hardly spoke at all. At the time I was working for a municipality close to Florence, Italy and basically I had nothing left after seeing to basic necessities.

In the meantime, I looked up Autism with Google and as I was also looking for happiness and personal growth, I was guided to The Option Institute, thence the Autism Treatment Center of America. I read up as much as I could and started trying to apply the “Happiness is a Choice” suggestions. I'm not quite good at it but it has helped me with attitude, and everything else that seemed trying is really different after all this.

When I decided to come for The Son-Rise Program Start-Up, I really had little or no money to pay for it. I spoke to my friends, old and new. My mother helped me, friends I thought couldn't [help] tried their very best and the scholarship did the rest.

What the scholarship did was give a HUGE boost to my fundraising. About six friends contributed the rest, at the travel agency a very kind lady who I may now call a friend helped me some more. I am overwhelmed with gratefulness. Here I am, happy to have attended the Start-Up program and looking forward to learning more and praying to God for guidance.

So the gist of the matter is, I am a happy mum who hopes to implement a wonderful relationship with her child and is riding a not so easy moment with lots of hope in her heart and THANK YOU is not enough for what I feel. I still remember William's words, “If you do what you've always done, you will get what you've always got.” Now I'm trying to do different, bit by bit, day by day. I feel the difference already.

About Antonio ... we are going on with the Italian program and I play with Antonio after school in a quiet room in the house. Knowing what the little guy is exposed to (he's always putting his fingers in his ears and he seems to have problems with too much light in his eyes), I find him very brave as he bears it tolerably. Drums a lot to digest it all.

When we went to the doctor, just weeks after starting the program at home, she told me that she found him more attentive. His attention span has increased. He is also tagging or pulling at one's arm when looking for attention. The child psychologist last Saturday reported the same thing and what's more, my son has always required that I enter the room, hence assisting in every session. Well, this time he went in along with the doctor and told me, “See you later.”

At school, his teacher who speaks English as well, read up and watched my DVD (Kyle’s Journey, Jade and “I want my little boy back”). Now she's changing, bit by bit and I do appreciate that very much. He seems to be OK with her and actually sent me away from class this morning, again telling me, “See you later.”

He is now ONE HUGE GREENLIGHT and I'm hoping to be able to really have volunteers (still looking), raise funds and settle down to business.

God bless,



Dear Donor,

I am the mother of three children, all on the Autism Spectrum. Before I heard of the Son-Rise Program and the Option Institute, I was a desperate, angry and depressed person…. I was on Anti-depressants, sleeping multiple hours of the day, and for a period of time, using alcohol to run away from my pain.

Then I heard of the Son-Rise Program. I called to find out more about it and thought “this if for me!” But I could not afford it. You see raising one child with Autism is very expensive but raising three is just outrageously expensive with all the therapies and dietary interventions that we were doing.

But I was offered a full scholarship to the SRSU program. I have since attended all of the Son-Rise Programs and many of the Personal Growth programs offered by the Option Institute.  Each time I have been given a scholarship and each time I go I learn more about who I am and I change for the better each and every time.  Because of your most generous support, my children are recovering from Autism, I have found happiness in my life!  I am no longer on anti-depressants and I have so much more energy.

YOU are the reason that my family is in recovery. It is because of YOU that my oldest son now is enjoying school.  YOU are the reason my second son is speaking. YOU are the reason my daughter is no longer as rigid and controlling as she once was.  Thank you does not even begin to cover how much gratitude I have for you.  I thank God every day for you and I do not even know you.

Please know that you are changing lives with your donation to ATCA and the OI.  It is because of you that every day people are getting the help that they need. Thank you, thank you and thank you!

With so much love,

Kerry Rihtar