Why Body Acceptance is Not Failing
What the hell is body acceptance anyway?
Body acceptance means learning to embrace yourself just as you are, lumps, bumps, scars, sags, dimples and all. It means stopping try to shrink, mould or change how you look through restriction or excessive exercise. And it means giving up that there’s a point in the future where your body will have conformed in such a way that you’re happy.
For a LOT of my clients getting to this phase feels a long way off. It feels like a whole different planet away sometimes.
Holding on to diet mentality.
There’s always a bit of resistance to the idea of total acceptance because, for some, it has connotations with ‘giving up’. This is because diets tell us that if we can just ‘do better’, then we’ll look better, feel better and be happier.
I think a lot of people think ‘if I decide to accept my body, this thing which I hate, which gives me so much sadness and grief, which refuses to comply and leaves me feeling disgusted - then it will be the end’. That if you choose to accept yourself then it will mean living in sorrow for ever.
I promise you body acceptance isn’t giving up. It doesn’t mean living with hating yourself forever.
Self-acceptance is in fact, quite the opposite. It’s choosing freedom.
When you choose to learn (and it really is a slow learn) to accept your body you are getting off the vicious cycle that is keeping your traps.
How many diets or lifestyle programme or fitness programmes have you been on in your lifetime?
And what do you think the odds are of no. 56 being ‘the one’ that solves all your problems?
Diets and the pursuit of weight loss are keeping you trapped.
You may feel like you’re moving forward every time you start a new lifestyle plan, detox or restricted eating programme. I remember well the feeling of happiness when I stepped on the scales the first week of a new diet and seeing the number had gone down. But it’s only going to be a certain amount of time will your willpower wanes and slips start to happen. When the number starts to go up again it feeds into your negative thoughts that you’re a failure. We then give up that diet entirely until the next shiny looking diet plan (detox, lifestyle programme whatever, they’re all the same) comes around and you think that THIS TIME, it’ll work.
Einstein said that madness is continuing to do the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Well, guess what diets are doing to you?
Letting go of the idea that you need to change your body sets you free because you can finally get off that treadmill (I mean figuratively but you could see it as literally if you’ve been slamming it recently) of self-loathing.
Saying you’ll never diet again isn’t failing or settling.
You’re not getting the 2nd prize by choosing self-acceptance. You’re actually winning because it’s the START of allowing new opportunities to flood in.
When you can accept ‘what is’ (i.e. that this vessel you live in is the only one you’ve got) you create space for compassion, kindness, self-reflection. These take time to cultivate but they take you down the path to good self-esteem, body confidence and eventually self-love.
Body-acceptance doesn’t mean you’re never going to change.
It definitely doesn’t mean you’re suddenly going to never get out of your tracky-b’s (that's sweatpants to my US readers). It doesn’t mean you’re going to descend into only eating ice cream and never looking after yourself. No way!
When you stop trying to change yourself you begin to learn how to make yourself happy. When you start to feed your body kindness it’ll be amazing what you’ll discover.
You’ll find new ways to heal, new ways to kindness and new ways of looking at yourself.
New is goooooood! Because old wasn’t working.
Different path = different options i.e. out of the madness. Yay!
When you’re out of the self-hate cycle you have new opportunities to properly move forward.
The thing about this route is that it’s no quick fix. There are no quick sells, no magic pills, detox teas or chocolate shakes to a faster result. It’s way less sexier.
Importantly, body acceptance doesn’t mean you have to pretend to be happy all the time! I don’t LOVE my body every day, hell no! There are times I wish I looked different still.
You have to allow yourself to be a slow learner. A beginner at first who is going to trip up and make mistakes. But it’s worth it because the end destination is a much much kinder place to be.
To being, ask yourself today what is it about acceptance that I am so scared about?
If you want a kick start on your way to body acceptance then get your place on the new Body Hang Up Shakedown now!
I'll see you soon.
Love Harri Rose