FRR 175: Body Image Series: 4 Misconceptions About Body Acceptance

SummerBody Image, Eat the Rules, Self-Love, Self-WorthLeave a Comment

In this episode of Fearless Rebelle Radio I’m continuing the body image series, talking all about body acceptance and how to make the work more accessible.

I also unpack 4 misconceptions about body acceptance that will help you shift your perspective and make accepting your body easier.

In This Episode, We Chat About

  • How body acceptance doesn’t mean loving every part of your body,
  • That body acceptance doesn’t follow the magical thinking of diet culture,
  • Learning to be more compassionate with yourself,
  • Facing and rejecting the fears that keep us from acceptance,
  • Welcoming bad days along with the good ones,
  • How when we are owning who we are it is often uncomfortable, but also the most gratifying,
  • The importance of choosing yourself and making space for all the different parts of yourself,
  • That taking care of yourself looks different to everyone and can change day to day,
  • How body acceptance is intertwined with self-care,
  • That this is a process and the work is continuous,
  • The importance of speaking more compassionately to yourself,
  • Why this work is not about eliminating self-doubt completely,
  • The resilience that comes out of doing this work,
  • Plus so much more!

Stream it Here

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Links Mentioned in Show

Episode Transcript

Episode 175:

SUMMER: This episode of Fearless Rebelle Radio is brought to you by You on Fire. You on Fire is the amazing, 12-week online group coaching program that I run, where we build up your worth from the ground up, so that it’s no longer hinging on the way that you look. It’s got personalized coaching from me and incredible community support, plus life-time access. Get details on what’s included in this program, and sign up to be notified when doors open for the next cycle, by going to summerinnanen.com/youonfire. I would love to have you in that program and in that group.

INTRO: This is Fearless Rebelle Radio, a podcast about body positivity, self-worth, anti-dieting, and Feminism. I am your host, Summer Innanen, a professionally trained coach specialising in body image, self-worth, and confidence, and the best-selling author of Body Image Remix. If you’re ready to break free of societal standards and stop living behind the number on your scale, then you have come to the right place! Welcome to the show.

This is Episode 175, and this is another segment of the Body Image Series, and I’m unpacking four misconceptions about body acceptance that will help you shift your perspective and make accepting your body easier. You can find all the links and resources mentioned in this episode at summerinnanen.com/175.

Before we get started, I want to give a shoutout to @SquirrelHero… That’s an amazing handle… who left this fantastic review: “Through her work in this podcast, Summer has helped me so much on my journey to body acceptance and positivity, and has helped open my mind to issues and topics in this field that hadn’t crossed my path before. When I listen to her spout her wisdom and interview others, I feel as if I’m listening to the sage advice of an old friend, and I feel in good hands. Keep up the good work, Summer, rock on!”

Thank you so much, @SquirrelHero, that’s awesome. Such a lovely review. You can leave a review by going to iTunes, click Ratings and Reviews, and click to leave a review. It means a lot to me. It helps others to find this show, it helps it in the rankings, and therefore helps others to find the information. And you can also subscribe to the show, that’s another easy way that you can help me out. You can do that via whatever podcast platform you use to listen to this podcast.

And if you haven’t already done so, make sure that you get the free Ten-Day Body Confidence Makeover at summerinnanen.com/freebie, with ten steps to take right now to feel better in your body.

And I don’t think I’ve mentioned this for awhile, but if you just go to thebodyimagecoach.com, that will redirect you to my website, so you can always do that if you are confused as to how you spell my name. But if you’re listening to this podcast, it’s in the title, so you can check there.

Alright, before we get into this episode, I just want to say, I just got back from being off-the-grid mostly, and away for about ten days, or a little bit more, and off-the-grid for about two weeks. And it was just so lovely.

Didn’t go anywhere far, just went on an hour-long ferry ride to the island, Vancouver Island… ‘The Island” sounds so tropical. It’s the Pacific Northwest as well, so hardly tropical, but very tropic in its own way, I should say. It is still a rain forest. It was so nice, and it really helped reset my relationship with my screen, my phone, and specifically social media. I think I’d gotten into this really bad pattern of just endlessly scrolling and using that to procrastinate and numb out, and just kind of avoid thinking about things that I needed to think about, or avoid making decisions that I needed to make, and it’s this really interesting thing, because it starts to spiral and become more addictive. At least, that’s my experience.

And I really had some pretty solid boundaries around it, and they had started to go by the wayside, and I was using it more and more, my screen time was increasing, and I was just finding, every time I went to the bathroom, I would bring my phone and just look at it, and it wasn’t recharging me.

And so, I wanted to take a break. I used to always take like two-week breaks off social media, and I hadn’t done that in so long. I can’t remember the last time I did it. And so, it was so nice, because now I’ve come back with feeling much more centered and much more in control, and like I’ve reclaimed my power from my phone, because it really had its power over me for quite awhile.

And if you can relate to that, you’re not alone, because I’ve suffered from the same thing. I think we all do. And what I’m really trying to do is maintain some of those boundaries and really ask myself, is this recharging me if I’m looking at my phone? What am I getting out of this? And trying to really keep it for business purposes, or some entertainment purposes, but not mindlessly scrolling, and also for reading the news, but not getting so immersed in it that I go down a rabbit hole and start to feel endless anxiety.

But yeah, I just wanted to share that with you. I think it’s possible. You’ve just got to kind of hit that reset button, and it gets you back on track. And so for me, it was really important to take those two weeks away from it to get back to a place where I feel much more level-headed and centered, and hopefully I can maintain it. I’m making a commitment here.

Okay, let’s get into this week’s episode. This is another episode in the Body Image Series. If you’ve been a listener of this podcast, then you’ll know that the Body Image Series is a series of solo episodes where I deep-dive into body image and self-worth, and give you specific ways to be more accepting of your body and who you are. I did about six or seven of these episodes earlier in 2020, before the pandemic, and I talked about how to build our self-worth outside of our appearance, how to overcome comparisons, how to feel better in your body, how to navigate social situations when you feel self-conscious, how to stop caring so much about what others think, and more.

You can find those episodes, they are number 158 through to 163. And they are available just wherever you’re listening to podcasts, or if you want to find the web page for them with the show notes and the free downloads that went with each episode, you can go to summerinnanen.com/158, 159, 160, etc.

The reason why I wanted to do another episode of the Body Image Series (and that’s what I’ll do going forward, I’ll periodically do some Body Image Series episodes), but the last two weeks of this show, I shared my personal story of recovery from decades of chronic dieting, and the lessons I learned along the way. Thank you all for your kind words about those episodes! And if you missed them, you can listen to those, Episodes 174, part 1 and part 2. Again, by going to summerinnanen.com/174, both the parts are there, or you can just look at the last two episodes, via whatever podcast platform you’re using.

But I wanted to expand on some of that. So I talked about the mistakes that I made along the way, some of the fears that were in the way, some of the lessons that I learned, and I wanted to expand on a piece of that by talking about four misconceptions about accepting your body.

So I’ve talked in the past about the fears that get in the way. I’ve talked about that in Episode 161, Detaching from the Thin Ideal. I talked about the things that really got in the way of us accepting our body, from the things that block us from even doing this work, like the idea of, “I can’t possibly accept this body” or “What’s going to happen to me if I accept this body?” Or like, “I’m too afraid to deal with the emotions underneath.” And I talk about all those in that episode, so definitely check that out.

But I wanted to talk about some misconceptions that people have about what it means to accept your body, and then the corresponding truth to the matter. And I’m hoping that by doing this, it can clear up maybe some confusion for you, make the work more accessible, lower the expectations that we associate with it, and help you to move forward in a way so you’re not doubting yourself and thinking like, “What am I doing by working on accepting myself? I feel like the black sheep,” or “Why don’t I love my body?” Like all these kinds of doubts and fears that come in the way. I’m hoping that this will nip those in the bud, and help make this work easier for you. So let’s dive in.

The first misconception is conflating acceptance with loving your body. If you’ve been following me for awhile, you’ve probably heard me talk a little bit about this. The misconception is really that we think we have to love every single part of ourselves, and that when we talk about doing body acceptance work, we imagine that, looking in the mirror, and thinking, “I’m so attractive,” or “I’m so hot,” and we really minimize it to think that it’s strictly about our body. Like, “I need to like my stomach” or “I want to like the way my arms look.”

We think it’s about finding ourselves “beautiful,” and beauty in that sense really meaning attractiveness or prettiness. And therefore making it about our desirability. And we don’t want to do that. This work is not about finding ourselves attractive. You don’t have to be pretty or think that you’re attractive to feel good enough inside.

I want you to not care about your body, so that you can do beautiful things and notice beautiful things in this world, and admire the inner beauty of others, and create beauty with the impact that you have, just by existing. That’s really what it’s all about.

And the other piece of this misconception is just that we think it’s about being confident, and being confident all the time. And never having our feelings hurt by criticism.

And that’s not true, at all. We are complex beings, with feelings. And we have to be really careful that we’re not applying the magical thinking of dieting to body acceptance. Standing in our power opens us up to judgment and criticism, and I think that we can become more loyal to our values and our beliefs about who we are, but I don’t think we can make ourselves bulletproof to criticism that touches the tender spots within us.

And that’s especially true given the culture that we live in, where certain bodies, specifically thinner, white, younger, cis, able-bodied, are dominant and hold more social power. It’s really impossible to make yourself immune to that messaging and the various layers of systemic oppression that you may experience given your identities.

And so the objective is not to be bulletproof to criticism and be like, “I love myself, no one can hurt me…” That is probably more of a defense mechanism. It’s about recognizing, I have a lot of feelings. I have some tender spots. How can I better become resilient to the messaging in this culture? How can I learn to be more compassionate with myself? How can I learn to overcome some of my fears, so that I can exist in the best way possible, knowing that I’m still going to be exposed to these messages and perhaps experiences based on my identity?

And so, that’s, in a nutshell, accepting your body doesn’t mean that you think you’re hot, if I were to summarize that. And it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to totally not care what people think, because that’s just not true either. But to take a step back for a second and just to really talk about our body image and where it comes from: body image is the result of social oppressions and psychological factors.

So as I mentioned, social oppressions are things like sexism, classism, racism, ableism, ageism, heterosexism, size discrimination… and they all have an influence on the beliefs we have about ourselves. They all have an influence on our body image.

And obviously size discrimination is closely tied to body image, in that it instills a belief that fat is bad and thin is good. But all of those oppressive systems can overtly and subtly inculcate a belief of inferiority in a particular individual, depending on their identity. And that’s really important to understand, because it’s not our fault if we have a poor body image. It’s not our fault if we struggle to accept ourselves. It’s because we’ve learned and believed these things based on our culture.

And that’s also why everybody’s experience with accepting their body is going to be different, because everyone has a different identity. And that’s really important to understand. But coming back to just the root of acceptance. When I talk about acceptance, it’s really about accepting what is, and that means that you’re going to have parts of yourselves that you like, parts of yourselves that you don’t like, and parts of yourselves that you feel neutral about. It’s about, most importantly, divesting your worth from your appearance, so that you can get to a place where you know you’re valuable and worthy, regardless of how you look, so you don’t really think about your body anymore.

My ultimate goal is to have somebody be able to wake up, look in the mirror, either like what they see or not like what they see, but then just be able to get on with their day, and not really let it shake them that much.

Maybe it’s kind of, “Ehh, not feeling it today, but that’s okay, I’ve got shit to get done.” Or maybe it’s like “Oh, I am feeling myself today! Cool!” That’s okay too. But knowing that your value is really outside of your appearance, so that it doesn’t matter so much anymore. And the core of that is really about having acceptance of our whole selves, and knowing that we’re not striving for some level of perfection, we’re not striving to love every part of ourselves, we’re not striving to put our value in somebody else’s hands.

And so, the way that I teach this is about letting go of who we think we should be. We have this list of should’s that have been passed on, these scripts that we’ve been given from our culture, about who we should be. And we need to really break up with those, burn them, burn those scripts, and come to the core of who we really are. So instead of thinking, “I should be thinner, I should be more productive, I should call my mother more often…”, it’s really about owning who we are.

And to do that, we have to understand why we have these and the fears that we have that created those. And that makes it a lot easier to then reject them. What I teach is really about understanding our worth. Knowing our worth, and our worth is really two things: it’s about knowing who we are, and knowing that who we are is valuable and worthy. And getting rid of who we are not, and letting go of the fear that keeps us hanging on to those parts of ourselves.

And in order to build those blocks of knowing who we are, knowing who we are is really about understanding our values, the things that really give us fulfillment, the parts of ourselves that, when we are expressing them, we feel most authentic, and knowing that who we are is valuable and worthy is really about challenging the beliefs that we’ve been given about what it means to be in a body and exist in this culture.

And doing a lot of work around having compassion for the beliefs that we do hold, and really strengthening our inner self-talk to be able to treat ourselves like the worthy individual that we are. And it’s messy, it’s imperfect, it’s got ups and downs, but you’re not thinking about your body so much anymore, and you’re spending a lot more time living your life, and that’s what’s so powerful.

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The second misconception is that acceptance means that you are good all the time. This is kind of similar to the first one, but really talking about an overall perspective of this pressure to feel good about yourself every day, and if we have a bad day or a bad moment, we’re failing at this, or something is wrong with us. It’s kind of like that #positivevibesonly bullshit.

That is such a misconception, and where that really will hold us back is in, again, thinking we’re defective if we have a bad day or a bad moment, thinking we’re doing something wrong, thinking we’re doubting ourselves. Looking at everyone else and thinking, “Oh, they just must be so positive and happy all the time.” No.

Acceptance, again, is about accepting what is there, if that is shame, that is what we’re accepting. If that is sadness or loneliness or isolation or uncertainty, we’re accepting all of that. We’re welcoming it all in, in the same way that we welcome in joy and pleasure and excitement and gratitude, and all of this whole spectrum of emotions that we will feel.

And the other part of this is, this work is not linear or consistent, and I think that’s the other thing, is that we expect it to be like, Okay, I take one step forward, and I keep moving forward, and I don’t have a bad day again. And then, that ends up in you double-downing on shame if you have a bad day.

That’s not what we want to do. We want to build resiliency and prioritize compassion over perfectionism, and trying to be confident all the time. And the reason why we have this expectation that accepting ourselves means that we’re going to feel so damn good every day is because of perfectionism. It’s this notion that we have to like every part of ourselves, and feel good all the time, be productive all the time, be the best version of ourselves every day.

And that is just so ridiculous. You’re never going to be the best version of yourself every day. We have to welcome all the different parts of ourselves, we have to see ourselves as dynamic, and going through all these different waves of experiences and emotions and everything else.

And that can be really scary for some people, I think. Some people aren’t as in touch with their emotions, which is totally fine, I work with a lot of people like that. But that can feel really scary, because it feels like you’re out of control. But honestly, it offers you a place to operate in the present moment, instead of trying to stuff down feelings and mask them and turn to avoidance and coping mechanisms, and the diet mentality, and body shame, and everything else that comes from pushing down emotions, as a result.

It seems scary, but it’s not, and then you get to experience all the amazing things like joy, on a much greater level when you can allow yourself to experience all the emotions. And so we’re not erasing all emotional discomfort. I think that’s the key takeaway there. Body acceptance is not about erasing all emotional discomfort.

The truth is that acceptance is about accepting the wide range of what makes you who you are, and not just what is deemed good. We are supposed to experience a wide range of emotions, as I said. I like to think about us being a bird, and one wing is the more “negative” emotions, and the other is the more “positive” emotions. We’re looking for a balance there, in order to remain in flight, for lack of better expression. But I like that metaphor, because when we push emotions down, it only results in increased shame and discomfort. And the truth is, it’s not about thinking you’re good all the time, it’s about knowing you’re good enough outside of your appearance, as I said before, and sometimes, some of the biggest acts of self-love are really the most painful, if you think about it.

If you’ve ever had to set a boundary or leave a relationship or stand up for yourself or leave a job or a friendship or something because you were advocating for yourself and you were being harmed in that relationship or that situation. You are sometimes putting yourself into the fire by letting your whole self be seen. And so I think that’s really important to recognize that when we are really owning who we are, when we are standing in our values and operating our life from that way, it is often uncomfortable, but often the most gratifying, because we are giving our power back to ourselves. We are choosing ourselves, and not letting ourselves be harmed by others anymore.

And so what I teach is really about making space for and acknowledging all the different parts of ourselves, even the ones that we don’t really want to look at, the tender spots, and accepting that. And having compassion for all those different parts of ourselves. And also, celebrating feelings on both ends of the spectrum.

So I always say, crying is your eyes having an orgasm, I think that that’s really important, it’s a good reframe if you’re one of those people who’s afraid to sort of go there and feel your emotions. It’s a release. You always feel better afterwards. It’s like my toddler: sometimes he just needs a good tantrum. Sometimes he just needs to lay on the floor and scream and kick his legs and cry, and I don’t go there and say, “It’s okay, stop.” I’m like, “You need to have your feelings right now. I hear you. You’re feeling like this is really hard for you.”

And I’m there with him through it, and then he’s so much better afterwards, and he sleeps really well, and he’s great, and it’s like, we lose that ability as adults, because we’re given these messages that our emotions aren’t safe, and they’re to be avoided, and we need to put a band-aid over it right away and fix it, whereas, if we start to behave like toddlers, or tap into our toddler emotions, we can really start to feel that relief that we get when we actually move through those feelings, instead of constantly stuffing them down, and then again, relying on coping mechanisms like avoidance and body shame and other things that don’t make us feel good.

So that’s just one piece of it, feeling emotions, but it’s a big piece of it. And it’s about accepting all those, that we do that as well. And accepting our body, all the different parts of it, too, knowing that we don’t have to like our stomach, just accepting what is.

So again, it’s not about feeling good all the time, it’s just about accepting what is, but through that, ultimately, it’s a greater sense of peace, a greater sense of freedom, and that is huge, to have more space in your mind to be able to focus on the things that you want to do, or even just have more space in your mind to notice the fact that the leaves on the trees are starting to change, or things like that, that you normally don’t even notice because you’re so inside your head. That’s what this work is all about. So when I talk about acceptance, it’s about freeing yourself of those negative thoughts, and being able to work through them with a sense of compassion, so that they’re not just occupying your mind all the time.

The third misconception is that: If I accept my body, I’m not going to take care of myself. And that’s a huge one. Like, If I accept my body, I’m just going to “let myself go,” I’m giving up, and I won’t take care of myself. And I don’t know why I have to deepen my voice when I say that, but I kind of picture some dude on the internet saying that. And that’s just pure bullshit. But I think it’s a big confusion, because diet culture has taught us that taking care of ourselves means being thinner, and that means eating salads and working out really hard.

Like, listen, I love salads, I really do, I actually do, but it comes from a place of, I enjoy eating that. And I eat it when I want to eat it. And then I don’t eat it when I don’t want to eat it. I don’t eat it because I “should” eat it, or I’m trying to lose weight, or any of that stuff. But anyways, besides the point, but I just conflate salads with diet culture because they often go hand in hand. But it’s a huge misconception. But it really does come from fatphobia and diet culture.

So this idea that you’re not taking care of yourself if you accept your body, is really rooted in fatphobia. And so, what I want you to think about instead is, what does taking care of yourself mean to you? What comes to mind when you say that? And if you’re immersed in diet culture, then it might mean like, okay, watching my weight, avoiding certain foods, working out X number of times a week.

But what is the real emotional and physical toll on you by doing that? And often, if you’re immersed in dieting and diet culture, it’s not taking care of yourself. It’s depriving yourself, it’s punishing yourself, it’s basically hating yourself, it’s not treating yourself with compassion, it’s not listening to your body’s needs. It’s listening to some playbook by somebody else who is really rooted in fatphobia.

And that is what we want to get away from, and we want to redefine what it means to take care of yourself. So the truth is, taking care of yourself is subjective, it’s not an obligation, and it’s only something that you can define for yourself. And it’s about making choices with your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being in mind, knowing that sometimes, you need to sacrifice one to honor the other, or that sometimes, none of those are honored, because you’re not perfect.

The question I like to ask people is: if you remove the pursuit of thinness out of the equation, what would taking care of yourself look like? What would that look like to you?

Some people don’t even know because everything that they’ve been doing has been out of the pursuit of thinness, which I totally get, because I lived that way for so long. But just to give you some examples, when I take care of myself, it can look like a whole bunch of different things. Sometimes it means eating a giant bowl of ice cream, because it’s delicious. And sometimes it means I have a chicken salad for lunch, because that’s what I feel like. Sometimes it means I go to the gym, sometimes it means I stay on the couch and… I don’t do a lot of staying on the couch these days, but back in the day, it meant staying on the couch and watching tons of TV. I say that because I have a toddler, it’s not like I can just lay on the couch all day. Oh, I wish. I miss those days.

But sometimes, it means eating something I don’t really like, or something that makes me bloated, because there’s no other options available, but I’m hungry. Sometimes it means eating whatever’s in my cupboard because life is really busy and I don’t have a lot of time to cook. Sometimes it means spending an hour cooking a recipe. Sometimes it means taking time off from an activity that I love, because my knee hurts. Sometimes it means working through knee pain in order to do a hike I’ve been dreaming about for months. Again, something I haven’t done in a long time, but I wrote this awhile ago. Sometimes it means staying up late, so I can socialize and be with friends, and then feeling terrible later. And sometimes it means saying no to friends because I really just need my sleep.

So you can see, the point is that it’s not one size fits all, and that it’s about deciding on a daily and moment-to-moment basis, what my needs are, based on my physical, my mental, and my spiritual well-being, and that there’s always going to be some sacrifice, or maybe not always, but often there is a little bit of a sacrifice there. But often there are a lot of things that are your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being in mind. That’s awesome too.

And so what I teach is helping people to connect with their body’s needs, versus your should’s. And about taking care of yourself by choosing what you want to do, and/or need in that moment. And knowing that what’s best for you may not always be “the best for your health, according to the internet,” or the best according to someone else’s opinion, and that’s okay, because taking care of yourself, again, is subjective, not an obligation, and is only something you can define for yourself.

And that non-obligation part is really important. And I’ll also just add, sometimes not accessible to individuals, based on their experiences, based on their abilities, based on their access to things. And so I think that obviously there’s a level of privilege involved that comes with being able to say, “I can take care of myself however I want.” Not everybody can do that. So I think we have to acknowledge that as well, what is actually accessible to us, and try to make the best of what we are able to do, and then looking for ways to try to change the systems, and make things more accessible for others, if we are able to do so.

But ultimately, it’s about saying no to the should’s, like “Oh, I should work out,” or “I shouldn’t eat that.” We want to say no to the should’s, and the judgment, and the guilt, and say yes to really doing what is best for us, and being the best advocate that we can be for our body and our health and our life. The way that you choose to take care of yourself doesn’t define your worth. It doesn’t make you a better or worse human. And so, I think that that’s a key piece of it as well. Taking away any kind of moral meaning to taking care of yourself.

I also like to teach a very broad look at self care, so that we’re not just looking at physical stuff, we’re looking at emotional stuff, we’re looking at the not-so-fun forms of self care, the boring self care, the things that we really need to do to take care of ourselves. And I really can’t think of any better way to take care of yourself than accepting who you are, valuing who you are, respecting yourself, trusting yourself, having compassion for yourself.

So if someone honestly believes that if they accept their body, they’re not going to take care of themselves, they really haven’t thought it through to the point of, What does it mean to accept yourself? It means having compassion, having respect, having trust, knowing your value outside of your appearance. I really can’t think of any better way to take care of yourself.

The last misconception I want to talk about is just the idea that it’s a one-and-done job. The idea that if we read some books, follow some Instagram accounts, we should feel better. Or that we do some work and learn some tools, and then just leave it there. But that’s just not true, because until our culture changes, we’re going to constantly have these messages reinforced.

We’re going to be constantly facing advertisements and friends and just experiences in life that reinforce this notion that we’re not good enough, or that we’re more subordinate compared to other groups of individuals. And the other thing too is that when we talk about changing beliefs, some of that stuff has been in there for decades, and it’s not just about, okay, I’m going to change that belief. It’s like, No, you’re going to have this tender spot in you. You have to learn how to live with that, and it’s a part of you that you have to have compassion for and be sensitive to, and that’s an ongoing life-long thing.

When I’m working with clients, we always discover what I call your tender spot, and that’s just certain beliefs that you have about yourself, whether it’s like, I believe I don’t belong, or I believe that everyone’s needs have to come before my own. Something that’s heavily reinforced in childhood, that is always going to be really tender if it gets triggered. And that’s not something that we can just make go away, it’s something that we have to acknowledge and care for, and always be compassionate towards.

And all that feeds into our body image, so I know I’m talking about other things beyond body, but that’s because really this work is about knowing that we’re good enough regardless of our body size. And so the truth is that changing how we feel about ourselves is about changing our thoughts, and changing our behaviors, and if we don’t focus on addressing our thoughts and then making behavioral changes, then we’re going to stay where we are. So we have to be intentional with changing the way we speak to ourselves. For example, actively working on speaking more compassionately, and taking the required steps to move to a place where we think, “Okay, I maybe don’t really like my stomach, but I feel fine today, I’m going to go to the beach in my bikini anyways”.

And all these tools have to be used on an ongoing basis. If you stop actively practicing compassion, the negative thoughts return. If you let your self care go by the wayside, the negative thoughts are going to return. We want to work on continuing to become more resilient to messages in our culture, and using our resources to then help to change this culture. And in order to do that, we have to be always leveraging, using our tools or reaching out for support, and doing the things that we learned to do, to reinforce this belief that we are valuable and worthy and good enough as is.

And so what I teach is really that it’s not a quick fix, it really isn’t. It’s a life-long process. But that being said, I do think that we can get to a point where we really just don’t think about our body as much anymore, or very much at all. But this belief that we are not good enough is something that we always have to be really tending to, and because the thing is that self-doubt, fear, lack of worthiness, all those things are going to keep showing up in our lives, one because the culture that we live in, and two because anytime we step outside of our comfort zone, those things start to fire up again.

And so, that’s something I learned early on, from the get-go, when I worked with Tara Moor and did her Playing Big Facilitators Training Program, to help build my coaching, just that self-doubt gets loud anytime we’re outside our comfort zone. But in order to live a life where we are owning who we are, taking up space, going after our dreams, we are going to be outside of our comfort zone, and therefore self-doubt is going to be there. So that’s why we always have to be tending to that part of ourselves, learning how to work through it. It’s never about eliminating it completely, and those are the tools that I give in my programs, and to the people I work with, to help with that as well.

And those tools can be used on a daily basis, without having to spend a lot of time on them. It’s really just about shifting the way that you’re thinking, re-framing things, and feeling things through in the moment. And it makes it quite easy. And so that’s, having expectations that it’s a quick fix, or that it’s a one-and-done job, is again kind of the mentality of diet culture. It’s sort of that magical thinking.

And I guess the whole point of this episode is that it’s not like that. We cannot apply that magical thinking of diet culture to working on accepting our bodies, and we have to understand that it’s going to be a process, there’s going to be ups and downs, it’s never just going to be like, “Okay, I got to this place, and I feel good about myself every single day, all the time, and it’s awesome!”

It’s just not like that. There’s always going to be ups and downs, but you’re going to have such a greater sense of peace and freedom in your mind, you’re going to be able to have access to tools and ways of thinking about things to help you in the moment to be able to work through those moments when self-doubt or fear or a feeling of unworthiness arises, and to just be so much more attuned to your own needs and who you are, so that other people’s opinions and comparisons and things like that don’t shake you as much, so you just become so much more resilient to living in this culture. And that’s really what it’s all about, that’s what’s so awesome.

So hopefully that helped to give you just a little bit more of a reference point to what this work is all about. And if you’ve been struggling with it, maybe this is perhaps why. And if you’re curious to learn more, you can always check out my program You On Fire. All the things I mentioned here in terms of what I teach, are things that I teach in my program You On Fire, the three-month group online coaching program. You can go to summerinnanen.com/youonfire to get details about that.

Okay, cool! So that’s a wrap on this episode. You can find all the links and resources mentioned in this one at summerinnanen.com/175. Thank you so much for listening today, I really appreciate it. I’ll be curious to know what you took away from this one, so definitely DM me or email me, send me a message, I’d love to know. Talk to you later, rock on!

OUTRO: I’m Summer Innanen and I want to thank you for listening today. You can follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, @SummerInnanen. If you haven’t yet, go to Apple Podcasts and subscribe, rate, and review this show. I would be so grateful. Until next time, rock on!

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