ETR 187: What Body Acceptance Really Means (Body Image Series)

SummerBody Image, Eat the Rules, Self-Love, Self-Worth

Podcast on What Body Acceptance Really Means
What Body Acceptance Really Means

In this episode of Eat the Rules, I’m talking about what body acceptance really means, as part of the Body Image Series.

I also explore why body acceptance can feel counterintuitive to the way we’ve been conditioned to think and game-changing reframes to help make it feel more intuitive.

In This Episode, I Chat About

  • Why we believe body acceptance feels like letting ourselves go,
  • That diet-culture wants you to believe you’re a failure and you’re giving up if you opt-out,
  • The difference between healthy and unhealthy self-care and why acceptance supports the former,
  • Examples of healthy self-care and how it comes from a place of compassion and kindness,
  • Examples of unhealthy self-care and how it comes from a place of inadequacy,
  • The three main fears to challenge and call-out in order to move to a place where acceptance feels doable,
  • How when we hinge our self-worth on the external, we’re never going to feel good enough,
  • Two game-changing reframes on acceptance to make it feel totally doable,
  • How acceptance is a life-long, daily practice,
  • Plus so much more!

Stream it Here

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Links Mentioned in Show


    This episode of eat the rules is brought to you by you on fire you on fire is the online group coaching program that I run that gives you a step by step way of building up your self worth beyond your appearance. With personalized coaching from me incredible community support and lifetime access to the program so that you can get free from body shame and live life on your own terms. Get details on what’s included and sign up for the next cycle at summer forward slash you on fire. I’d love to have you in that group. This is eat the rules, a podcast about body image self worth, anti dieting, and intersectional feminism. I am your host summer Innanen, a professionally trained coach specializing 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 187. And this is another segment of the body image series where I am talking about the question does body acceptance mean you’ll let yourself go and I’m gonna talk about a whole bunch of other stuff that feeds into that you can find all the links and resources mentioned in this episode at summer forward slash 187. Before we begin, I want to give a shout out to Pharisee phony to one three who left this amazing review a must for self acceptance and healing in my self love Journey and working to accept my body and heal my relationship with food. I found Somers podcast to be super inspiring and helpful. She reminds me why I started this in the first place and gets me excited about the possibilities of freedom to love myself and freedom around for your food. A lot of helpful information provided here. Thank you so much. I really appreciate that review that is so kind of you. If you haven’t already left a review, you can do so by going to iTunes, select ratings and reviews and click to leave a review. I’d be so grateful if you did and you can also help out the show by subscribing to the podcast, you can do that by searching for eat the rules on any platform that you use to listen to podcasts, whether that’s stitcher or Spotify, or Apple podcasts, and just hit the little subscribe button there. And if you haven’t already done so make sure you grab the free 10 Day body confidence makeover at summer Forward slash freebies with 10 steps to take right now to feel better in your body. The other day, before we get in, I’ll just do a little I’m just gonna riff for a bit. I’m just gonna freestyle that No. The other day I was I was talking to my friend and she was like, Did I tell you this already? I can’t remember if I told you this already. And she was telling me something. And I was saying to her, this happens to me all the time. Like I will ask my husband, I’m like, Did I tell you this? Or did I just have that conversation in my head and my end because I just I just don’t remember. And I think that’s that’s a product of like having a child, your your mind just gets occupied with so many other things like to dues and and just stuff that’s going on. And you just don’t have the same memory capacity that you used to. And maybe that’s just like an aging thing or living in a pandemic and the stress of that. Who knows. But in any event that’s been happening to me recently, and because I was thinking to myself, I was like, What did I talk about in the last episode of this podcast? And did I mention that there were technical difficulties? And that’s why there was a hiatus and I think I did. But in any event you know that’s that’s why the podcast was on hiatus for a little while Oh, vote now that you’re listening to this one, it’s probably been back on for a week or two. But this is another episode that I did live on Facebook. And so now this is the this is the audio This is the recording from it. And before before I get into it, I just I just want to mention a couple of things that I that I listened to that I listened to that I read and watched recently. So number one is reading the book on tamed by Glennon Doyle and it’s phenomenal. And I knew it was going to be good. I just I just hadn’t got around to reading it. What’s so what I find so cool is that you know, in my program I call the participants the untameable. So in my you ON FIRE program, like that’s kind of the tagline for the program is this idea of like getting untamed. And so when she came up with that book, I was like, Okay, well

    this is obviously like we’re gonna be in alignment here. And she uses like this metaphor of sort of like living in a cage and then breaking outside of the cage, which is actually something that I had written about back in 2017. Not that I’m implying it Any way that like that, like, she knew about me or read that because it’s like highly not true. And she’d probably already written her book. But anyways, just the idea of it is is like so aligned to everything that I that I that I believe and talk about. And she just has like a way better way of writing these things because he’s a writer. And I just think it’s so good. So So yeah, if you’re looking for a good book to read, I definitely recommend that one. And then if you need a good Netflix show, I just burned through the documentary called The Defiant Ones, which which aired I think it’s kind of old actually, I think it’s came out maybe back in 2018, or 2017. And it’s the story of, of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine and like, both of their their path, the road to success, and then how they came together and partnered and, and then ended up creating what was to become Beats by Dre and Apple Music. In any event, if you like music, like I love, like, I love music, especially stuff from the 90s and even the 80s You’ll love this documentary, it’s so so good. Highly recommend it. It’s only four parts, but I didn’t want it to end. So yeah, so that’s it, maybe I’ll just start sharing what I’m watching on TV because I watch a lot on TV. And, and that’s it to go go to those things. If you want to find some stuff for your brain that’s gonna just make you feel good and distract yourself. Those are my recommendations. Okay, let’s get into this episode. This is another episode of the body image series, which is a series of solo episodes where I deep dive into different topics and questions around body image and self worth, and give you ways to be more accepting of your body and who you are. The past episodes are 158 to 163 174 7175 185 186. And now this is 187. And actually, at the time of this recording, you should be able to find a page on my website that has all the different episodes listed, and then links to each of those episodes, so that they’re more accessible and easy to find. And you can get a brief rundown on what I talked about in each episode. And so what I’ll do, because I don’t know the name of that page yet, it’ll actually you know what it’s gonna be, it’s probably gonna be summer, forward slash body image series, I think. But what I’ll do is I’m going to link it in the show notes for this episode. And then once I know the actual name of the page, I’ll start directing people to it. But if you search that, I’m sure that it’ll come up, or what I’ll do is create a redirect or you’ll, you’ll be able to find it. So let’s get into today’s topic. Today, I wanted to talk to you about this question that I get all the time, or this hesitation around, you know, does body acceptance mean that I’ll let myself go. So I often hear from people who feel resistance towards the idea of acceptance like they they know dieting doesn’t work, but like this idea of acceptance just feels so hard, and so counterintuitive to what the way they’ve been conditioned to think. So what I’m going to talk about is why we believe body acceptance feels like letting ourselves go, the difference between healthy and unhealthy self care and why acceptance facilitates and supports the former, the three main fears to challenge and call out in order to move to a place where acceptance feels doable, and like intuitively feels better. And to Game Changing reframes on acceptance, to just kind of shut down any of those doubts and make it make make it make it make a lot more sense in your head. Make it make a lot more sense. Yeah,

    that’s a good sentence. And so what I wanted to talk about this is because a lot of people you know, love the idea of, of body acceptance, like I think that’s that whole, like sort of concept is becoming a little more mainstream, so to speak. But there’s still like a lot of fear towards actually doing it yourself. And I wanted to get at some of those fears and concerns that people might have around doing this work. So if you’re listening in, it feels like a scarier thing to strive towards. And that alluring pole of diet culture keeps you coming back or that, you know, that sort of dream of the thin ideal keeps you coming back then this episode is is 100% for you. So let’s talk about why we believe body acceptance feels like we’re letting ourselves go. So the idea of acceptance is really counter to everything that we’ve been told, you know, our culture tells us that we always need to be striving for more, and that’s across the board, whether that’s in our careers, our personal lives, in our pursuit for health, you know, there’s always more like you can always be doing better and be doing more, and that’s really kind of like a very like capitalist frame of mind. And that’s how we’ve been brought up to believe we need to be doing and that if we’re not always kind of hustling to be bad or then we’re giving up and we’re failures. And this is especially true when it comes to our bodies. body acceptance is viewed as letting yourself go. That means you’re a failure you’ve given up. And you know, you obviously, like, just don’t care about yourself. And obviously, like, those are all in quotation marks. I don’t believe any of those things. But that’s sort of how it’s viewed culturally. And that’s certainly what diet culture wants you to believe I wrote a meme the other day that says, A person who accepts their body is a threat to the $72 billion diet industry. Like, of course, the diet industry wants you to believe that you’re a failure, and that you’re giving up if you opt out, like they, it’s a business, the diet, industry is a business, they want your money, and the only way they get that is by you believing that by opting out, you’re a failure. Right? Makes sense. And, and so because of all this messaging that we’ve received about weight, and beauty and health, and how those things are a barometer of our worthiness, we think that we’re giving up if we accept ourselves, and, and hating our bodies, and participating in diet culture is so normalized, that it can feel odd to be doing that, and I’ve heard this from from a lot of the people I work with their partner is kind of like, what are you doing? Like, what do you mean? What is this program that you’re doing? Like body acceptance, like, what is that going to? What is that going to mean? And they really doubt it, and they think like, this horrible things are gonna happen to the person, when it’s like, literally the opposite that happens. But what you know, circling back to what I’m saying, you know, diet culture is so normalized. And it makes sense, then that there’s resistance to this concept of acceptance, because when we’re in diet, culture, you know, it feels like we’re in this process of betterment. And that, and all of that is propped up by every message that we’ve internalized from our culture. So therefore, you know, it just feels really counterintuitive to to walk away from that and do something different. And then there’s this added layer of judgment tied to it, because other people don’t understand why you would do that, because they’re all, you know, in mashed in diet culture themselves. And so we sort of feel like we’re the black sheep before rejecting diets, and choosing not to hate our bodies anymore when everyone else still is. And so that can be sort of another barrier mentally to us decided we want to do that, because we might be the odd one out, when the reality is, being a dictator yourself is never going to result in a positive outcome, like Hating Your Body is never going to result in a positive outcome. And the people who truly love you are going to love you, regardless of whether or not you’re dieting, and they’re going to love you regardless of of how you look. So let’s blow up this idea of like, not taking care of yourself, okay. And so the way I’m gonna break this down is looking at the difference between healthy and unhealthy self care, and why acceptance supports healthy self care. So I just mentioned that our culture demands that we always be striving for more. And there’s really kind of the way I see it, there’s really two ways that we can take care of ourselves. And I’m going to call it self care, but it’s just a shorter way of me saying taking care of yourself. The first is healthy self care. And that’s an important thing to remember. Because people think that acceptance means that you just give up and you never care for yourself, and you never eat vegetables, and like all this other shit, which is ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. healthy self care comes from a place of care and compassion and kindness. For example, moving your body because it feels good, or you want to be stronger, you want to be more mobile, wanting to cook a nice meal, because you’re craving something and it feels good. Setting a boundary because you know, that’s the kindest thing you can do for yourself, and likely the other person. Those are all just examples of healthy self care, coming from a place of care and compassion and kindness, then there’s unhealthy self care. And that comes from a place of inadequacy. And I sort of like to mention that in conjunction with the Bernie brown quote, that says, you know, we’re all hustling for our worthiness, like I think unhealthy self care, is really just a form of hustling for our worthiness. And that looks like working out because you should not because you want to, or eating a salad when you’re out with friends, because you don’t want to be the one eating the burger, even though that’s what you want, are spending so much time trying to tweak your food in an effort to change your body because you hate it so much. You know, we think it’s self care, but it’s not coming from a place of care. It’s coming from this place of not feeling good enough. So unhealthy self care is really rooted in this belief that we’re not good enough. And the worst part about it is that all of those efforts, if they’re coming from that place, are never going to actually make us feel inherently good enough because the result is based on external factors. It’s it’s based on will I Lose weight, like am I going to look a certain way am I going to gain other people’s approval, and that’s never going to make you feel good enough, that might give you a short hit of superiority or validation. But it’s always short lived. And all of the forms of unhealthy self care that we engage in, are usually not aligned with our values, they usually take us away from honoring our values, they’re usually not aligned with our purpose. And it’s most often going against what our body’s needs are. And so we need to tease apart where our desire to care for ourselves comes from, and the different motivations for the things we do. If it’s coming from a place of inadequacy and not feeling good enough in an effort to try to feel better, then it’s probably not serving you, if it’s coming from a place of care and compassion and kindness, then that’s going to feel so much better. And let me just kind of tease something apart here. Because self care can actually be a way to make you feel like you’re good enough. Like, it’s, it’s an action to show that you care for yourself, and you treat yourself with kindness. So I don’t want to say that, like, you know, you can’t engage in healthy self care if you don’t feel good enough. That’s that’s not what I’m meaning to say here. What I’m meaning to say here is, if you’re sort of like hustling to feel good enough via your forms of self care, then that’s really probably not coming from a place of care and compassion. So if you take one thing away, take away this, you know, acceptance facilitates that healthy self care. And that’s what acceptance is all about. Acceptance is about getting you to a place where you know, you’re good enough, regardless of these external things. And you lead with care, kindness, and compassion and do what’s best for you and your body, not what you think you should do based on someone else’s rules. So acceptance allows you to take care of yourself from a healthy place and a healthy frame of mind. It’s literally the opposite of giving up. So I hope that really, you know, teases that out for you, and helps you understand that, like, it’s, it’s about taking care of yourself, except it’s really is about taking care of yourself. And and the other thing is taking care of yourself is sort of a loaded term, because we’ve learned to take care of ourselves from diet culture. So it’s about reframing what take care and taking care of yourself means to you not something I do work with people around in my program, but it’s about like really defining, like, you know, what, what that means to us specifically, and knowing that like, none of this is an obligation, like if if, you know, engaging in some form of of movement or exercise, that’s not something that you want to do for yourself, like, that’s, that’s your prerogative, you know, and if it is, then that’s something that that can be the way that you decide to take care of yourself. It’s individual, you get to decide. And that’s the great thing about body autonomy. So let’s talk about the three main fears to challenge and call out in order to move to a place where acceptance feels doable. So the one thing I hear from people often when I asked them, like, Why does acceptance feel so challenging? It’s that they reply with, it’s easier to stick with what you know. So it’s easier for me to stick with the way I’ve been doing things, it’s easier for me to kind of stick with dieting and stick with engaging in behaviors from a place of more punitive motivations. It’s easier for me to kind of keep up with this exhausting way of life and me being hard on myself. And I get that, you know, and I think that it’s even though when I’m saying those things, it’s like, why would you want to keep doing that, but I think most of us know, it’s like, once you’re in it, it’s easier to stick with what you know. And the reason for that is twofold. One is our fat phobic beliefs, you know, we’re afraid to do anything different, because like, what might happen to my body, and to is a fear of the unknown, which is sort of a, you know, a subtext of that, but it’s really not knowing like, Well, I never trusted myself, like, I can’t listen to my own body, I’ve been told that I’m addicted to sugar and all this other bullshit. And so we were afraid of taking that leap to the unknown. And so both of those things really cause us to stick with what we know, even if what we know is uncomfortable. And so when we’re dieting, we’re, we’re dead set on being smaller. And that’s what diet culture promises us. So and that kind of gives us a sense of security, even though science shows us that there’s no long term form of weight loss that results in the majority of people sustaining that weight loss in the long term. But we continue to believe that it’s possible because it’s been so ingrained in our heads and it gives us this promise of hope and control. So it’s really hard to move past that. But in order to move past that we have to challenge our fat phobic beliefs, our internalized fat phobia, which is the belief that thinner is better and being in a larger body is bad and And that really influences those beliefs that we have that those influence the way we speak to ourselves and how we show up in this world. And so we have to rewire and challenge those beliefs to really move past that fear. And intellectually, you may know that the all those beliefs are bullshit, but maybe you don’t feel that way for yourself. And you know, you might see someone in a larger body and think, Well, they’re beautiful, but I can never see myself that way. And that’s because we have to put conscious effort into rewiring those beliefs, and really understanding what those beliefs mean to us on a core level. So that we can start to work through, you know, where that fear within us is really coming from, because it tends to be more individual. And that can take some time. And it takes a lot of intention. It doesn’t just happen through osmosis, it takes intention to change beliefs. And that’s important to understand, because it’s a bit of work. But internalized weight stigma takes root in differently in all of us. But it’s something that we all need to be working on unpacking and uprooting. And then in terms of fear of the unknown, you know, we have to get comfortable with the unknown by staying focused on the present, I always try to bring the focus back to you know, how do you actually feel today, in this moment, let’s work with that. And let go of the stuff that is not within our control. If we’ve learned one thing from 2020, there’s a lot of stuff not in our control, and anything could happen any day. And so, by staying kind of with our present moment, and working with what we’re feeling in this moment, we can move past that fear, which is really just, you know, it’s normal for all of us to sort of be afraid of the unknown. And so the second, the second fear to call out and challenge is this idea that acceptance means giving up, and I really unpacked that earlier. So I’m not gonna say much more about that. But again, it’s just it’s literally the opposite of giving up. And we want to think about acceptance as a way to care for ourselves from a healthy frame of mind that comes from compassion and kindness. And then the other fear that comes up is is like, well, if I try to let go of dieting and accept myself, like, what if, what if I fail. And I think that some people are really hesitant to let go of dieting and the pursuit of thinness, because you can’t fathom accepting yourself, because you’ve never experienced it, like, unless you can remember when you were a very small child, most of us, most of the people who I work with, at least, you know, have been feeling bad about their bodies for most of their lives. So the idea of acceptance is, is so foreign. And and therefore, you know, they think that it’s just not possible, which is is not true. We’re just we’re we’re getting you back to where you were before you got brainwashed. But most people think, you know, what, if I invest this time and energy into rejecting diets and doing the work and my, and changing my beliefs, and then fail, you know, I’ve already bought into and failed so many things. And that’s the thing is that we can’t look at this, the way that we look at dieting, you know, dieting teaches us to look at things through like a good, bad all or nothing lens. And diets are meant to fail. Like, of course, you failed your diet, like, Of course you did, that’s what they do, the industry wouldn’t be worth 72 billion, and that’s just in the US. And that’s over one year, industry wouldn’t be worth $72 billion in the US if it didn’t result in failure. And so I know that’s hard to realize that you’re not a failure. Because, you know, we just that’s the way we’ve been trained to think of ourselves, if we don’t keep the weight off with dieting, but it’s true, you know, you’re not a failure, your body actually did an awesome thing for you by making you go off that diet, your body was literally trying to protect you. So if you’ve been injured, or you couldn’t stick to your diet, that was your body trying to protect you. And we need to be grateful for that. Even though I know that intellectually, that’s hard because you feel like you’re you know that you’ve disappointed yourself that you’ve let yourself go. And that’s, you know, some emotions to really kind of, you know, sit through and process to come to a place of peace with that, but it wasn’t your fault. Anyways, I sort of digress there for a minute. But the point that I’m trying to make is that you can’t fail working on acceptance, like you can’t fail working on intuitive eating because they’re not It’s not like a black and white yes or no, I’m doing this right. It’s like an actual it’s like a coming home to yourself. It’s like an embodiment. It’s like, finally connecting your your brain to your bodies get back into you like what does your body need? What actually feels good for you? How do you want to treat yourself like emotionally and physically and what’s going to feel right for you? And that’s going to be long lasting. And here’s the thing like, if you can’t fathom feeling like you’re good enough at this size that you’re out right now, then you’re certainly not going to feel that way when you are smaller because that’s just not how it works. When we hinge our self worth on the external, we will never feel good enough, because we’ll be looking to the scale or the mirror, or Instagram likes or compliments to give that to us, we have to accept ourselves unconditionally. And that has to come from within us. And so we’re talking about reclaiming our power from a system that stolen that, and made us feel like we’re not good enough. And the work requires us to be outside of our comfort zone sometimes and sit with difficult feelings and be vulnerable. And that can feel uncomfortable. But like hating yourself is really uncomfortable, and doesn’t lead to anything positive. And once you really commit to treating yourself better, it only gets better. And so this fear that like it’s not going to work, I think sometimes that really just stems from this belief that we’re not good enough. And let me tell you, you are good enough, you know, you’re courageous, you can do this. I’ve, I’ve worked with people for years in every shape and size and age and seeing them give way less fucks about what other people think and be softer and kinder to themselves. And it’s not a one and done thing. And it doesn’t mean that like, they feel amazing all the time, because that’s bullshit. But they’re able to live their lives in a way that they didn’t think was possible before. And so I know for you that you can really believe that you’re good enough. And there’s no failure to that, because there’s no failure when you break free from diet culture. And so the last thing I want to leave you with is to two really quick reframes on acceptance, to make the concept feel more intuitive to you. And so the first one I’ve alluded to quite a bit is just to think of acceptance as treating yourself with care, compassion, and kindness. So it’s about fostering this belief that you’re good enough, regardless of how you look. And if, if the words body acceptance, feel kind of hard, all I want you to change that to for yourself is I’m learning to be kinder, more caring and compassionate towards myself. Like, if

    anyone’s gonna argue with that they’re, they’re not cool. You know, like, if you’re talking to your partner or something about this, and they’re like, oh, I don’t know, buddy acceptance, like, what’s that gonna mean? You’re not going to be healthy, or whatever other crap, they’ve been brainwashed to think. Just explain it like this. I’m learning to be kinder, more caring and compassionate towards myself, like Who can argue with that? So say with that, and tell me, you know, does that feel a little more doable and a little easier? And don’t you deserve that? Like, yes, you do. That’s how it probably how you treat other people in your life, you deserve that same kindness towards yourself. And so the second reframe, I want to give you is to think of acceptance as an everyday practice versus a destination. So social media makes us think that body acceptance means reaching this destination, where you love yourself, and you post half naked selfies because you’re feeling yourself. And that’s not what it is. I think that that is cool. If you want to do that I have nothing against people doing that. And if you’re feeling yourself that way, then like, You go girl, but I think it takes away from the deeper healing that’s happening. And I shouldn’t say that that’s that’s not really true. I think the deep your healing can happen in conjunction with that. But I think that from like a, an external perspective on social media, it’s the deeper healing doesn’t really come through through that imagery. And I think that that’s fine. That’s just the way social media is, there’s not a lot of nuance or depth to what we view on social media. But our you know, the point that I want to make is feelings about ourselves, and our bodies are going to ebb and flow, we’re going to have good days, we’re going to have bad days. And acceptance is more about how we treat ourselves every day, versus a destination. So I want you to think about it, like acceptance is this everyday practice. It’s a lifelong practice of accepting all the different parts of ourselves, that the good, the bad that may, both physical and emotional. And that means that we’re practicing acceptance, even on the days when we’re feeling really bad about ourselves, we’re accepting that that’s just the feelings that are there today. And we may not like them, but we’re going to be with ourselves through them with kindness and compassion. And still find a way to assert that we’re good enough, regardless of that. And when we do those things, we can really learn to process feelings, and change with beliefs we have at a core level to know that we’re good enough beyond our appearance. And then you’re going to be able to look in the mirror, and maybe like what you see or not, but be able to go on with your day and do amazing things. And that is that sense of peace and freedom that is just so liberating. And so that’s, you know, that’s what’s really possible. So I love those reframes. I think that can be really helpful for people because sometimes there’s this expectation around doing body acceptance work, that it’s just like this, like one and done thing or that, you know, you have to love every part of yourselves. And I’ve obviously kind of demystified that quite a bit and in past podcasts and whatnot, but, you know, I just want you to think about it as a daily practice versus a destination and to really think about it as just this process of learning to be kinder, more caring and compassionate towards yourself. And doesn’t that just feel more doable? Okay, that is wrap on today’s episode, I hope that you enjoyed it. You can find the links and resources mentioned in this episode at summer Forward slash 187. And I will be back with another body image series episode very very soon. I think in a couple days they’re coming out really fast because of the hiatus that I took. So get ready for it. Enjoy. Thank you so much for listening rock on. I’m Summer Innanen And I want to thank you for listening today. You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook at summer Innanen. And if you haven’t yet, go to Apple podcasts search eat the rules and subscribe rate and review this show. I would be so grateful. Until next time, rock on

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