In this episode of Eat the Rules, I’m continuing the body image series, breaking down five reasons we feel stuck with body acceptance and how to work through these struggles.
I also talk about why it’s normal to struggle with this process and offer some examples from my own journey.
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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 innanen.com 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 261. And it’s a nother segment in the body image series. If you are feeling stuck with body acceptance, or you’ve really been struggling to make progress, and this episode is for you, I’m breaking down five reasons we struggle with body acceptance and how to work through each of those struggles. You can find the links mentioned that summer innanen.com forward slash 261. I want to give a shout out to Lisa who left this review. I found summers podcast a couple of months ago and have binged my way through most. So many of them I sent to my husband as I found them insightful in many areas of our lives. He has found them so helpful in understanding me society and how we can work to give our children a better view of life.
I love that. that means so much to me. And I’m so happy that your husband is on board with that. I know it feels like a low bar to set. But oftentimes, oftentimes in partnerships, we have very different views on things. And so I am thrilled to hear that he’s open and learning and wants to do what’s best for your child. Okay, you can leave a review for the show by going to Apple podcast search for eat the rules and click reviews to leave a review. You can also subscribe to this show by just hitting whatever button is right there in your hand as you are listening to this to help me out as well. And if you want some free stuff, don’t forget to grab the free 10 Day body confidence makeover at summer innanen.com forward slash freebies with 10 steps to take right now to feel better in your body. If you’re a professional who works with people who may also have body image struggles, get the free body image coaching roadmap at summer innanen.com forward slash roadmap. In the last couple of episodes, we’ve talked about how to evaluate your body image. I’ve given you some examples of what body neutrality looks like in everyday life. And today, I want to talk about five reasons why you may feel stuck accepting your body, it’s normal for some people to really struggle with this process. There’s a lot of reasons, I think the number one reason is really the culture that we live in, and your own lived experience in this culture. I’m not going to break that one down as one of the reasons today, but I just wanted to call it out, because that’s kind of the umbrella over all of this. So if you are really struggling, it’s not your fault. It’s really this culture that we live in, as well. Things like trauma will always influence us and any sort of, you know, significant experiences that we had in our past or even in our more recent future. But again, those are not the five reasons that I’m going to mention. But I just wanted to highlight those. Because when I work with people individually, those things come up as well. But I wanted to kind of give you five of the overarching things that I’ve noticed in working with people over the years that really cause us to sort of be stuck. And when I say be stuck, being stuck sort of looks like feeling like you intellectually get the idea of body acceptance, but you really don’t embody it. It might look like being pulled back into dieting and perhaps even still engaging in restrictive behaviors. It might look like just feeling like this idea of accepting your current body is just impossible for you. And it might look like experiencing really tough emotions about your body like shame or disgust, despite being really committed to trying to accept it. So you’re still having a lot of bad body image days, or they’re really overwhelming or you find yourself still having a lot of super critical thoughts. Obviously you feel like you’re completely new to this then it’s totally normal to be experiencing those things. However, if you feel like you’ve been, you know, dabbling with this for a little bit, these are some signs that you might be stuck if you’re continuing I feel this way. If you’re curious to know, you know what your relationship with your body is like, I have the body image benchmark assessment quiz that I use with all of my new clients, you can find that in the show notes for episode 259. If you go to summer and n n.com, forward slash 259, scroll down a bit, there’s an opt in box to get your free body image assessment quiz. And listen to that episode to to just hear about the best way to use it. But if your answers are mostly below sixes, then it’s absolutely possible for you to to feel better. And hopefully some of the stuff that we talked about today will help you with that. So let’s dive into the five reasons we may feel stuck getting to a place of body acceptance. Number one is we can’t imagine putting the dream of a smaller body down. And so this looks like continuing to be pulled back into dieting like just sort of always sort of thinking like, No, I just I need to die it like that’s just that’s the only solution, you believing there’s no way you can be happy in your current body. And having that sort of be just this like kind of, you know, anytime you have a bad body image, do you think Well, I just I have to lose weight, that’s the only way that I’m going to feel better. So that happens, because dieting is really addictive. First of all, I talked about that in Episode 194, if you want to check that out. But diets really give us this sense of hope. And this promise of a better life. It’s like this kind of easy fix, right? Like, if we’re feeling bad about ourselves, it’s like all just diet, dieting will remove this emotional discomfort that I’m experiencing. And I just want to say that’s not true, it won’t. But in the moment, that’s what we believe, because of all the messaging that we’ve received. And so in order to really not give ourselves that option anymore, it’s hard, it makes us feel a little bit lost, maybe a little bit hopeless. And it’s totally normal to miss that thrill of imagining what our life is going to be like if we finally lose the weight. But it’s not the body that we’re missing. You know, it’s in that moment, you know, when we’re when we’re thinking we need to lose weight to be happy. It’s not necessarily the body we want. It’s all the stuff that’s attached to it. So the validation, the social currency, the sense of belonging, the illusion of just feeling really good all the time. And that’s the thing that we have to really call out, because that’s all bullshit, except for the social currency, that is true, you do get more social currency. But the problem with thinking this way, the problem with believing that the only way that I’ll be happy is to be smaller, is that we just will keep coming back to dieting, you know, we’ll never really get to a place of acceptance, if we believe that the only way for us to be happy is to be smaller. And what we ended up just staying trapped in that cycle. And this often happens because it feels like we’re settling, if we accept our body, you know, it feels like Well, I’m just not going to be happy if I accept this body. And I want to I want to blow that up. Because acceptance is is not settling by any means. I want you to think about someone you love in your life, whether that’s like a child or a friend, or a family member or partner or even a pet, like some sort of mammal to love in your life. And I want you to imagine them right now. And think about how you feel about them. And think about your love for them. And just connect with that. And think about how that love has nothing to do with how they look or their body size. Think about how you accept all the different parts of them. You know, there’s nobody’s perfect, there’s, you know, your best friend, your partner or your, your dog, whatever your child, there’s going to be parts of them that drive you up the wall, and there’s going to be parts of them that you love, but you accept and love all of them. And it feels really get it right, like when we accept and we love someone just for who they are. Because they just make us feel really good. And we have that connection with them. It’s a great feeling. And so acceptance is really about cultivating that for ourselves. And we deserve that same relationship with ourselves. And that’s not settling. That’s not unhappiness, that’s, you know what I’m going to show up for myself every day when a value myself, I’m going to really reinforce that I matter. And it’s about knowing that you are a gift to this world. Because you are it doesn’t mean you’re gonna be high on yourself every day. But it’s about just cultivating that type of relationship. And it it does feel really good to know that you matter. And so when we can accept our body, it allows us to really own and appreciate Who we are, doesn’t mean you have to love your thighs. But the core of who you are is what I want you to really appreciate and love. And our fixation on thinking that our life is going to be better if we’re smaller blocks us from getting in touch with this. And so accepting our body is really a gateway to having this positive and hopeful relationship with ourselves. And so what I always like to do with people is to have them create a more positive and hopeful vision of what acceptance is going to look like for them. Because if we just believe that it’s only attached to us being smaller, then it’s going to be really hard to just accept our hurt body. Okay, the second reason I see people getting stuck is that we find it incredibly hard to sit with the unknown and not be in control. This looks like being in that headspace of oh my god, I don’t know what’s going to happen to my body, kind of going down the catastrophic rabbit hole of like, I don’t know what’s gonna happen if I really like, you know, loosen the reins, or if I just let my body be. And that gets in the way of us being at peace and fully letting go of of the rules and the sort of, you know, the critical self talk, that tells us that we need to be smaller, to be happier. And we do this because most of us have been using dieting as a coping mechanism, we have been using it to give ourselves a sense of control and a sense of purpose. And so when we stop dieting, we lose that coping mechanism. And that can be really overwhelming. And this is something that I see pulls people back over and over. And so what we need to learn to do instead is learn to sit with the unknown, and learn to sit with the discomfort of our emotions, whether that’s just the the fear of not being in control, or just the discomfort of like, not having that coping mechanism anymore. We have to learn to, you know, sit with those emotions. And I just want to, I want to tell you something here, because I know it’s really hard to sit with that unknown. But we do that all the time. There are 1000s of unknowns that we are kind of Unknowingly sitting with on a daily basis, hopefully, unknowingly. If you are if you’re thinking about all the unknowns on a daily basis, I feel like that’s anxiety because I know what that’s like. But life can change in a minor way, or a major way in an instant. And I cannot diagnose you with anxiety. By the way, I’m just, I’m just punching in some humor there because I can laugh at myself. But life can change in a minor way or major way in an instant. And we’re constantly sitting with these other unknowns, we’re just like, we’re just not really, you know, thinking about them, because we’re living our life. And we’re in our present moment. But for some reason, sitting with the unknown of just like, what’s going to happen to my body feels so much harder, because we’ve been conditioned to believe that we should be able to control that. And those messages are still so normalized. So if you haven’t done the work of really dismantling the beliefs you have about your ability to control weight, then definitely check out episode 218. It’s called what the research says about weight loss with Alexis conocen. That’ll help you for sure. But you are strong enough to sit with this unknown because you sit with all of these other unknowns, you do it all the time. And so what we can do instead is we need to work on coming back to the present moment, learning how to cope with the discomfort of the unknown and cope with our emotions so that we’re not turning to dieting as a coping mechanism. And be really compassionate with ourselves through it because it is hard. Reason number three we get stuck is because we haven’t found our community. So this might look like being surrounded by other people dieting, or feeling like there’s something wrong with you, because everyone else is engaging in weight loss or talking about ozempic, or all this other stuff, and you’re not. And so you get really tempted and you feel like there has to be another way like you can’t except your body. And we do this because one of our primal needs is to belong. And dieting gives us that right? Because it’s like everyone else is doing it. And there’s a lot of communities tied up in dieting as well. And it can make us feel like we’re being a good person, like we belong culturally. And so that’s really hard to let go. It can feel like we’re a lone wolf if we don’t if we’re doing this in an isolated way. And that can make it a lot harder to accept our body. So it’s so important to find community and find people who get you and who share the same beliefs about you. Even if those people are truly just online, even if they’re not in real life in real life is perfect. Even better if you can find it. But online is can still make a huge difference. I remember what in my own journey with this many many years ago now, like 1213 years ago now, I remember just finding a couple people online and it made such a huge difference. And so finding community is really critical because you need other people who are going to influence you and help support your beliefs on this path. Number four, another one of the reasons we got stuck is that we don’t know, our identity outside of our body, or whatever we have associated with that. So sometimes our identity is like, the healthy one or the CrossFitter, or the one who’s just always pursuing weight loss. And when we don’t know our identity, it can look like just not really knowing who we are, like feeling that sense of loss, like I, you know, I don’t know who I am anymore, I’m losing that validation, you might feel inadequate without that pursuit of weight loss, or whatever you were doing to make your body look a certain way. And so it pulls us back, right, because we’re missing that. For me, personally, my identity was completely wrapped up in being like, quote, unquote, the healthy one. And I believed everything I was doing was healthy, even though it was actually quite disordered, kind of like, you know, what you see with Gwyneth Paltrow. It’s like, you can’t see the forest through your, through the trees when you’re when you’re in it. And when you have, like all these other professionals, validating your behaviors. So I have a lot of empathy for that, because that’s just like, it’s just so normalized. But my identity was really wrapped up in that. And so when I started on this path, I felt like I was losing a big chunk of my identity. And it was really important to figure out who I was outside of that and feel really solid and grounded in that, and to know what my values are, what my purpose is, and what really actually gives me a sense of fulfillment, and use those as my roadmap and the things that I continually come back to, if an ever I felt pulled towards dieting. And so that’s a foundational piece of the work I do with people now. I mean, it’s really what led me to go down the path of life coaching many years ago, because I see it being like such a foundational piece of, of this puzzle. So we have to really know who we are outside of how we look, because you are this incredible person. And you offer all these gifts to this world, you know, it’s your spark, it’s your energy, it’s just you being you, that’s what matters, your the essence of you is in your soul is the thing that like other people value, it’s what you need to value in yourself. And getting in touch with that. And knowing that and really connecting with that is so important. Okay, the last reason I see people getting stuck is when we are consuming information, and not taking action. And so this looks like reading books, listening to podcasts, following people on social media, but not really seeing any changes in ourselves. You know, we’re still just really struggling with critical thoughts, we’re still feeling really bad about our body. And often I’ll hear from people, they’ll say, I intellectually get the idea of body acceptance, but I just can’t embody it. And so we might intellectually get everything. But it’s hard to change how we think and feel about ourselves, if we’re not being intentional about it. So let’s say we want to accept our body. But we’re not actively working on challenging the beliefs, we’re not we don’t know, maybe. And a lot of the times, it’s because we don’t know what to do, right. Or we’re not actively working on speaking compassionately to ourselves, or trying to feel better about photos. And we do that because first of all, it’s really easy to consume information, like easier from a time perspective, because you can just like pick up your phone and scroll or, you know, listen to a podcast while you’re on a walk. But I would argue that actually being intentional about changing your thoughts and kind of digging into you know, your belief systems and things like that doesn’t really take a lot of time, either. You can totally do that while you’re on a walk as well. But it just feels harder, right? Because it’s like work. It’s like anytime I have an appointment with my therapist, I like spend the whole day dreading it. Because I’m like, Oh, God, I’m gonna have to do work. And then I feel so much better afterwards, because it makes a huge difference. But there’s that resistance there. And then the other reason why we, you know, turn to consuming information and not taking action is because we don’t know what to do. Like, it’s
like, I don’t, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to change this. So getting support around that, like from a professional like myself is going to be obviously incredibly helpful if you can, because when we start to take action, and we’re intentional with changing our thoughts and behaviors, and we practice acceptance as part of our everyday existence, then it’s so much easier to get to that place where we really just, you know, look in the mirror and we think oh, cool, Hey, there, I am going on with my day, like, I feel pretty good. Or maybe you’re having a bad day for other reasons. But your body size is just like it’s a huge weight lifted off your shoulders, it’s so much time and energy back. And it’s amazing. So these are some of the most common reasons that I see people getting stuck and what you can do about it. And as I mentioned, there’s lots of ways to work through these things. Hopefully it brought some awareness to you if you’ve been feeling stuck. And of course as I said, it can be quite individual. So if you’re looking for additional support, check out my website, check out my you ON FIRE program. I’d love to help you. And that is it for today’s episode. You can find the show notes at summer innanen.com forward slash 261. Thank you so much for being here today. I really appreciate you rock on Hi.
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 wouldn’t be so grateful. Until next time rock on.
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