When I first read about the concept of accepting your body in order to change your behaviors around food, I thought it was nuts. I thought that if I accepted my body the way it was, it meant giving up and settling. That I might as well hook myself up to a German chocolate cake IV, become a competitive TV binge watcher and live in a Thuggie.
I hear this fear from clients all the time and I get it.
They say, “but Summer if I accept my body, then how am I going to ‘stick to paleo’ and workout 4 times a week? If I don’t feel bad whenever I ‘fall off track’, then I’m going to let myself go, right?!?”
That is incorrect. You lose the daily double.
It took me a long time to figure out why this piece of the puzzle was critical to ending my obsessions with weight, food and exercise. I resisted it so hard because I was scared I was going to be miserable if I gave up my goal of visible arm muscles.
But, after over twenty years of trying the same diet-sabotage-repeat strategy, I knew I needed to do something different. And it has been the most important thing I have done to have a good body image.
When I finally decided to stop picking apart my weight and focus on being cool with it, I no longer freaked out about whether I ate too much or too little. Whether I should eat carbs at lunch or save them for dinner. Whether I earned the right to have a banana with almond butter or whether I should lock myself in my office because someone brought in cupcakes. Or whether I was going to have an anxiety attack by stepping on the scale after a vacation. Those evil voices went away and finally, there was peace.
But, does this mean that you’ll be unhappy? Unhealthy? A human vacuum cleaner? Doomed to wander the earth as a messy sloth in moo moos?
When you accept your body the way that it is, the emotional weight that comes with the guilt of your every fitbit-point-detracting move is lifted.
With the lifting of this emotional weight, you lose the evil doppelganger in your head that freaks out, over-analyzes every bite and beats you up when you ‘slip’. You can start focusing on the things that will actually bring you joy instead of some fantasy body shape that will supposedly solve all your problems. This is where you find happiness.
And if you don’t buy into that, let me ask you this… what is happiness for you?
Is it attending a dinner party and having fun with your friends instead of feeling panic for the 4-too-many-white-wines and the fact that you missed your bed time so are definitely skipping hot yoga tomorrow?
Is it having sex with the lights on and focusing on your pleasure and not whether your hips are looking fugly in that position?
Is it wearing that cute top that you want to wear instead of wearing what you think other people will like you in?
Is it waking up in the morning and packing your running shoes to go for a run because it’s fun instead of because your stomach looks disgusting and you need to fix it?
If you are saying hell to the yes and want happiness, then you need to remove the source of your struggle by accepting your body where it is. Because having good body image isn’t about toning your body down into a mould…it’s about changing your mindset.
Being cool with that imperfect body of yours frees yourself up to do so many more amazing things. Hooking yourself up to a German chocolate cake IV is not one of them. I promise.
The question you really need to ponder is, how are you going to spend that time? Because it is glorious to gain back this freedom.
Believe it or not, it’s actually not that difficult to get to a place of peace with your body. That’s why I’m holding a free webjam and Q&A all about body image in a few weeks. Stay tuned for more details on that!
What do you want to ask me about body image? What do you want help with? I want to know so that I can give you the answers. Sound off in the comments below>>>