I want to clear up a misconception about body acceptance that keeps women trapped in the diet cycle: If you accept your body, you are giving up and will “let yourself go.”
As Linda Bacon says in her book, Health At Every Size, you are not giving up. You are moving on.
You are not giving up, you are moving on.
It’s a struggle to believe this because we’ve intertwined health, thinness and dieting together for so many years that adopting a new paradigm feels like giving up. We’ve invested so much effort into “trying to make this diet work…” that accepting our body makes us feel like a quitter.
We assume that if we aren’t actively dieting we’re going to setup a tent city at the nearest Dairy Queen and subsist on the 4 food groups of: Blizzards, chocolate covered cones, sundaes and chicken fingers.
We assume that we’ll never want to do things that are nourishing for our body because we’ve given up.
You are quitting a culture that discriminates against certain bodies, not yourself.
You are quitting punitive behaviors, not yourself.
You are quitting restriction and a mental health beating, not yourself.
Recently, I was reflecting on some of my first pets and I recalled how I had a Sea Monkey family that I loved dearly. I looked after them so well: Religiously feeding them, petting them through the plastic aquarium, giving them names and buying them all the fancy Sea Monkey accessories. Those weird-spermy-pets had a great life….Until one day my brother knocked the mini-aquarium over with his backpack and they dissolved into our shag carpet. It was tragic to say the least.
The point of this story is simple…
We look after things we respect and care deeply for.
Think about all the things you care for in your life – how do you treat them?
When we love something, we tend to its needs with respect and compassion.
Having compassion and acceptance for your body is the same.
When we value ourselves, we receive reciprocal care and ultimately cultivate better relationships with everything else in our life.
If we really want to be healthy and have eating and moving feel effortless, it has to come from a place of respect and compassion.
Body acceptance is the first step towards moving on.
Not to mention the joy of releasing all the emotional weight that comes from the guilt you’ve accumulated from years of obsessing.