A client of mine told me the other day that trying to accept her body feels like she’s giving up. She’s invested so much time and energy into losing weight, dieting and working out that acceptance feels like failure, not to mention the fact that society has ingrained in her the belief that she could never be beautiful or healthy in a bigger body.
Thanks, diet culture.
So I asked her, “If you’re not willing to try to accept your body, let’s look at your alternative- continuing to fight your body, obsess over every bite of food, and bounce back-and-forth between bingeing and restriction? Is that the better option?”
To that she answers, “No, I can’t live my life like that anymore.”
Acceptance Does not Equal Failure
There’s something that needs to be cleared up so that we can begin to set ourselves free, and that’s the fact that
Let me ask you this… Have you benefited from not accepting your body? Has talking down to yourself made you feel better? Motivated you? Or done anything positive for you? Has living in a perpetual state of restriction, shame, and overeating added value and joy to your life? Does that short-lived sense of accomplishment you get from staying under your calories permeate into other areas of your life? Have your relationships improved? Do you have more time to enjoy the things you love or are you a better friend as a result?
Body Size does not Determine Health
We live in a culture obsessed with self-improvement, and one that intertwines health with thinness and dieting, so the thought of health existing in all shapes and sizes not only feels completely foreign, it feels straight up wrong.
Because if we’re not dieting, we must be drinking milkshakes for breakfast and laying around on the couch all day, right? Here’s the thing… the opposite of acceptance is not health, and health is not defined by one’s weight, the ability to stick to a diet, or how many Orange Theory classes you take in a week.
- Quitting a culture that discriminates against bigger bodies.
- No longer take part in punitive behaviors tied to weight loss.
- Meeting ourselves where we are and discovering what health looks like on our own terms.
Because when we invite acceptance in, we can begin to stop fighting ourselves and learn how to best care for the body we’ve been given in the ways that we need; not those of diet culture.
And when we’re not constantly consumed with burning more calories or feeling badly about going over on our macros, there’s space for us to connect to ourselves- our needs, feelings, and all the physical sensations that are present and waiting to be acknowledged.
Is it easy? No, but ask yourself, what’s the alternative.
Let me know your thoughts!