I hear this question a lot. And I remember thinking it myself. When you’ve relied on things outside yourself for so long, there’s a strong fear that without all the meal plans, the rules and shame- it’s just a downward spiral.
I don’t know when accepting our bodies became synonymous with not taking care of ourselves, (ahem- looking at you, diet culture), but I feel need to squash this one pronto.
TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF
To start, I’m going to ask you to pause in this moment and think about what your current definition of taking care of yourself is. Please give this at least 20 seconds of your time.
Now I will ask you to think about your daily routines when it comes to caring for your body.
Do they include:
· Telling yourself, your body or others what’s wrong with you?
· Feeling doubt and shame around your body or food choices?
· Depriving yourself?
· Exercising in a way that doesn’t feel good to your body- sometimes to the point of injury?
· Squeezing your body into clothes that don’t fit?
· Hiding or not being social because you’re ashamed of your body?
· Ignoring your body’s messages around nourishment, movement and rest?
If you did these to any other living thing- would you consider this caring for them?
I’m guessing not!
So why is it ok for you?
Wouldn’t you argue to anyone else that this IS something that could use some changing?!
This is not your fault. We are constantly bombarded with messages from diet culture about what it means to "take care" of ourselves. They go something like:
You can’t trust yourself
Listen to us- we’re the experts on your body
This plan is the ONE. Just follow this diet and our rules and you’ll be ok
If you go rogue, you won’t know how to take care of yourself
Let’s be clear:
The diet industry has ZERO investment in you accepting your body. In fact, if you did, you wouldn’t rely on them anymore. Their entire economic existence ($60 billion/year) hinges on the fact you will continue to be unhappy with your body and turn to them over and over again.
So I ask you- knowing this-
Is this the machine you want helping you decide how to “care” for yourself?
Body acceptance is making room for what is
“This is my body in this moment.”
Acceptance is neutral-not a judgment call or a declaration of good or bad.
You don’t have to agree with, like or hate something to accept it. It means that you’re present- you’re aware.
Body acceptance is about quieting the external noise so you can tune into your body’s wisdom and make decisions from there.
This is how you start to trust yourself to take care of yourself.
A diet doesn’t know (or care) how you’re feeling that day- that you’re craving a rice bowl instead of salmon- that you’re feeling sick and want to sleep instead of work out- that weighing yourself makes you feel like shit.
Your body, your needs and your wants are going to change constantly. Acceptance creates flexibility and permission to make decisions based on reality and current circumstances rather than a rigid, all-or-nothing plan.
“LETTING YOURSELF GO”
I absolutely honor that moving into body acceptance may mean letting go of some things:
· Letting go of the idea that something outside of you knows better
· Letting go of giving your power away to the diet industry-
who clearly do not have your best interest in mind
· Letting go of the lie that there is a right and wrong way to have a body
BUT BODY ACCEPTANCE = LETTING YOURSELF GO?
Nope- not even close.
You’re making space for yourself.
You’re coming back to yourself.
You’re not giving up. You’re showing up.
You’re connected to yourself.
And connected is the opposite of letting go.
So how exactly do you go about cultivating body acceptance for yourself?
That's what I'm covering in the third and final installment in this series. Stay tuned!