The majority of people are experts in self-criticism and self-hatred. I duck for cover at roadrunner speed after I suggest the concept “acceptance” and how useful it would be to accept how they are right now.
The idea of acceptance is often misunderstood. We often interpret acceptance as giving up, and giving up would be the ultimate dieting failure; at least there is an honour and dignity in continuing to fight.
A general fear is that if you accept your body this will lead to complacency or getting out of control. What I mean by acceptance is accepting how you are right now. If you can accept how you are right now, you position yourself in a more resourceful position to change.
If you cannot accept yourself as you are right now, of course, you are still in a position to change, but you also have many negative thoughts and feelings about yourself and your body, which can make it hard work and tiresome.I remember working with a lady that held a limiting belief, that “she was unlovable”
Can you imagine how hard it was for her? after years of trying to lose weight and embarking on every weight loss diet, on top of all the money she has spent on weight loss diets, doing something which she believed would make her feel good and of course, every diet failed her. Why? becuase she believed deep down she was unlovable, so whats the flipping point??!
After years of unsuccessful weight loss diets and despite a part of her really wanting to be slimmer and healthier, another part of her felt she wasn’t lovable, so why bother.
Examples of inner dialogue ”
“why don’t you just eat those crisps you will always be fat”
“why bother dieting you have failed every other time”
When she became aware of these unconscious thoughts of being unlovable, she was amazed and for the first time, she understood why she has been sabotaging her weight loss diets. We worked on these limiting beliefs and practised acceptance and respect towards her body and she began to create a healthy relationship with food, and herself which led to successful weight loss.
Changing your mindset to being respectful and accepting your body isn’t necessarily easy, but it’s possible and with a sprinkle of mindfulness, persistence and practice It’s very worthwhile and liberating.
So when I introduce the concept of acceptance to my clients they often look surprised, as the reason they seek help is that they do not accept their body and want to change it. The strange paradox with this is in my experience is, for people to get to their natural body weight, they need to accept their bodies and treat their body with respect.
There is a saying, “if what you are doing doesn’t work, do something else“, if repeated weight loss diets and a negative attitude towards your body have been part of your past or current strategy regarding weight loss and you have not got the result you want, then maybe it’s time to try a new attitude towards yourself.
When people get stuck in the “I hate my body mindset” and delaying kindness towards oneself. For example; putting off what you really want to do, “ I’ll get my hair done when I have lost 1 stone in weight”, ” I’ll start going out with friends when I have lost some weight”
Effectively, you have put off treating yourself with respect. The empty promises continue and life becomes more and more empty. Judith Rodin in her book Body Traps says “you don’t need to lose weight first in order to take care of yourself, in fact, the process actually happens in quite the reverse”
Imagine making weight loss a secondary goal and respecting your body as the primary goal, this will help you move forward. What I mean by this is, to treat your body with respect and kindness- take care of your health and put an end to faddy weight loss diets and find healthy solutions which lead to happiness.
I would like to make this clear, that respecting your body doesn’t mean you have like every part of your body to respect it.
Respecting your body means treating it with dignity.
Respecting your body is integral to developing a healthy relationship with food.
Every time you catch a negative body thought, replace it with a positive thought. For many years I hated my thighs, in the process of developing respect and acceptance towards my body, I had to change this, too I have strong thighs.
Replace all the negative statement with something positive.
I hate my arms- do they serve a purpose other than filling your T-shirts?
I can’t stand the cellulite on my legs………You are lucky to have legs that move your body
My body is horrible……..My body i allows me to experience life
Practice: Random daily acts of kindness Each day do one thing, which is kind and respectful
Make a list start a personal revolution towards your happiness!!