I get a lot of questions about how to accept your body the way it is, so I figured it's time to talk about it again!
If you're someone who doesn't struggle with body acceptance, you're probably in minority. It's very common to feel like there's something wrong about your body. You may even hate it so bad that you can't see any way how you could ever accept it, let alone like it.
Don't feel guilty or blame yourself for feeling this way. It really is very hard not to have these feelings when we're surrounded by so much media and social media that tells us there are only a few different ways to look to be “acceptable”.
But on the other hand, it's in our power to change how we feel. It's us who need to take steps every day, in order to break free from our body hate and start accepting ourselves. In this video, I'm going to share with you three tools that you can use in order to start accepting your body. They really work, so make sure to do them all!
Here's the video, and the full article below it!
Three Tools for Better Body Acceptance and Positive Body Image
Tool #1: Clean Up Your Social Media Feed
I have talked about it a lot but for a good reason: It's absolutely crucial.
What we see every single day on our feed shapes the way we think. If you see images of super lean and ripped bodies all day long, of course you're going to feel bad about yourself if you don't like this way.
What's even worse is that you may know that weight gain is actually good for you, but it's easy to forget it if you're bombarded with pictures of pretty butts and lean abs.
Say that you're recovering from hypothalamic amenorrhea — yes, you very likely will put on some weight to get your hormonal balance working again. It's necessary.
Maybe you're recovering from eating disorder. You know that life with an eating disorder is a hell and that you need to get out of it, so you start healing your body and gain. some weight. Yes, that's also necessary.
Maybe you decided to stop counting calories and try intuitive eating to get rid of food obsession, so you put on a little body fat at first. And that's okay.
Yet if you see those super athletic bodies, you may feel like what you're doing is wrong. It isn't. You're about to get your healthy body back, which is why you started your healing journey! But you may easily forget why you're doing what you're doing, if your feed is filled with negative influence. Delete those accounts that trigger you, because they won't help you to find body acceptance.
Make space for better accounts to follow. When I started noticing cellulite on my stomach, I freaked out. But I wanted to see other women with belly cellulite as well, to realize that I'm not alone. I searched for hashtags cellulite and bellyrolls and came across several people who had posted about this stuff.
They were super inspiring and amazing, yes, despite their cellulite. Cellulite is not a problem. If a person is inspiring, positive and happy with herself, it really inspires you. And you see that lean body is not an important thing about a person.
Tool #2: Educate Yourself on True Health and Positive Body Image
Immerse yourself in smart advice and research about how our bodies work, what they need, about body diversity and positive body image. Body acceptance gets much easier if you have great resources to follow.
Here are couple of my favorite podcasts and one book:
Well-Fed Women Podcast. These ladies talk tons about cultivating body positivity, help us understand that we can be healthy in many different weights and sizes, and that being skinnier may not make you healthier (and may make you unhealthier). They have some discussion about positive body image in nearly every episode, but there are a few that you can check out first: this episode about loving your body and this episode about amenorrhea and body image.
Another podcast I really love is Real Health Radio. Chris Sandel explains really well how our bodies should work and why we may get in trouble when we start under eating, over exercising or get overly stressed out. But there's so much more in this podcast, like interesting experiments, various guest sharing their knowledge and experience, and so on. Some episodes can have quite a bit of science in there but it's explained in an easily understandable way.
The book that I highly, highly recommend to read to find body acceptance and cultivate more positive body image is Body of Truth. It cites tons of research showing that we've been simply brainwashed to believe that it's necessary to be skinny or at least very light in order to have good health, and that you can't be healthy if your weight is “high”. In fact, comes out that you can be very healthy at higher weight!
It's also easy to see how we've all been victims of diet and fitness industry's marketing, which only leads trying one diet after another which again leads to more weight gain every time we diet.
Tool #3: Do Some People Watching
It might sound creepy, but trust me, this tool works. Go somewhere busy and look around you. You'll notice within the first minute that not everyone looks like a fitness magazine's cover model. There are so many different body types, shapes, sizes, colors… And we all are part of this variety.
This brings me back to the first tool, cleaning up your social media feed. We believe what we see. If we only see one shape and size people, we think that that's the only type that exists and yes, we may not look like that! But we don't have to. People watching confirms that.
I remember this one time when we were in Disneyland. I was about three months into my recovery and feeling slightly uncomfortable in my body. I remember sitting there and realizing that there's nothing wrong with anyone; there's nothing wrong with me, no matter if I weigh twenty pounds more or less.
If you struggle with body image, I hope you give these tools a try. Know that nothing will get better if we don't do the work. The change doesn't happen just by wishing and thinking, and the diet and fitness industries are never going to go anywhere.
This week, make it your priority to do a spring clean up in your social media feed, listen to a podcast or two or read the book that I recommended, and do some people watching. I promise that you find it really helpful.