“I bet you’ve never struggled with your weight,” were eight simple words that became the catalyst that sparked my desire to learn why having a body positive body image is important.
Up until that point I had never been faced with the reality that other people looked at my body and made presumptions about what I’d struggled with and how I could never relate to where they are in their weight loss journey.
I'm going to be real; at first, those words cut me like a knife. But, now I can look back at that moment and be so grateful for the perspective I gained that day.
Because contrary to that person's belief I did struggle with my weight and more importantly I struggled with accepting my body as it was:
Even though I no longer weigh myself, the only “diets” I do are elimination diets to identify food intolerances, and I haven’t counted a single calorie in four years, I know all-too-well what it’s like to struggle with your weight.
So, when I decided to “rebrand” myself from a Nutrition Coach to a Body Positive Nutrition Coach, I knew I had to make some tough decisions:
I know that I’m not going to resonate with many people.
There are some that will claim that body positivity promotes obesity. While I understand where the belief stems from, I disagree entirely. The reason people are obese has nothing to do with the body positivity movement. People were obese BEFORE body positivity came around and even if the movement ceases to exist people will still be obese if they don't address the underlying reasons why they are obese in the first place.
When I started focusing on accepting my body as it was, I slowly began to discover that all the years focusing on weight loss had prevented me from seeing the underlying cause behind my unexplained weight gain - hidden food intolerances.
For years, I struggled with belly fat, constant fatigue, and lack of energy which I had assumed was related to eating “bad foods” when in reality I was simply eating foods that were bad for me.
By refocusing my attention on why I was gaining weight instead of trying to lose weight, I was able to reduce my waistline, fight fatigue, and boost my energy.
In full disclosure, it wasn’t something that I discovered overnight. For years I struggled with the temptation of returning to my old dieting habits because, to be honest, it worked:
What I did know was that body positivity opened me up to the possibility that there was a better and healthier way to lose weight that didn’t involve counting every single calorie I ate, cutting out all the carbs I liked to eat or committing to a diet that I didn’t want to do.
As a Body Positive Nutrition Coach, it’s my mission to help women who struggle with constant fatigue and lack of energy, get the one-on-one accountability and support that you need to implement healthy eating strategies that will help you transform your body from the inside out.
Now, you might be wondering how to achieve body acceptance. Well, you’re in the right place! In this post, I’m going to share five practical ways to practice body acceptance.
Tip #1 - Appreciate What Your Body Can Do
It’s tempting when you’re on a body acceptance journey to start thinking about all the things your body can’t do. I challenge you to start thinking about what your body can do now that it couldn’t do before. If you’re a mom, think about how difficult it was to bring a child into this world. You likely had no idea the amount of strength it would take to create life. That is something to be appreciated, rather than to focus on what your body looks like now. If you’re like me and don’t have kids, you might want to consider how your body somehow hasn’t broken after all the sleepless nights in undergrad, the late nights at work, or the hours spent dancing the night away with your girls. Think about what your body can do, and you’ll be one step closer to loving yourself from the inside out.
Tip #2 - Think of Your Worth Beyond the Scale
This was a tough one because unfortunately weight loss is shoved down women’s (and men’s) throats. What I want to challenge you to do is to start thinking of yourself as a whole person. You are not a number of the scale, but possibly the person that your child runs to when they’re hurt, the friend that can be depended upon when no one knows what to do, or the employee that makes sure everything at work moves like clockwork. The point is that your worth is not based on how much you weigh or even any particular title you have. You are so much more, and as one of my mentors, Rachel Hollis would say, you’re made for more. Think of your worth as being something truly priceless. There is not another human being on this Earth that is exactly like you (even if you’re a twin). So, appreciate the value you bring to this world.
Tip #3 - Become Critical of the Social Media You Consume
I have to be brutally honest and say that the times when I’ve valued myself the worst, is when I allowed my social to be filled with bodies I wanted to have. This is in no one “skinny shaming” anyone. I'm just being honest that you have the right to unfriend, unfollow, and unlike any page or profile that triggers feelings of body shame or body obsession. In the future when you’re more comfortable with your body you can’t re-friend, re-follow or re-like all those pages and profile. For right now, focus on what you're consuming on social media and start cultivating a feed where you're not triggered to compare yourself to others.
Tip #4 - Become Open to Connecting with Positive People
While removing people that trigger you is essential, it’s also vital to start connecting with those who truly inspire you. You can do that in a variety of ones. For one, you can attend "live" events, like Summit 21, where you can connect with others doing amazing things and learn from people who can become your future mentors (or sponsors). You can also listen to podcasts, like, The Balanced Black Girl so that you can get a weekly or daily dose of inspiration and self-love for women not determining their worth by a scale. Or, you can attend local meetups, like Society 1925 in Boston, where you can build real relationships and connect with people doing amazing things. The point is to expand your horizons and start finding positive people that elevate you.
Tip #5 - Wear Clothes That Make You Feel Good
There was a time where I wore “hoochie mama” clothes, so I want to be real clear that I’m not talking about that. You don’t need to show off every piece of skin to be body positive. Now if that’s what you want to do, do you boo. What I’m saying is that you don't have to. For me, that meant shopping at stores where I could buy fashionable clothing that show every curve that I had. That also meant buying sizes that might be considered larger, but that honestly, I felt more comfortable wearing. Now I'm not you. You might be comfortable with more shapely clothing. As a person who is still triggered when people comment on my body shape, I prefer to limit the conversation by wearing clothing that doesn't show off all my curves. Find what's comfortable for you and start wearing more of it.
And, that’s a wrap! Five practical ways to start practicing body acceptance.
It might seem strange right now to take that initial leap of faith and start loving the skin you’re in. I promise it’s not as hard as it seems and if you’re willing to do the work, you'll learn to accept and love your body!
Now, it’s your turn! Let me know how you are practicing body acceptance in your life?
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