My client, whom we'll call Sally, was telling me how she's been reading up on all sorts of positive body image blogs. You know, blogs that encourage you to love yourself and accept yourself as you are right now. And that
was just all too far from reality for her to be able to swallow. She told me "I can't love my body. I can't stand living in it. I don't feel good physically
in my body. Why would I accept something that makes me so miserable?"
And I understood what Sally was saying. Often, people confuse self-acceptance with stagnation. Staying miserable, learning to put up with something you hate. Many people wrongly assume that they'll never change if they accept themselves (not to mention love themselves!) as they are right now. But it turns out that isn't true.
ACCEPTING SOMETHING DOESN'T MEAN YOU HAVE TO LIKE IT. The reality is that self-acceptance FACILITATES CHANGE. Acceptance can be defined as "the act of assenting or believing." Once we come to truly accept where we are at in life, what works for us, and what doesn't, we are then able to make decisions based on that reality. Here are a couple of diagrams to show what I mean.
Cycle of Non-Acceptance
Cycle of Acceptance
I share this message with you as a new year is about to begin because it's a time that you might be thinking about setting goals and contemplating how you'd like to improve upon this past year. So you just might want to consider adding self-love and self-acceptance to the top of your list. Ironically, it just might help you accomplish everything else you had in mind.
I'm going to leave you with a quote from a fabulous book that I stumbled upon while researching this blog post. The quote relates to accepting your body as it is right now.
How can you begin to learn the lesson of acceptance? By recognizing that what is, just is, and that the key to unlocking the prison of self-judgment lies in your own mind. You can either continue to fight against your body's reality by complaining bitterly and immersing yourself in self-deprecation, or you can make the very subtle but powerful mental shift into acceptance. Either way, the reality remains the same. Acceptance or rejection of your body only carries weight in your mind; your perception has no bearing on how your body actually looks, so why not choose the ease of acceptance rather than the pain of rejection? The choice is yours. "
Found in "If Life is a Game, These are the Rules" by Cherie Carter-Scott PhD
Have you had an experience with self-acceptance? Please share it!
In this Product Showcase I provide you with four resources to build your anti-diet community. And if you are trying to get off the dieting train, you know it takes fortitutde and a lot of positive reinforcement in this toxic and obsessed culture we live in. I review the book "The Gluten Lie" by Alan Levinovitz as well as 3 new podcasts. Check out my video blog below where I review each of these products in detail. At the end of this post I will also provide links to the podcasts.
Good luck as you develop your own go-to resources to help you stay sane in the often stressful world of food, nutrition, exercise, and body image!
Below are the list of podcasts I think are pretty awesome! They are by Registered Dietitian Nutritionists who believe in Intuitive Eating, Health At Every Size, and breaking out of dietland.
Food Psych - A Podcast about Nutrition, Eating Disorders & Food Psychology
By Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, CDN - Certified Nutritionist and Intuitive Eating Counselor
The Love, Food Podcast: Peace from emotional eating, binge eating, eating disorders, and negative body image
By Julie Duffy Dillon: Registered Dietitian, Food Behavior Expert, Body Image Guru
By Rebecca Scritchfield Registered Dietitian and Health & Happiness Expert
Here is another fantastic post by Christina Ypsilantis, Simmons Dietetic Intern.
Do you ever have times when you need a little boost to your day? Sometimes a cup of coffee may help, some yoga, or even a brisk walk to clear your head. While those can all be effective ways to get rid of the “life clutter”, I have found this fantastic little book (look at my picture…it really is little!!) that “offers practical advice and helpful tips on how to transform your fears into confidence, power…and love.” The title is, “The Little Book of Confidence” by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. This book is about the size of a post-it note and is only $5.95. A tiny book of motivation that is super portable, along with an affordable price that is probably cheaper than some fancy coffees…literally awesome!
The introduction quote kind of says it all: “Confidence…where does it come from? It comes from the knowledge that within you lies an immense amount of power and love to create all that you will ever need in your life.” This little book provides reminders that you are in control of your life, and that confidence lies within you. Sometimes you just need someone or something to remind you of that.
The book is split up into a few sections. You can seek out specific advice, or sometimes what I find fun is to close my eyes and randomly pick out a page. There is only one piece of advice on each page, which is my favorite part. There is not any other jargon on the page to distract you, just the message, plain and simple.
Here are some of my favorite words of wisdom from this book to remind you of your inner confidence and that your love and power from within are your vehicles to the roadmap that is your life.
- “SEE THE GIFTS: Instead of seeing life’s obstacles as problems, see them as opportunities, opening the door to growth. Each time you have the opportunity to stretch your capacity to handle the world around you, the more powerful and confident you will feel.”
- “SCULPT YOUR LIFE: Few sculpt their lives. Most accept what comes their way and then gripe about it. You have the power to create what you need. Commitment, action and positive thoughts will take you a long way.”
Do you have any favorite quotes that inspire you? I'd love to hear them!
I first read Brene Brown's book "The Gifts of Imperfection" nearly two years ago after watching her landmark TED talk. Both the talk and the book affected me in ways that no other work had before. Her research and message has changed me as a person and as a clinician. I actually wrote a bit about this in another blog post over a year ago. In the past couple of years Brene Brown has become a pretty big deal- first with TED and now OPRAH. It just doesn't get much bigger than Oprah. (I have my own mixed feelings on Oprah but that is perhaps for another blog post at another time.) But I love love love this exchange between Oprah and Brene. It's only a few minutes long so check it out.
So I have two primary motivators for gushing about Brene Brown.
1. On October 20, Brene is starting this super cool 6 week ecourse. It looks like a blend of her book plus art therapy. It's only $70 plus the cost of materials. You can read more about it here.
"In this 6-week art journal eCourse students will roll up their sleeves for hands-on, interactive art explorations that will help you move from who you think you're supposed to be...and embrace who you ARE."
2. I wanted to introduce you guys to Brene's work if you weren't aware of it already. She's written a couple of books but her book "The Gifts of Imperfection" is a fantastic place to start. In it, she introduces 10 guideposts that emerged from her research on shame and vulnerability. Turns out that the people who live "wholeheartedly" cultivate these gifts.
#3 Resilient Spirit
#4 Gratitude and Joy
#5 Intuition and Trusting Faith
#7 Play and Rest
#8 Calm and Stillness
#9 Meaningful Work
#10 Laughter, Song, and Dance
Perhaps this book resonated for me so much because these are the essential ingredients I see in my work that help to facilitate health and healing. Over the past several years I have come to scorn the "self-improvement" and always striving for perfection type of messaging. I have come to embrace the Buddhist principles of self-acceptance and self-compassion. I have learned that all we need "to be" is right inside of us. And that what we need most is to connect to what is already there. And Brene's research and writing beautifully illustrates how it is possible.
To finish up this blog post, I'd like to share a quote from "The Gifts of Imperfection" from her chapter on authenticity.
"If you're like me, practicing authenticity can feel like a daunting choice- there's risk involved in putting your true self out in to the world...I think we should be born with a warning label similar to the ones that come on cigarette packages: Caution: If you trade your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment and inexplicable grief. Sacrificing who we are for the sake of what other people think just isn't worth it. Yes, there can be authenticity growing pains for the people around us, but in the end, being true to ourselves is the best gift we can give the people we love."
Thanks Brene, I think so too.
I think this behavior has such relevance to the world of nutrition. When we fear impending famine, we stock pile “just in case.” How many of you repeat this pattern with your diets? If you have ever participated in a “diet” than you have repeated it even if you don’t know it! Creating a famine by cutting out certain foods or food groups actually triggers a natural and healthy survival mechanism to feast. This survival mechanism causes us to think obsessively and crave those forbidden items. And as many of you know from experience, when we are both psychologically and physically restricted we don’t just crave moderate amounts of those items, we yearn for COPIOUS amounts of them. And before you know it, a terrible pattern has emerged… Famine (even with the best of intentions) has set you up for feasting.