Body image and acceptance

Body image has nothing to do with size or shape; whether we think we are fat, thin, good looking or not, or anything in between.

It is the product of peer, media, social, cultural and familial values. These values can have a very strong influence on our self-perception, self worth and self-esteem: leading us to believe we are ‘less than’ if we do not fit into the mould that is expected of us.

We are surrounded with images of ‘perfect’ bodies, diets that promise we’ll get there if only we starve ourselves, or over exercising in the vain hope we will achieve the body of our dreams and then… happy!By+working+on+our+inner+world+–+we+can+make+profound+shifts+in+our+metabolic+world

But time and time again both research and individual experiences show that getting the perfect body does not in anyway guarantee you happiness or anything else for that matter.

Instead of thinking you have to be someone else, be somewhere else, lose the weight to achieve what you want, what about looking at it through the lens of everything you want is right here, right now.
Looking at the possibility that by concentrating on not being happy with your body, and obsessing over diet and punishing exercise, you are missing out on so much else in life that is right here for the taking but you might not be able to see it clearly…. yet.

When we are stressing out about weight/looks/what the number on the scales is saying, and we are holding onto old messages about not being good enough, it puts the body into a stress response and that means the body is in fight or flight mode.
This means the metabolism slows down and hey presto the body holds onto fat because it thinks it might need to keep fat supplies on board in this stressful time in case of scarcity.

We all have a choice: feel bad about your body or love and accept it fully. It is all about acceptance.
The moment of acceptance liberates people from the underlying belief that achieving perfection would somehow make them a more lovable and worthy person in this world. Which of course is not true.

Once you get to a point of acceptance that you are a beautiful and wonderful person just the way you are, it is a liberation.
It is a freedom from the shackles of yesterday and the body image/weight struggle you have been holding on to for a long time.
A ‘weight’ will literally have been lifted off your shoulders and you are free to be the best person you can be in the world.

Shutting down the voices, looks and criticisms of others is hard, but when you really think about it, they are only other people’s perceptions and it actually says more about their own insecurities than it does about you.
Being courageous enough to shut it all out and know you are better than the number on the scales or the size of your thighs is the only path to self-love and self acceptance.

Looking inwards instead of out and feeling into your true needs and values, liberates you from the constant cycle of yo yo dieting, over exercising and so on, that can feel like such a burden.
Suddenly it doesn’t seem like something you want to continue to fight with in your life.

And with your focus on self awareness and how you feel inside, possibilities open up.
With the body no longer in a stressed state, you are in the best possible position for your weight to stabilise where it needs to be – providing of course, that you are eating a healthy diet and exercising moderately.

Here are a few basic tips for working towards that place of acceptance:How+to+be+an+amazingly+powerful+woman-+love+your+body

  1. Gratitude for what is, here and now and what is actually working in your life.

Even if you are in the most unhealthy place of your life right now and stressing over your body in some way, something IS working.
The fact that you can breath is proof. Look for other parts of your life that you are grateful for. Spend time every day focusing your awareness on what you love about your life and your body and how it serves you.

  1. Listen to the needs of your body.

Your body wants to be loved and taken care of. It wants to be stretched, exercised, nourished and touched.
It wants to feel good. Moderate exercise, meditation, breath work and healthy eating are all part of the package, slow everything down!
Pay attention, listen to what your body really needs.

  1. Rewire your brain.

Information and thoughts move through your brain via neural pathways. The more your thoughts follow a specific pathway, the stronger that pathway becomes.
If you are thinking “I’m fat, I’m ugly” every day, those pathways become very strong indeed and become your default thoughts.

Neuroplasticity, which essentially means that the brain is capable of changing it’s neural pathways, means you can create new pathways with messages of self-love and kindness instead of self rejection and body hate.
One way to interrupt your negative thinking is to say “that’s not true” when your inner critic pops up with a derogatory comment on your body. Then gently reply with what you know is true, find simple words to counteract the negative ones.

  1. Re-evaluate your self-worth.

How we nourish our bodies has a lot to do with self-worth. Until you feel worthy of feeling your best, you will constantly undermine your own efforts to achieving that end. And nourishing our bodies is not just about what we eat.

Find a way of telling yourself you are worthy and why, look inward for the answers. Telling yourself could be through journalling or meditation or chanting for example.
Making this a daily practice and not trying to force anything, but simply staying patient with this, you will be likely to see your attitude becomes more loving to yourself and it is then easier for acceptance to naturally follow.

  1. Don’t believe everything you tell yourself

Our minds are filled with the thoughts, beliefs and values of all the people who influence our lives and stuff from the past that no longer serves us.
Having a strong sense of self comes from tuning out the voices of everyone else and being curious about what’s going on inside you, listening to your own intuition, feelings, needs and desires. All your answers are in there somewhere.
It’s about doing what feels authentic to you and letting go of the need to get everyone else’s approval.
Letting go of the fear of judgement of others.
Letting go of your own self judgement.Every+unwanted+behavior+around+food,+body,+and+health+is+a+distorted+attempt+to+re-achieve+wholeness

The only thing you have to do is feel you are meeting your own needs and relax into the possibility that when you are no longer worrying about your body image or weight, that there is more freedom to live the life you really want as an empowered and happy person.

I hope you enjoy this post, feel free to contact me or send me a Facebook message if you would like more information about how my coaching with body image and other subjects works, or for general information about the coaching process.

Check out my half price offer for coaching sessions booked, paid for and taken in June/July 2016.

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