Monte Nido & Affiliates Director of Nutrition Anna Sweeney, MS, RD, LDN, CEDRD is an expert in the treatment of individuals presenting with eating disorders, disordered eating, and emotional eating. In this week’s blog post, Anna concludes her series in sharing her unique perspective and personal experience on body acceptance.
On my self acceptance journey, I have learned several things:
1. Acceptance is not the same as enjoying. Acceptance is a bit like gravity. You don’t have to like it, but no amount of wishing to float is going to make floating possible.
2. Acceptance might require a period of grief. If you have been willing your body to be one way for any period of time, transitioning to a new way of thinking about your body might make you sad, might make you angry, and will take time.
3. Acceptance makes life easier. I spent a number of years vigilantly fighting against my body, speaking negatively of it, and putting myself at risk unnecessarily. It is only because I accept my body that I’m able to live with the ease that I do.
4. Acceptance is good for you. In the same way that speaking negatively about yourself makes you feel worse, when you are able to speak about yourself from an accepting place – and that can be neutral – you’re better off. By simply changing the way I spoke about my body, I felt and feel differently in it.
5. Sometimes acceptance means needing help. This was a hard one for me, as I am superbly independent. But I accept that I need help navigating the world as a woman with different ability. I am choosing to ask for help more and more, and find that this process affirms itself. For you, this might look like speaking with your therapist or dietitian about body image. And about the challenges of self-acceptance.
6. Acceptance of what is leaves room for everything else. As I mentioned before, my process of accepting my disability was not always graceful. I fought it with all that I had. And now, I live, breathe, and sleep easier because I’m not fighting against myself.
I wish for you the all benefits that body acceptance has to offer. I wish for you the peace that I have found in accepting my present moment body as it is. I wish for you the ability to give yourself permission to approach body acceptance as a part of a larger body journey.
And whatever is in your collection of “should’s” SHOULD be examined immediately…What is there? Get curious. And let me know!