Self Acceptance Comes First

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470286_behind_the_shutterThis week Marsha began her guest contributing at We Are The Real Deal by writing a post asking the question “If I Don’t Like Me, Can I Take Care Of Me?”  In her post Marsha asked readers to imagine that after successfully adopting a healthy lifestyle, they found their weight remained the same.  How would they feel?  Would they be okay with that, or would they be shattered?

The responses, as always, are across the board.

Many women feel their body size is directly related to their happiness.  The smaller they are the happier they can be.  They feel that once they can change their bodies into something better then they will feel confidence.

After losing a good amount of weight, keeping it off, then regaining much of it within a year’s time, I’ve realized that body size has only as much to do with my happiness as I let it.  When Marsha asked me that same questions weeks ago, my answer was, “I’d be okay with that.”  And I would.  I’ve learned that as long as my body is active and I am able to do the things I want to do then I am happy and my weight doesn’t matter.  I no longer think being a certain weight, or being above a certain imaginary weight maximum is reason enough for me to dislike myself.

Marsha asked another question in her post, one that Mimi Francis, our behavioral health therapist at Green Mountain, often asks,

“How well has not liking yourself worked so far?”

For most of us – not well.  When I was in the stage where I hated my body and disliked myself because of my body, nothing good was happening to me.  I was caught in an endless cycle of abusing food because I didn’t know what else to do.  I didn’t think I deserved anything better.  And it wasn’t until I finally decided that I was worth it, that I mattered, that I decided to change my life through healthy eating and exercise.

Positive change is much more likely to come from a place of self-love than from self-hatred.  It did in my case and many others.  Often the first step in creating a healthy lifestyle is discovering that you are worth it.  Learning the simple fact that you are worth it is important because people will put in the work to take care of themselves when they feel they are worthy of it.

“We nurture and care for the things we love and feel connected to. We neglect and destroy the things we do not.” –Unknown

In her guest post at A Weight Lifted, Karen made some great points about this subject:

  • You can’t hate yourself to health
  • You can’t hate yourself AND lose weight permanently
  • When you are full of self-loathing, your don’t treat yourself very well
  • You must start from a place of self-love and self-acceptance

The first step usually is the one people think is last.  You learn to love yourself and accept your body first, and the healthy lifestyle management part falls into place.  When you start from a place of self-love it is easier because you realize you deserve it.  Our bodies might not be perfect in the stage they are at right now, I know mine still isn’t, but that doesn’t mean we can’t accept and love them now.  We have to be able to like ourselves enough now to realize we deserve the good things that a healthy lifestyle provides.

13 Responses (Add Yours)

  • [...] So while I’m giving myself a the-rain-ruined-my-plans-but-I-still-need-to-workout-so-I-can-be-healthy pep talk, you go check out my post today at A Weight Lifted about self-acceptance as the first step to losing weight and becoming healthy. [...]

  • I think we definitely have to love ourselves to make this work. If I didn’t love myself, I don’t think I’d spend nearly as much time thinking about myself and how I can reach the goals I aspire to.

    I am doing my best because the possibilities are endless and because self-loathing is so. not. an. option.

    And while I’m still not at my ultimate goal, I’ve made steady strides toward it. And I already feel amazing because I’m doing what I know I should be doing. And there are so many rewards for me along the way.

    My ultimate weight-loss goal is to feel healthy, look pretty and to be in control daily. And I’ve already begun to see those results in myself.
    .-= Kenz @ All The Weigh’s last blog post..Keeping Myself Motivated =-.

  • Daniele says:

    Well said! I do agree that one needs to get to a place where one knows: I deserve to be the best ‘me’ I can. I deserve to look after myself. I love my body and I owe it to my body to take care of it.
    That is the first step.
    .-= Daniele’s last blog post..Day 4 =-.

  • DaniJo says:

    I personally found that place 3 years after my first stay at GMFR. That place where I really was ok with myself and not just my weight. And yes, it was still at a weight most people would consider very heavy. But I lived a happy AND healthy life and I found my weight didn’t matter to me, and suprisingly it didn’t matter to most people I knew, thereby confirming the idea that a lot o fthe negativity we feel from others can be in our heads. Unfortunatley, it wasn’t so with everyone and I still feel that the choice to be happy and healthy and not pay attention to my scale is the most radical thing I have ever or will ever do. Most people can’t understand it and it takes a lot of balance to keep true to yourself in spite of the messages that come at you.

  • Hilary says:

    Honestly, I don’t know that all of us need to be full of self-acceptance in order to start losing weight. Maybe in order to keep in off healthfully, but perhaps not to get started. The reason I’m saying this is that I think sometimes we start to build a little confidence as we complete small goals like lose another pound or walk another lap around the track. As the confidence builds, we might very likely find our self-esteem rising as well. It happens in increments. I think this experience is probably particular to each individual.

    For me, I see my self-worth and my efforts to lose weight walking side by side, mutually helping each other along. As I accomplish the goal of losing some weight, I realize I am capable and feeling more energetic. . . . As I feel better about myself and my circumstances, I feel more capable of continuing to lose weight.
    .-= Hilary’s last blog post..Jumping into Weight Loss =-.

  • baby cribs says:

    I think we should have to accept what we are so that people around us will accept us for who we are, too. Discipline and determination is also a key to be accepted.

  • DaniJo says:

    Hilary,

    I think you’re right. I don’t think one must come before the other. But I think in the end to be happy regardless of weight you must have self acceptance. I think it is a worthy goal in and of itself having nothing to do with weight, but that the lack of it can derail you in many endevours in the long term.

  • Cindy says:

    I agree with your perspective Hilary. I think for many women it is a lot to ask to make that leap into self-love when you’re in a place that is so disconnected from your best self. Taking time to acknowledge small successes is very important. I also think you can be dissatisfied with some aspects of your physical being and still love yourself.

  • [...] H. Wayler, PhD presents Self Acceptance Comes First posted at A [...]

  • Dead pent subject matter, regards for selective information. “The bravest thing you can do when you are not brave is to profess courage and act accordingly.” by Corra Harris.

  • visual aids says:

    Thanks for all your efforts that you have put in this. quite interesting info .

  • […] At first, I wanted to write an open letter to the woman asking her what she thought she would be achieving with this fat shaming tactic? If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know how we feel about criticism and motivation. […]

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