When I was overweight I struggled greatly with self-confidence and with self -esteem. Maybe they are one in the same. I never felt comfortable in my new bigger body and winced every single time I actually looked at myself in the mirror. I have given a lot of thought over the past months to the concept of self-acceptance. On one hand you read about people who have accepted their body shape and size exactly where they are and don’t want to change anything about themselves. On the other hand, there are people like me, who just couldn’t accept my new body and tried valiantly to change.
In thinking about acceptance and self-love, I was very curious what you think about the concept of accepting your body where it is and not feeling the need or desire to change anything. Perhaps even accepting your body at an unhealthy weight, thus opening yourself up to the myriad of diseases that often accompany obesity. Is this wise or even possible?
I’ve counseled a lot of people who struggle with their weight – in person, over the phone, through email, and with the class I occasionally teach. One thing I’ve rarely found is the person who doesn’t desire a change. The change may be losing 20 pounds, or if may be losing 100 pounds, but the desire is still there. What isn’t there is the acceptance and happiness of how their body appears and functions right then. And for them, that unhappiness is often the impetus that drives them to make hard choices.
Choices concerning their food habits, emotional eating patterns, activity levels, and more. They make those choices to try and change the course of their current path and hopefully improve their health at the same time. Sometimes those new choices are lifelong, and sometimes not. But generally they don’t give up completely.
What of the individuals who don’t really see the need to change their lifestyles to improve their health and appearance? Are they wrong? Are they being truthful?
For me, there were times during my struggle with obesity where I outwardly “gave up” and professed contentment and happiness with myself. Personally, I wasn’t exactly being truthful with myself, John, or my friends. Inside there was still an internal struggle raging with regards to my weight. I said I was “happy” but I wasn’t. I said I felt “healthy” but I really didn’t. I said I didn’t “need” to change, but I did.
This is a touchy subject, because there is a fine line between accepting who we are but at the same time knowing there are positive changes that could be made, and accepting who we are period. I feel that although there are obese people who are healthy at the moment, over time, their obesity will begin to affect their health in a negative way.
What’s your take on accepting where you are even if your health may be jeopardized? Good idea or bad? Diane
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