So, whenever we find that we are emotionally eating and dieting we feel we want to achieve a certain size and weight.
I know that was the case for me. I wanted to be a certain weight because I thought I would be more attractive, more accepted and have approval. I thought my life would be better overall.
That is not what happened. What I learned was that when I reached that magical weight I didn’t accept my body. I still had the same thoughts running in my head “I’m not good enough”, I also didn’t feel I had any more approval. It was far off from what I thought would happen.
Acceptance comes from a different place. Just because we reach that goal weight or size doesn’t mean we accept ourselves. So, that is the work we need to do under the surface!
What is Acceptance Anyways?
A lot of the times people interpret acceptance as liking or loving your body. Acceptance is not about that you can like OR not like your body and still accept it.
Acceptance is neutral. Body acceptance is coming to look at your body from a neutral space. It’s looking at your body and not judging “this is good, this is bad, this is fat, this is small, ugly, pretty”. Acceptance helps us to talk about our bodies in a more objective way and looking at the usefulness of our bodies. This gives the body profound meaning.
Once we are able to get to a neutral place about our body we can use it as a jumping off ground. We can start to see the beliefs we have about our bodies and start to question them. We can also see beliefs we once had start to fade away. For example “why is this size more attractive or this look rather than x,y,z ?”
Of course we all want to be healthy (and look healthy) but it doesn’t have to fall into a narrow box. We might be on either side of this ideal or right at it but we have to come to what is healthy for our body and feeling good in in.
Body Acceptance Exercise
Here is a body acceptance exercise. It helps connect you back to your body and as you work through the exercise you might find triggers. You simply cannot see a certain body part as having significance or it’s difficult to focus on that area. It can be hard for us to look at this area neutrally. For example saying we have a fat stomach vs. a 30 inch waist.
This means there is a lot of emotion there. It’s difficult to say something good about this area.
Looking at the Emotions in a Particular Body Part
In this stage as you move through the exercise you notice certain areas off your body hold certain areas. Connecting to this body part and feeling the stuck or unprocessed emotions is a good start. For example there might be sadness or grief there that is stuck or you have avoided.
Our bodies holds our unprocessed emotions.
When we feel and emotion we have a biochemical response in the body. For example with stress cortisol is released. When we don’t process through an emotion it is unresolved. We need to go back into our body and process it. If we had processed it it would have moved through our body at the time of the event and it wouldn’t be an issue.
When we hold onto the emotion we create a story around it and we need to go into the body and resolve it. I do this with clients via a somatic psychotherapy process.
So, for instance, let’s say you don’t want to look at your stomach. You might have buried sadness or anxiety there or any other emotion. You don’t want to look at the emotion so you distract yourself or avoid it, ignore it or bypass it with a positive thought.
BUT that emotion is still in your body.
When you are able to connect with this area and “talk” to it you can ask”
“What is this all about?”
Feel through the emotion.
Then resolve a past event that was unresolved.
Find a new solution.
This will create resolution and that area will no longer be an issue. Of course if the event is significant it may take a few sessions.
When we get to this place of looking at our body neutrally and moving through the blocks (the emotions) we can then acknowledge that area or part of the body. For instance we can connect that the stomach helps us digest our food and our waist is 30 inches.
Once we get to this point we can create the body we want. We want to feel healthy and strong. What is our healthy strong body.
So, to sum it up we need to get to body acceptance and neutrality. We can question our beliefs and move through our blocks to come to acceptance. From here we can start to envision and feel what our healthy will be like; the health and wellbeing we want to create. It’s not necessarily tied to a number or a shape but a feeling in your body. It’s feeling your healthy.
If you have any questions please leave them below 🙂