Hello Sweet Friends:
Have you ever struggled to love and accept your body?
Total yes, right?
Body acceptance is capital H-A-R-D hard.
Our media is constantly telling us that we aren’t enough unless we look like whatever the current (and ever-changing) definition of beauty is.
And man, is it every exhausting and painful, right?
But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if you had the power to silence all of those painful “you are not enough” messages and make steps to accept your body?
Because you absolutely can! And I invited Allie Kim, a body confidence coach and self-love advocate, to help. She’s passionate about helping womxn, just like wonderful you, to stop hating their body and feel more confident in the skin they’re in.
Her uplifting, gentle tips are realistic and so incredibly helpful. I can’t wait for you to read them. So let’s dive in together!
Take it away Allie:
Body Acceptance Is A Process
Let’s face it, sometimes it’s hard to be a woman in our culture. We see roughly 4,000 to 10,000 images in the form of ads per day and most of those are centered around the image of the “idealized” female body. These women are often young, light-skinned, slim, tall and, above all, digitally altered and enhanced to the point where they look unrecognizable even to themselves.
While logically we KNOW this, it’s hard for our brain to distinguish between what’s real and what isn’t without a comparison. We just start taking it as fact. Soon we are taking in millions of images and telling ourselves that this is reality. (source 1, source 2)
I think it’s important to point out that this “ideal” female body that we’re all being sold is only achievable in less than 5% of the population; we see this image everywhere and ~95% of the population cannot achieve it. Yet we are made to feel like we could if we tried hard enough. Oh, and if we spent gobs of money. (source 1, source 2)
It’s no wonder that most women believe that to be acceptable and desirable they need to change or alter their bodies. In fact, it’s been reported that 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies. (source 1, source 2)
But what if we changed this? What if we worked on body acceptance instead of body hatred?
I know what you’re thinking, “But Allie, I’ve hated my body for so long now and you’re going to ask me to accept my body?”
I want to remind you that body acceptance is a process. Give yourself some grace and compassion while learning to shift your thoughts. Remember the goal is acceptance or neutrality; you don’t need to love your body or even like it to accept it.
Let’s work on this together with a few helpful tips:
Tip 1: Your Words and Your Thoughts Matter
How long have you spent hating your body? Years? Maybe even for some of us it’s been decades? That’s a lot of negative thoughts about your body.
Here’s another way to think about it:
We have thousands of thoughts per day, many of which we repeat day in and day out. If even a quarter of your thoughts were about how horrible your body looked, and you thought that for 10 years, that’s millions of thoughts on how much you hate your body.
That’s a lot of body hatred going on! No wonder we have a hard time shifting our thoughts.
Can you imagine what the impact would be if we changed these negative thoughts to neutral ones?
Instead of, “My legs would look better if I didn’t have all this cellulite.”
Try, “Cellulite is a natural part of the female body and 90% of women have it.”
or, “My legs are so awesome because they take me on breathtaking hikes.”
Instead of, “I hate my belly rolls. If only my stomach was flat, then I’d be attractive.”
Try, “My body is the least interesting thing about me and doesn’t determine my self-worth. I am a funny, smart, independent woman and that makes me sexy.”
Or, “My stomach is beautiful because it held my two precious babies.”
It’s not just the thoughts you have on yourself, you need to pay attention to your thoughts on other people.
Have you ever noticed that when you are judgemental of your body, you are quick to judge everyone else? Have you ever had these thoughts:
“I wish I was as skinny as her.”
Or, “Thank goodness I’m not that big.”
It’s ok if you do this because guess what? I did it too. In fact, I’ll bet you almost all of the population has done this at one time or another.
And if it’s not about body size it sure as heck is about something else. The car they drive, the size of the house they live in, the job they have, the money they make, we compare all the time.
Notice when these thoughts are coming up. It’s important not to shame yourself for them, instead recognize the thought and replace it with something neutral like:
“I really love that top on her, it brings out her eyes.”
Tip 2: Pay Attention To What You Surround Yourself With
Remember those 4,000 – 10,000 images we consume per day? How many of those are images of the same woman? Okay, maybe not the exact same woman, but the same body, skin, hair, eyes, etc.
If that’s all we see, of course, we are going to feel bad about ourselves. Look at everything you consume from social media to magazines, books to TV. I’m not joking when I say everything. And find out what isn’t working for you.
Take a look at your social feed first since this seems to be the biggest one. Look at each account that fills your feed and ask yourself, “do they lift me up or bring me down?”
Remember you have the power to control your feed. I give you permission to unfollow or mute anyone that isn’t making you feel your best. Even if that person is your friend, at the end of the day, you are the only one living your life. And if you spend your time living it for other people, you will never be happy.
Next, diversify your feed with people that do make you feel good. People of all different body types, skin tones, ages and abilities. Again, above all else, pay attention to the way these accounts make you feel.
Now do this with everything else.
Watch more shows highlighting people with different body types. I don’t know about you, but I love Shrill!
Read books that are body positive like:
- “The Body is Not an Apology” by Sonya Renee Taylor
- “The Things No One Tells Fat Girls” by Jes Baker
You can also:
- Look at models like Tess Holliday and Ashley Graham
- Read up on Health At Every Size (HAES)
- Shop at places where they show women of all shapes and sizes like Swimsuits For All and Fabletics
- Take a yoga class by Jessamyn Stanley
- Listen to a podcast by Sophia the creator of She’s All Fat.
There are so many ways to diversify what you consume on a daily basis.
This also means the clothes in your closet. If you’re hanging on to those “someday” clothes, they have got to go. Honestly, is seeing those clothes, knowing that you can’t fit into them really motivating you? Or are they bringing you down? I’m going to go out on a limb and say they are bringing you down.
Toss them, donate them, box them up and put them in the attic, whatever you have to do. And fill your closet up with things that fit you. Remember, the only person that knows the size of your clothes is you.
Still having a hard time getting bigger clothes? I ask you this, what would make you feel better, walking into a closet full of clothes that fit, look amazing on you and that you love to wear, or walking into a closet full of clothes where nothing fits and they make you feel bad about yourself?
Maybe you’re thinking that you can’t afford a new wardrobe right now and that’s okay. I encourage you to think outside the box. Go to thrift stores, upscale second hand stores, or one of my most favorite apps, Thred Up. Whatever it is, get excited about it!
Tip 3: Your Beliefs About Yourself
While this is kind of like the first tip, this one’s more about the overarching belief you have about yourself. The one that your thoughts ultimately lead up to. This is usually something like, “I believe that I’m not enough,” or “I’m unworthy of love, belonging, etc.”
If you don’t know your belief, that’s okay. I want to ask you this question:
What are you hoping that “ideal” body will bring you? Let’s face it, we don’t want that “ideal” body just to have it. No, we want something to come with it. We are hoping that it brings us love, acceptance, or belonging. These are the things that we don’t feel but we so desperately want to… and we think being thin will get us.
But, as many of you probably know, when you were at your thinnest, you probably still didn’t feel the way you thought you were “supposed” to feel. That’s because we are constantly sold the idea that dieting and being in a thinner body will “fix” everything.
But, what if I told you that you have more power than you ever thought you did?
You have all the power! It’s already inside of you, you just don’t know you have it. You have the power to choose your beliefs about yourself. That’s right!
You see, most of the time our beliefs about ourselves form in our childhood, then every time something “bad” happens it’s just evidence in the bank confirming that belief. But, when something good happens, we don’t have the same outlook. So we go through life confirming this belief that wasn’t even ours to begin with, but something that was given to us. (source 1, source 2)
Now you’re an adult, no longer do you have to be tied to those beliefs you were given. You get to choose your own.
However, we can’t go from, “I believe that I’m not enough,” to “I know that I’m enough,” and fully believe it. Our thoughts are like, “yea right you believe you’re enough, that’s a load of crap.”
And you know what, our thoughts are right. This is why we start our new belief with, “I am in the process of…” this way we are not “tricking” our subconscious into believing something that we know isn’t true. By saying, “I am in the process of,” we’re affirming that this is something we are working towards, something we want to believe even if it’s something that we don’t fully accept yet.
Try saying something like:
“I’m in the process of knowing I’m enough,” or, “I am in the process of knowing I am worthy of love no matter what my body size is.”
The key is that it needs to feel good to you. You need to not only want it but believe it.
Now, you need to write your new belief everywhere:
- Put it where you are triggered the most, like on your bathroom mirror or in your closet
- Write it on a post it note and put it on the door to see it before you leave every morning
- Put it in your car
- Make it a screensaver on your phone
- Set an alarm to go off two to three times a day
Whatever you do, get in the habit of seeing your new belief everywhere.
Tip 4: Get Your Thoughts Out Of Your Head
Have you ever noticed that once you have a negative thought you can’t escape it? And then that thought seems to grow legs and gets bigger and bigger until you’re in a full-blown shame spiral?
Boy, have I been there! And here’s the kicker:
Everything in your head feels 1000% real… but if you were to speak your thoughts, you would know just how silly they (usually) are. I mean are you really “the grossest person to ever walk the planet?” I think not.
Next time you find yourself going down this shame spiral, pause, take a deep breath, get a pen and paper and write everything down. If you can’t write it, speak it. I’ve had to do this in the car more times than I can count. Don’t worry, most people think you’re just talking on your hands-free phone.
Getting it out takes the power away from the words you are telling yourself. And you can see them for what they really are.
Next, you can ask yourself, “Is this true?” While yes, there can be truth to it, 99.9% of the time this isn’t ALL true. Looking at it logically and not emotionally really helps to shut that shame spiral down.
Tip 5: Never Underestimate the Power of 1%
With the advancement of technology, we have become a now generation. Literally everything is at our fingertips. I mean we can even get anything delivered to us at any hour of the day within an hour, depending on where you live of course.
We don’t take slow progress very well. But I ask you this:
How long have you spent hating your body? Years, maybe even for some of us it’s been decades. That a lot of negative thoughts about your body. Give yourself grace and know that this will take some time.
All we are looking for is 1% better than yesterday, that’s it.
Does that mean that you failed if you had a backslide? No, not at all, tomorrow just aim for 1% better. I know it’s hard to see the impact of 1% at first, but as time goes on that 1% compounds and catapults you higher than you could ever imagine.
I’m not expecting you to ace this the first time you try all of these tips and neither should you. The important thing is that you make the decision and go both feet in.
Remember that you are worth it! You are worth healing so that you can focus on the things that truly matter in your life, the things that you’ve always wanted to go for but never had the confidence to do.
It’s Sara again! Wasn’t that so helpful everyone? Thank you so much Allie for sharing such an important message about working to accept your body and be kind to yourself.
Self-love isn’t always easy. We’ve talked about that bunches and bunches. I love that Allie reminds us that, when it comes to your relationship with your body, it’s ok to focus on self-acceptance and take it one baby step at at time.
Every little step counts, sweet friends. And little by little, you’ll go far. Who’s ready to take a step forward?
Health and love,
Thought of the day: You deserve to feel confident and happy.
About Allie Kim
Allie Kim is an ex-fitness competitor who traded her sparkly bikini for self-love and body acceptance. After being at war with her body for decades, developing an eating disorder, spending huge amounts of time and money chasing after that “perfect” body and still not feeling happy, she knew there had to be another way. Now she’s on a mission to help women break free from the diet mentality and live the life they were meant to live, free from guilt and shame around food and their body. Helping these women to reclaim what diet culture has stolen from them and to help them learn to respect and accept their body. Because bodies come in all shapes and sizes and that’s what makes us all beautiful.
You can find her goodness right here:
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