We live in a world that makes it extremely difficult to accept our bodies as they are. Our society constantly bombards us with advertisements and information that tells us we need to change. We need to look smaller, thinner, stronger, younger, prettier, taller, and the list goes on. This goes for all the men out there too! Diet culture leads us to believe that we can all achieve a certain body size. In reality, a majority of people will not fall into this size or weight based on biological factors.
We have also been brainwashed to believe that health equates to appearance and size. Losing weight is not what will help somebody’s health overall. What will help is developing healthy habits, not going on a diet to lose X amount of pounds. Studies continue to show that body size has very little to do with health. People can be healthy by having healthy habits, i.e. eating a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables, not smoking, drinking in moderation, and moving their bodies a few times per week regardless of size. While weight might change when developing these habits, it also might not. That is okay!
Have you heard of Set Point Theory?
Set Point Theory explains how everybody is genetically predetermined to weigh a certain amount. Some people are also genetically predisposed to gaining weight easier than others as well (I know…seems not fair). There are a lot of variables here. Weight tends to fall within a range rather than a specific number and can fluctuate throughout our lives for a number of reasons.
An example of set point theory is when a person diets, loses weight, and then eventually has difficulty maintaining the weight lost. This is due to a number of different factors. One cause is that the body is fighting to get itself back to the original range it considered “normal” or it’s set point range. This is because when we get outside of the body’s set point, feedback control mechanisms are activated in the brain and body to bring the weight back to stable.
This can get pretty in depth so if you would like to learn more, watch this awesome Ted Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jn0Ygp7pMbA
Here are some steps you can take to help accept your body as it is:
- Accept that your body is unique and genetically different than everybody else
- Listen to your body and work on intuitive or confident eating; eating balanced meals with all food groups
- Accept that the body fights to maintain a certain weight and percent of body fat
- Wear clothes that are comfortable and that you like
- Participate in activities and exercise that you enjoy and find fulfilling
- Treat your body with respect and kindness
- Find things and people to have in your life that make you feel good
- Go to therapy if you feel like thoughts about your body are interfering with your life or distressing
- Try neutral or positive affirmations when you find yourself being mean about your body, i.e. “not bad.”
- Consider how you would talk to your friends or family and try talking to yourself like that instead. We tend to be kind to others and not ourselves!