body image · fitness

5 small steps for me, 5 big steps toward body/self acceptance

The following is true: I struggle with accepting my body as a good body– one that functions well, seems appealing to me and can be owned proudly by me. I have fought with and disapproved of my body and body image for as long as I can remember. But I am really sick and tired of feeling this way. It’s exhausting and no fun at all. Know what I mean? I’m sure you do.

I'm 50% sick and 50% tired.
I’m 50% sick and 50% tired.

Writing for and reading this blog, however, has introduced a new notion to me: maybe I don’t have to fight with and disapprove of my body in such a systematic and comprehensive way. There are options here, one of which is to be nicer to my body, to cultivate acceptance and care of myself so I feel better about the way I look and feel to the world and myself.

Hey, it's something to think about.
Hey, it’s something to think about.

Oh– please don’t worry that I’m on the verge of telling y’all about some new diet or other cockamamie plan to try to make myself look different. Yeah, that’s not happening.

No diets. No gadgets. No funny food. No supplements. No surgeries.
No diets. No gadgets. No funny food. No supplements. No surgeries.

Instead, I’m doing or have done these things.

  • I’m cleaning out my closet to put away (either out of my house or in a bin in the basement) clothing that doesn’t currently fit me.

I know, this seems like a no-brainer, but I’ve never really truly done this before. And in fact, there are still some residual too-small clothing items hanging around, but I’m working on it. I have to say, it feels kind of good to survey my closet and drawers and not have to sift through several sizes and eras of clothing, deluged with memories and regrets, just to get myself dressed in the morning. Sheesh.

  • I’ve resumed wearing blue jeans, which has become possible because I’ve bought jeans that fit me right now (as opposed to some hypothetical time in future when my body is some smaller size).

Again, duh. But it has been difficult to bring myself to live in the present moment, at my present size. However, three things have made this easier: 1) relative ease of online ordering; 2) the abundance of clothing lines that now offer larger sizes in jeans; 3) stretchy fabrics! So I now have two cute pairs of jeans that actually fit me. Woo hoo!

  • Last summer, inspired by friends (including some of the bloggers), I’ve stopped coloring my hair, and letting the gray underneath grow out.

It’s now been 6 months, and I love the silver gray around my forehead, at my temples, and the gray that’s inching its way down. It’s going to take at least another year, but I’ve got time. Lots of people think it looks cool (which is always nice to hear). Mainly though, *I* love it. I didn’t think I would, but I do. Gray/silver hair suits me, and also opens up new color possibilities for clothing. Fun!

  • I’m taking baby steps toward regular strength training, which is something that makes me feel powerful and in touch with and grateful to my body when I do it.

I bought an online strength training program, which I started, but it’s taking a while to get going consistently. Still, it’s here, I’m here, and everything counts. I may join my local YMCA to take classes or do some personal training– we shall see what the next steps are. But I’m on a path to something, and it makes me appreciate my physical self whenever I take a step. Breathe…

  • Last and definitely not least: I’m being more open about how hard I find body self-acceptance, and I’m inviting support and partners and fellow-travelers to join in conversations with me.

What sorts of activities or relationships or other things help you with body acceptance? What are you looking for to help you with your own position or process? I’d love to hear from you.

baby steps.

9 thoughts on “5 small steps for me, 5 big steps toward body/self acceptance

  1. I find it helpful to aim for neutral acceptance messages to myself. For example something like “You are OK. You are fine.” For awhile I was aiming much higher (You are fabulous; you are the best) and it always felt really off and phony. Aiming for the middle has worked really well.

    1. Yes, I agree that neutrality, or localized positivity is a nice way to think about messaging.

  2. My biggest problem is having a running nutritionist assessing what I am eating and I am working on ignoring her. Kudos to you for achieving your steps!

  3. Yay, these are all great steps!
    I think it’s amazing how powerful the clothes thing can be. My body has changed sizes MANY times in my life, and each time it’s reached a new settling point, I thought, “maybe this is the size I’m meant to be?” It’s a weird, nearly always vagely disappointed, fatalistic message, rather than one of self-acceptance. I’ve learned that I do best, then, putting all the other clothes, bigger or smaller, in a bin and putting it out of sight for a year or so. If I don’t think about them, care about them, reach for them in a year, I find it easier to let them go and be OK with letting them go. And then I feel better accepting where I’m at is where I’m at. Not always LOVING where I’m at, but genuinely accepting it.

    And, of course, I love that you’re doing more lifting. 💪🏼💪🏼

  4. I love the photo of tiny baby steps. And babies don’t care what others think of them, when they are trying out new things. 🙂

  5. I love this. And related to it so much. My biggest clothing. I have a nice size middle age tummy, and finding things that accommodate that, but aren’t too baggy everywhere else is difficult. Add to that not loving shopping and a tight budget, well ugh. I miss the days of being able to throw on anything and it fit. I try not to keep clothes that are too small, but, I have so many clothes that are “snug” but, not too small, you know? However, next size up would probably be too big.

  6. It helps to me to recognize that lots of the people I find physically attractive have bodies outside the mainstream norms of beauty. So why do I hold myself to a standard that I reject for others? And I don’t just mean that I intellectually reject it. I mean that I also reject it with my libido. Now that’s easier I suppose as a bisexual woman but I think it would work too for thinking about the men I find attractive.

  7. I wish you all the best on your journey! If you want to read more about selflove and acceptance you can check out my blog, it was recently founded and talks about these issues. Kindest regards

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