It seems that there is a new Buzz Phrase in the weight loss world – Fat Acceptance. It’s going to catch on. It’s going to be big. It’s going to be huge because it makes it sound like being fat is ok, and if you are overweight that’s exactly what you need to hear.
There is only one problem with it – it isn’t new. I’ve been teaching this to my clients for 15 years. I just never gave it a fancy title.
“Fat acceptance is the idea that an overweight individual has every right to be happy and content with respect to their sense of self as well as their own body.” Caroline J. Cederquist MD.
What I have always taught is that you cannot lose weight while you hate your body the way it is now. Of course this is difficult for my clients because most of them end up in my consulting room because they hate the way they look and have battled their fat for years – all to no avail.
I explain to them that the very first thing you need to do is to be ok with your body just the way it is. It’s all you – even the fat cells contain your DNA. The fat on your body is not your enemy. Do not fight it. Instead, be appreciative of who you are and the journey you have made to arrive here.
Of course the overweight body does not meet society’s expectations of attractiveness and so the problem faced by my clients is how to accept and appreciate that which they themselves find unattractive. This is no easy task when every time you turn on a TV; open a magazine; or even take a walk through town; you are bombarded with images of what society currently considers attractive/beautiful. What else can you do except compare yourself and find yourself woefully inadequate?
Well you could look on facebook at all the photo albums of your friends. There you will find real people – the kind that the world is actually full of. This will give you a reality check. Tv, magazines, and posters create an illusion of some mythical world filled with physically attractive people. It isn’t the real world so you can safely ignore it. If you really must compare yourself with other people then compare yourself with the people you see in the supermarket, or on the street, or in the doctor’s waiting room. Notice that there are people who are more overweight than you are and there are people who are slimmer than you are.
Once you arrive at the realisation that there is nothing special about your excess weight, you can move to a state of okayness about it. From there you move to acceptance. Acceptance isn’t saying to yourself this is fine let’s just carry on overeating and die from some horrible weight-induced disease. Acceptance is recognising that you are the way you are right now and right now that’s just how it is, and right now that isn’t going to change, so right now there is absolutely no point in beating yourself up over it. You think the beating up is what motivates you to change. It isn’t. It motivates you to think about change and start that battle with your body where you seek rapid weight loss and all the pain, cravings and denial that requires.
What you resist persists.
Acceptance allows you to acknowledge what is and then make plans for a different future.
Do you not treat someone you love in a very different manner from someone you hate?
Would you force feed someone you love so they slowly became a bloated, overweight, unhealthy human being who had little pleasure in life simply because moving around was so difficult?
Acceptance is like love. It wants what is best, but doesn’t berate what is. Love guides gently, carefully, supportingly towards the goal. Love commiserates with failures, but encourages you to keep going. Love is always there and will ensure success – no matter how long it takes. Love never, ever, ever, gives up on you.
So accept you the way you are right now. Learn to love your body – it is after all your home for life.
If you are curious about an easy way to lose weight through acceptance then check out my book How to Lose Weight Easily and Free Yourself from Diets Forever.