Total Health in Midlife Episode #172: The Paradox of Body Acceptance

The Paradox of Body Acceptance

Have you ever felt at war with your own reflection? 

Join me as we step into the emotional battleground of body image and acceptance, with a focus on the midlife experience. This episode is a heart-to-heart about the conflicting messages we receive on self-worth and physical appearance, dissecting how societal expectations can lead to feelings of inadequacy, and offering a compassionate space to explore these complex emotions. 

From personal anecdotes to the wider societal context, we navigate the intricacies of body neutrality, body positivity, and the Health at Every Size movement, providing a supportive backdrop for listeners facing similar journeys.

Amidst the pressures of looking a certain way, especially during midlife, can we find peace with our changing bodies? Our conversation reveals the harsh realities of fatphobia but also unpacks the liberating philosophies that can lead us to self-compassion. 

As we dive into the paradoxes of striving for change while fostering self-acceptance, I share how coaching can be a transformative tool. We address the misconceptions around body acceptance and the fear of complacency, distinguishing between self-improvement and self-love. The journey of self-acceptance is multifaceted, and this episode serves as a testament to the ongoing process of redefining wellness and beauty standards.

I invite you to reflect on your own perceptions and consider how rewriting our narratives can empower us to embrace wellness in a way that honors our individuality and life stages. With a focus on the importance of community and agency, this episode is an open invitation to join a supportive network where we continue these essential conversations. 

Together, let’s encourage one another to find strength and empowerment within, leaving behind the shackles of societal expectations. Tune in for an episode that promises not just to listen but also to uplift and inspire a journey toward self-acceptance and holistic well-being.

Chapter Summaries

Navigating Body Image and Acceptance (0:00:02)

Body image struggles in midlife, societal norms, self-acceptance, body neutrality, body positivity, diet culture, fatphobia, and health at every size.

Navigating Body Positivity and Self-Acceptance (0:11:06)  

Fatphobia, diet culture, and societal pressures impact body positivity and HAES during midlife for women.

Navigating the Journey of Self-Acceptance (0:22:50)

Coaching transforms body image and midlife, emphasizing self-acceptance, societal shifts, and compassion in navigating changes.

Embracing Body Acceptance and Wellness Journey (0:34:58)

Embracing our bodies, achieving body acceptance and health, challenging societal narratives, and fostering personal development through community and personal agency.

Body Positivity and Self-Acceptance (0:42:25)

Self-worth is not tied to societal beauty standards; choose self-acceptance and love for our bodies. Empowerment and compassion are encouraged.

Are you loving the podcast, but arent sure where to start? click here to get your copy of the Done with Dieting Podcast Roadmap Its a fantastic listening guide that pulls out the exact episodes that will get you moving towards optimal health.

If you want to take the work we’re doing here on the podcast and go even deeper, you need to join the Feel Good Sisterhood - my group coaching program for women in midlife who are done with dieting, but still want to feel good! The Feel Good Sisterhood is open for enrollment, so click here to discover if group coaching is a right fit for you and your goals.

I am so excited to hear what you all think about the podcast – if you have any feedback, please let me know! You can leave me a rating and review in Apple Podcasts, which helps me create an excellent show and helps other women who want to get off the diet roller coaster find it, too.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode

  • Explore the inner conversations we have with ourselves, as we dive into how societal norms and personal truths shape our self-perception.
  • Discover how to embrace self-love and acceptance in midlife, navigating the conflicting messages about body positivity and overcoming the whispers that hold us back from celebrating our own worth.
  • Embark on a transformative journey of self-discovery as we explore the profound power of speaking our truths, finding strength in vulnerability, and breaking the silence that fuels shame and insecurity.
  • Discover the delicate balance between health habits and body satisfaction, finding your unique sweet spot where happiness and well-being intersect without sacrificing fulfillment or societal pressures.
  • Uncover the untold stories about your body, rewriting them for empowerment and self-acceptance on your transformative journey of self-discovery.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Full Episode Transcript:

Today, we are diving deep into a topic that many women in midlife struggle just a little bit with, yet we don’t talk about. Have you ever looked in the mirror and felt like your body just doesn’t reflect the beauty standards that we see all across social media and society?

Of course, you do. Because 91 percent of women struggle with their body image. And have you ever found yourself caught in the crossfire between wanting to love your body, totally as it is, and the desire to change it. If you have, you are so not alone.

Today, we are tackling the complex emotions around body image. The guilt and confusion that is bred by diet culture, and the revolutionary idea of health at every size. But here’s where we’re really focusing.

What if I told you that the journey to acceptance isn’t about reaching that destination of loving your body in a way that the world expects you to? What if the real empowerment lies in understanding and navigating the nuances of body neutrality and that aiming for body positivity might not even be the goal at all?

Today’s episode is a deep dive into the two stories that we have in our heads about our bodies, our futures, and a look at the Paradoxes of Progress. A guide to finding your path through acceptance and awareness.

If you’ve ever felt alone in this struggle, and you’ve wondered about the balance between health and happiness or sought a space free from judgment to explore these confusing thoughts and feelings, then you cannot afford to miss this episode.

Join me as we explore what it truly means to navigate body image in midlife, changing societal norms, and find peace with where we are. Let’s dive in.

Welcome to Total Health and Midlife, the podcast for women embracing the pivotal transformation from the daily grind to the dawn of a new chapter. I’m Elizabeth, your host and fellow traveler on this journey.

As a Life and Health Coach, I am intimately familiar with the changes and challenges we face during this stage. Shifting careers, changing relationships, our new bodies, and redefining goals and needs as we start to look to the future and ask, what do I want?

In this podcast, we’ll explore physical, mental, and emotional wellness, offering insights and strategies to achieve optimal health through these transformative years.

Yes, it’s totally possible.

Join me in this amazing journey of body, mind, and spirit, where we’re not just improving our health, but transforming our entire lives.

Hey everyone, welcome to the Total Health in Midlife podcast. I am Elizabeth Sherman, your host. And if you’re joining me for the first time today, I want to sincerely welcome you to the podcast. And if this is not your first episode, welcome back. I am so glad you’re here.

So today, I am exploring a topic that is completely sensitive and that I think is something that you will relate to. Because it’s something that’s been going on in my brain, it’s something that I’ve been coaching about, and It’s something that I think that we need to just shed into light.

It’s about the silent conversations that we have with ourselves. You know, those moments when our reflections in the mirror echo back, not just our image. But then, also the weight of decades of expectations of doubts and what we think about ourselves really.

This conversation that we’re having today is about the confusing conversations that many of us might be having in our heads. and the things that we can’t say out loud. So, as society changes to become more accepting of larger bodies, and really trying to get rid of diet speak, and how do we adjust with those new norms.

I want to start out with a story about something that is really very personal because it’s through sharing our truths that we find common ground. Not long ago, I was feeling a little vulnerable with a friend.

So, this friend is the kind of person who just radiates confidence. She’s super smart. She’s just gorgeous. She’s successful, and she has so much confidence. And by any standards, she is the epitome of success.

So, one day, as we were talking. I kind of caught myself wondering, why is she friends with me? Why does she even like me? Why does she have me around? And I felt like I was standing in the shadow of her just amazingness. And I was questioning, what could I possibly bring to our friendship?

I was talking to a mutual friend of ours and I voiced this doubt. I was really kind of hoping for understanding and compassion or maybe just a space to be heard. I wasn’t certainly expecting my friend to agree with me, right?

And what my friend said, this mutual friend of ours, she was like, Oh, you need to love yourself more. You have so much to offer. And she kind of shut it down from there. While the intention was to uplift me and bolster my confidence, quite honestly, it had the opposite effect.

Suddenly, I felt silenced and shame that I should voice that thing about myself. That I wasn’t feeling like I could carry this other strong woman as an equal. And it was as if my feelings were invalid or maybe even something to be ashamed of. Certainly, not something that I was allowed to talk about, right?

And it was a reminder that even in spaces where we are trying to seek solace and connection with another, we can find ourselves lost. Not allowed to share our innermost feelings and thoughts because we’re not supposed to talk like that as strong, successful women.

And so, navigating this balance of being and becoming of self-acceptance and the desire to change is something that many of us might struggle with. This is why today’s episode is so important. Because we’re living in an era where the messages about our bodies and our worth are seemingly more confusing than ever.

On one hand, we are encouraged to embrace body positivity and to celebrate our capabilities and reject the limitations that have been placed on us by a society that’s obsessed with appearance. And on the other hand, we are still unlearning the deeply ingrained beliefs that our value is tied to how we look. And that there’s a certain way that we have to be. That there’s a certain level of actions or behavior that is acceptable to demonstrate.

But here’s the thing. It’s okay to feel caught in the middle because we’re learning something new. And it’s okay to struggle with these contradictions. And know, that you’re not alone in this. And so today, hopefully, I’m creating a safe space to explore these feelings together and to acknowledge the discomfort and the growth that comes from confronting what we’ve always been told to believe about ourselves.

In navigating the journey to self-acceptance and health, first of all, there are a number of terms that we both aspire to be and that challenge us. I think that it’s really super important to unpack some of these terms and these concepts. Specifically, body neutrality, body positivity, diet culture, fat phobia, and the health at every size movement.

So, understanding these can lay the groundwork for our path in this episode and help us see what we’ve been and where we’re headed. So, body neutrality focuses on what our bodies can do rather than how they look. It’s about appreciating our physical selves without the constant pressure to adore or revile in our appearance.

And so, this perspective can be a breath of fresh air for those of us who just don’t want to do the body love thing or can’t even imagine what it is. It’s the middle ground that says, my body’s appearance doesn’t have to be the center of my world.

Now, body positivity, on the other hand, encourages us to love our bodies as they are and celebrate every shape, size, and appearance. It’s a radical acceptance that challenges societal norms about beauty and worth.

While empowering, this movement asks something that can feel monumental for those of us who have spent a lifetime critiquing our reflections. And if you want to dig into these two concepts a little bit more, body positivity and body neutrality, episode number 76 is titled, ‘Body Neutrality,’ and I go into it a lot more about not having to go to body positivity. If you want to take a deeper dive into those topics.

Now, diet culture is the pervasive belief that values thinness and appearance and shape above our health. It’s the voice that glorifies certain foods as being good, and then demonizes others as being bad. So, it creates negative relationship with eating and exercise.

Diet culture is everywhere. And it creeps into our lives under the guise of health. Yet, leaving a trail of guilt, shame, and never feeling like we are enough. And another episode that I want to direct you to, if you want to find out more about that is episode 137 and a half, it’s a bonus episode called, ‘Done With Dieting Class.’

And in that class, I talk a lot about the societal stigma that many of us have learned and grown up with as far as our appearance, our bodies, and why we have the relationship that we do with food, exercise, and our bodies.

Now, fat phobia is the irrational fear and stigmatization of fat bodies. And it perpetuates discrimination and bias. It’s the societal prejudice that equates thinness with health, success, and moral virtue. While viewing larger bodies through the lens of judgment and being less than.

There’s something else, there’s the Health at Every Size movement, or what’s also called HAES, H A E S. And that movement challenges the conventional weight centric approach to health. It promotes the idea that health outcomes are better improved through sustainable habits rather than weight loss.

HAES advocates for compassionate self-care, including finding joy in movement and eating in a way that’s respectful to our body’s needs. Okay? Now, in episode number 13, I chat with a guest to talk about the HAES Movement and Fat Phobia, if you want to find out more about that.

Diet culture with its roots deeply embedded in fat phobia has undoubtedly harmed us. Not just us as women, but us as a society. It sold us the lie that not only are certain bodies deserving to be seen and celebrated but it leaves many of us trapped in a cycle of self-loathing and endless dieting.

This culture doesn’t just hurt those it deems to be not enough, but it diminishes all of us. And it limits the richness of humanity and diversity and the fullness of our lives. The movement of body neutrality, and body positivity, and HAES serves as a way out of it. And a healthier, more inclusive way of relating to others and ourselves.

They counteract diet culture’s harmful effects by affirming that our worth isn’t measured by our waistlines. These philosophies encourage us to step back from the mirror and see ourselves as whole beings deserving of love and kindness, regardless of our size.

However, as we move through this journey, it’s essential to recognize the complexity of these concepts. And embracing them isn’t an overnight switch. Especially, for those of us who’ve been living in these truly murky waters of diet culture for decades.

It’s okay to find resonance in one idea and not another. Or to discover the comfort in the principles of HAES while struggling with absolute acceptance preached by body positivity. It’s okay to be where you are.

This way isn’t about finding new doctrine or replacing old ways of being, but rather about offering ourselves grace as we learn and grow. It’s about acknowledging where we are in our journey and understanding that moving towards a healthier relationship with our bodies and food is a process. One that doesn’t follow in a straight line. And it’s something that we have to unlearn.

In the end, these movements aim to dismantle the structures that have confined us. Offering a vision of a world where health, happiness, and self-worth are accessible to everyone. No matter our size, your size, my size.

As we discuss these concepts, it’s really super important to remember that you’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed or conflicted. And you did not come up with these ideas of diet and body shape on your own. They were actually taught to you. Together, we are learning, we are unlearning, and we are redefining what it means to live well in the body’s that we call home.

So, navigating the landscape of body positivity and HAES as a woman in midlife is like walking into a hall of mirrors. Each reflection offers a different often, contradicting image of who we are supposed to be. Oftentimes, we applaud the movement for other women, championing the cause of self-love and acceptance with just robustness, right?

Yet, when it comes to our own reflections, that’s where things break down. There’s a voice, a constant whisper in our heads that convinces us, our bodies are the outliers. That health at every size is okay for others, but it’s not okay for us. That we are the ones that don’t deserve celebration or exposure.

And it’s a really jarring dissonance. Believing in the movement for others but seeing somehow that we are exempt from that. We view our own bodies as somehow beyond the reach of positivity. And I get it. I’m there with you.

This period of midlife brings its own set of changes and challenges. A time when our bodies are often rewriting themselves in ways that no one told us about, that we can’t possibly anticipate.

And for many of us, motherhood has marked our skin and shapes in profound ways, leaving us to navigate a reality far removed from the untouched pictures that we see online. And so, when we compare our bodies to these social media images, we ask ourselves, well, but if she can do it, if she can look that way, why can’t I? What’s wrong with me? And it’s a comparison game that’s rigged and it sets us up for feelings of failure and self-doubt and not enoughness.

In recent years, we have seen a shift though with public figures and celebrities embracing their greys and going out in public naturally and being like, Hello world, this is what a midlife woman looks like. It’s empowering, absolutely. To see women in midlife stepping into their power and owning their space and influence.

But this progress also comes with its paradoxes. We are up against centuries of socialization that have kept us bound in our beliefs around women’s value, what youth means, and our purpose.

The patriarchal structures, racial biases, and cultural narratives have really impressed upon us that a woman’s worth is boiled down to age. Particularly, as we move out of our childbearing years. These messages steeped in our consciousness from youth are not easily shed.

And now, in a relatively short span, we are asked to unlearn these deeply entrenched views and embrace a narrative of empowerment and self-acceptance. That while intellectually we can get behind, emotionally, we are just not there yet.

And so, the heart of the paradox lies in this disjointedness between being able to mentally understand and emotional acceptance of where we are, who we are in this process. We can intellectually champion the principles of body positivity and HAES, recognizing their values in combating and fighting these toxic elements of diet culture and societal expectations.

Yet, emotionally, many of us find ourselves truly believing that we are not there yet. And being able to apply these concepts to our own lives. It’s this juxtaposition that adds layers of shame to our already complex relationship with our bodies. We are caught in this weird transformation at once inspired by the promise of liberation and hindered by the inertia, keeping us back with these old beliefs.

This moment in time for women in midlife is both thrilling and deeply scary. We stand in the forefront of change. We are setting a new path for those who are coming behind us. We are advocating for a world where everybody is valued and celebrated. Not just for its adherence to an unattainable idea but for the life it embodies and the stories, the friendships that we tell.

Yet, as we champion this cause, we must also extend grace to ourselves. And recognize that the journey to self-acceptance is littered with contradictions. It’s a path that demands patience, understanding, and above all, gentle acknowledgement that it’s okay to be a work in progress. And navigate body positivity and HAES at our own pace.

Over the last year, I have been on a deeply personal journey, one that has led me down just endless paths of self-discovery towards a more compassionate understanding of myself. And this process has been about untangling many of my people pleasing tendencies.

I’ve been talking a lot about people pleasing on the podcast, and that’s because I’m talking about my own process. And so, I’ve been going into family dynamics, and childhood experiences, and really going into and exploring the inner being of my hurt inner child and calling out for attention and healing. And so, it’s been a process of learning, of listening to those inner voices with a gentle ear. And most importantly, of reparenting that part of myself that so desperately needed love and acceptance.

And I tell you this because as I navigated this entire process, I have uncovered truths about myself that were both surprising and extremely freeing. I learned to like who I am, perhaps more than I ever have. And to love not just others but myself with a newfound depth and fierceness.

This journey has taught me that the value of standing up for myself of asserting my needs and desires in a world that often tells women that we should sit down. That we should be content with what we have and silent about what we want more of. That we should be happy with what we have, that we are being greedy, if we ask for more.

But let’s be honest. Even with this newfound self-appreciation and the armor of self-love that I’ve carefully constructed, I am not immune to that self-doubt and criticism that finds their way in to my brain. I wish I could say that I’ve reached a point where I dance around with love for every inch of my body.

But here’s the truth. There are moments, even though they’re small, where I can look in the mirror and all of a sudden, a thought will pop up that, Oh, you look terrible. No one should be able to see that.

But here’s the thing. Because of where I am and the work that I’ve done to heal my relationship with my body, with food and understand the inner workings of my thought process. I can immediately dismiss those thoughts and just make them quieter.

Brene Brown has an amazing quote that I love, which is “Shame cannot survive being spoken. It needs three things to grow. Secrecy, Silence, and Judgment.” Now, this quote resonates with me on a profound level because it speaks to the power of voicing our truths, of finding solidarity in shared experiences. And being able to connect with one another and say, “Hey, I’m having this experience.”

And then have someone say back to us, ” Oh, I’m having it too.”

When we dare to speak our shame, our shame and our insecurities and fears, we often find that we’re not as alone as we thought. There’s incredible strength in hearing someone say, I understand, and I’ve been there too.

My journey through coaching, both as a coach and as a client has been just so incredibly transformative. When you see pictures of me in my before and after, what you don’t see is the behind the scenes. The parts of me that have grown and have really just become so alive.

It’s been an investment, not just in financial resources but of course in time, energy, and trust with myself and with my coaches. And it’s been worth every single penny. I would never go back to the way that I was. The silence that comes from quieting that inner critic, from replacing those voices of doubt with affirmations of strength and worth is 100 percent priceless.

This work, the work of integrating empowering beliefs into our lives is what I now have the privilege of sharing with my clients. It’s about moving forward together and towards a place of self-acceptance, compassion, and ultimately, with peace.

I share this story with you, my story in the hope that it resonates with you. And that it offers a glimpse into what’s possible when we commit to the journey of self-discovery and healing. It’s a reminder that while the path may not be easy, the destination, a place of self-acceptance and quite honestly, self-love is within reach. And it’s a journey that we don’t have to undertake alone.

Navigating the emotional landscape of body image and midlife is like trying to move through terrain that’s both familiar and entirely, new. Right? Your body feels familiar and it’s completely unexpected.

The challenges and complexities that we face at this stage of life are not just about our bodies themselves, but also about reconciling decades of ingrained beliefs with the evolving narratives of self-acceptance and love that we’re now encouraged to embrace. Like, how do we get there?

A common fear among women is the idea that if I accept or love my body as it is, that means giving up on desire. It means that I will then become complacent with my body. And yet, I know that my health needs work.

This could not be further from the truth. Accepting your body does not equate to complacency. It’s about recognizing that wanting to improve does not negate love or acceptance. Just as you can love your child, while wishing more for them, or you can be happy in your marriage and yet want it to grow. You can be at peace with your body and still want to be thinner, or be healthier, want to be more fit, or even just want better skin. It’s okay.

This isn’t a betrayal of feminist ideals or an abandonment of progress. It’s highly nuanced and understanding of self-love and aspiration. However, there is a critical distinction that I really want to make here. If you are waiting to accept your body, only once it fits your certain ideal, so once it gets to that number that you want on your scale, I need to tell you that you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

The harsh reality is that if acceptance is contingent on change, true acceptance will remain elusive, even at your goal. It’s kind of like friendship. If someone says, I will love you once you change, you don’t want that friendship.

The journey towards any form of body transformation must be underpinned by a foundation of acceptance, or else the destination will never feel like home.

At this stage in our lives, everything is in flux. Our bodies are changing, our roles are evolving, and our desires are shifting. It’s a period of quite honestly, unsettled transition, where we might find ourselves longing for different things from our relationships, our careers, and ourselves. We’re also, in many cases, mourning the lives or opportunities that didn’t come to fruition. Those dreams that we had hoped for and that didn’t actually form.

And navigating this sea of ‘what ifs’ can cloud our perception of the present. In spite of these changes, the societal expectations to remain small, to prioritize other needs over our own, and to be the perpetual caregiver have left many of us reluctant to seek help or support.

This reluctance is compounded by a culture that often lacks the emotional literacy necessary to hold space for our experiences. The result is a pervasive sense of isolation and a deep seated shame for simply being who we are. It’s crucial to recognize that there is nothing inherently wrong with you.

The rules and the roles we were taught to play. The guidelines dictating how women should look, act, and age are shifting. Once, it may have been totally normal and acceptable to comment on your friend’s appearance as a form of greeting. Hey, how are you doing? You lost weight. That’s amazing, right?

But as those norms change, especially for women navigating this time in our lives, the silence can be deafening. Where once, you might have felt that confidence, that feedback of, Oh my gosh, you look amazing.

Now, even though it was superficial, the lack of it in midlife can leave us feeling invisible, irrelevant, and lost. And this confusion, this sense of loss of relevance is not a failure on our part, but rather a reflection of societal transformation. We are at a crossroads where the value once placed on appearance is being questioned. And in many ways, thrown away.

Yet, for those of us raised to seek approval and define our worth through how we look, the transition can feel like being untethered, like drifting further away from where we were without a clear destination in sight.

Understanding and navigating this landscape requires compassion, not just for others but also for ourselves. It’s about recognizing the deep seated stories that we’ve internalized over decades, of allowing ourselves the space to question, grieve, and ultimately grow.

The journey towards self-acceptance, towards a more fulfilling relationship with our bodies and ourselves in midlife is truly complex. And It’s full of hurdles and societal contradictions. Yet, it’s a journey that quite honestly is worth undertaking. Because it leads to a place of deeper understanding, self-compassion, and ultimately feeling freer.

Navigating our relationship with our bodies is like going through a landscape filled with ups and downs and twists and turns. It’s a deeply personal path, one where the destination is not clear, and the path is often unmarked. Like we have no idea what stone we’re going to unturn.

I want to start by saying unequivocally, that wherever you find yourself in this journey, it’s totally okay. And your feelings towards your body, whether they’re love, neutrality, or dissatisfaction, they’re totally valid.

It’s crucial to acknowledge and understand that your current way of being at this awareness is the first step towards any form of acceptance or change. We can’t fight this process in order to go through it.

Many of my clients perhaps like you, who are listening. Find themselves aligning more with the concept of body neutrality rather than body positivity. Body neutrality acknowledges the complexity of our feelings towards our bodies and allows us to appreciate them for what they can do over how they look.

This perspective can be incredibly liberating, especially for those of us who may struggle with the idea of unconditional love for your body in a society that is constantly blaming, and judging, and the goalposts shift, right?

But here’s where the paradox of health and happiness come into play. I find that there’s an inverse relationship between the happiness that we feel about our bodies and the inconvenience or the strictness of our health habits.

This balance is delicate and deeply personal. It involves asking ourselves what we are willing to incorporate into our lives and what we are not. It’s acknowledging what are you willing to do? What are you willing to incorporate into your life? And what are you not willing to do? All in pursuit of a state that we are happy enough with both our lifestyle and our body image.

The key to navigating this journey is not in adopting an all or nothing approach, but in finding your unique sweet spot on the continuum of health habits and body satisfaction. What I mean by that is what health habits are you willing to put in place so that your body is good enough?

This sweet spot is where you’re not overly inconvenienced by the lifestyle changes that you’ve made to improve your health, yet you’re also satisfied enough with your body image. It’s about understanding that this strictness in diet and exercise isn’t directly proportional to happiness with our bodies.

In fact, too much rigidity can lead to dissatisfaction, not just with our bodies but with our quality of life. This concept is something that I touched on in a video that I created in Instagram. And I shared it, emphasizing that the pursuit of health doesn’t have to be at odds with living a fulfilled life.

It’s about finding balance and it doesn’t make sense that you are not willing to do more to make yourself quote unquote, thinner or more acceptable, your body more acceptable, and yet beat your body up for not being able to adhere to the societal expectations that you didn’t even put in place.

How much flexibility do you want to allow into your diet? What are you willing to compromise on and what are your non negotiables for you? These questions are essential in defining a lifestyle that feels both sustainable and rewarding.

Accepting your body and striving for better health or a different appearance don’t have to be mutually exclusive goals. However, it is imperative to approach this journey with kindness and understanding towards yourself.

Beating yourself up for not meeting certain standards while simultaneously resisting any change due to perceived inconvenience is a cycle that serves, absolutely, no one. And ultimately, the journey towards acceptance, awareness, and a healthier relationship with our bodies and lifestyle is ongoing. It’s going to be here today, tomorrow, and in 10 years.

It’s a process of continual learning and adjustment, of finding joy in the nourishment and movement that makes us feel good without succumbing to the pressures of perfection. It’s about discovering what works for you and embracing the flexibility and forgiveness that come with understanding your needs and acknowledging that you’re best is enough.

This process of personal empowerment is not just about achieving specific health goals. It’s about redefining our relationship with our bodies, our food, and our sense of self-worth. At the core of this process is the recognition of our personal beliefs and how they shape our approach to wellness.

Many of us carry a lifetime’s worth of stories about health, beauty, and our worthiness. These stories, often inherited from society, family, and personal experiences can dictate how we treat our bodies, how we feed ourselves, and how we move through the world.

Unpacking and challenging these beliefs is crucial. It’s about asking ourselves, why we hold on to these views, and whether they serve us, or do they hold us back? This introspection can be challenging, but it’s also incredibly empowering. It allows us to reclaim our own stories and make health decisions that align with our true selves, not the expectations that are imposed upon us.

My role as a coach is to guide you through this process of discovery and change. I provide a space free from judgment, where you can explore your beliefs, confront your fears, and celebrate your successes.

Together, we work to integrate new empowering beliefs into your life. This isn’t about prescribing a one size fits all approach to health and wellness, instead it’s about tailoring a path that resonates with your values, your lifestyle, and your goals.

Empowerment comes from recognizing that you have the agency to shape your health journey. It’s understanding that while you may seek guidance and support, the ultimate decisions lie with you. This realization is powerful. It shifts the narrative from one of restriction and self-criticism to one of self-care, compassion, and growth.

In my coaching practice, I emphasize the importance of flexibility and kindness towards ourselves. The journey to better health, improved body image or peace with where you are is not linear. There will be setbacks and challenges just like with anything else that we’re learning about. But there will also be tremendous victories and moments of clarity.

My approach is rooted in the belief that small sustainable changes are more impactful than drastic overhauls that are difficult to maintain. It’s about finding joy in movement, pleasure in what you’re eating, and peace in the quiet moments of learning about yourself.

We also find empowerment in community. Sharing our stories, our struggles, and our successes with others on similar paths can reinforce our sense of belonging and support. It reminds us that we are not alone in our experiences.

My coaching provides not just one on one support but also access to a community of other women who are also navigating their own journey towards health and self-acceptance.

Okay. So, let me wrap this up. I want to take a moment and reflect on the ground that we’ve covered today.

So, we’ve talked about body neutrality, body positivity, and challenged the constraints that we have with diet culture. We’ve talked about health at every size. We’ve explored my personal story and reflections. And acknowledge the deep seated beliefs that societal pressures that have shaped our experiences with our bodies.

The essence of this discussion today has been one hopefully of empathy and just shining a light on some of the things that might be rolling around in your brain. It’s about recognizing that our journey towards health and self acceptance is uniquely yours or mine, it’s ours. And it’s filled with challenges, triumphs, and at the other side, it’s going to be clarity.

The path to loving or at least accepting our bodies is not linear. And it’s a continuous process of learning, unlearning, and relearning how to care for ourselves in a way that honors our needs, our desires, and where we are in what stage of life.

I want to encourage you to take some time to reflect on your own beliefs and feelings about your body. What stories have you been holding on to that no longer serve you? How can you begin to rewrite those stories in a way that feels more empowering and true to who you are?

Remember, this journey is about you and it’s for you. It’s okay to seek support and ask questions and to reach out when the path seems daunting.

Now, if you’re looking for guidance, maybe a friendly ear or strategies to navigate this journey. Of course, I am here to help. And I want to invite you to reach out to me. You can reach out to me at to schedule some time on my calendar. And together, we can explore your relationship with your body and unpack the beliefs that have shaped your journey and chart a course towards a place of greater peace and acceptance.

I also want to invite you to dive deeper into this conversation by exploring related episodes that I talked about earlier of this podcast. Where we’ve tackled topics around health, aging, and wellness from different angles. You can find all of those podcasts that I mentioned in the show today in the show notes.

So, as we close today’s episode, I want you to know that your body’s worth is not defined by its size, by its shape, or even by its health. And its ability to meet societal standards of beauty. You are worthy of acceptance and love exactly as you are. And this journey of self-discovery and health, remember that compassion, that empathy, and that personal choice are your guiding stars.

Thank you for joining me today. That’s all I have for you. Have an amazing week, everyone. And I will talk to you next time. Bye-bye.

Thank you for tuning into today’s episode. If what we’ve discussed resonates with you and you’re eager to take your health journey further, I invite you to schedule a one-on-one call with me. It’s an opportunity for us to dive deep into your health goals, explore your unique challenges, and discuss what you’ve tried before.

To book your slot, simply click the link in the show notes. Once you do, you’ll answer a few thought-provoking questions to get us started. Then, all you need to do is show up, and we’ll take it from there.

Let’s make your health journey a priority together. See you on the call!

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The Paradox of Body Acceptance
The Paradox of Body Acceptance