5 facts about body image acceptance

5 Ways to Build Body Acceptance

The term Body Acceptance is used so often but what does it actually mean and how can you build it?

If you’re struggling like so many other women with negative thoughts and feelings about your body, I’m going to guess that it’s having a massive impact on your life.

If you want to feel good in your body today then body acceptance might be the answer for you. In today’s post I want to explore what body acceptance actually is, why it can feel so hard and 5 ways to start to build body acceptance.

What is body acceptance?

Body acceptance means accepting your body even if you aren’t satisfied with all aspects of it. Having body acceptance doesn’t mean believing you have a perfect body or not wanting to make changes. Body acceptance is more about treating your body with respect and care, even on bad body image days. Achieving body acceptance means finding peace with your body without feeling that you have to change it.

When you accept your body you can wear a swimming costume even if you think you ‘should’ wear a bikini, you don’t hide your body in baggy clothes and you don’t fixate on parts of your body you don’t like when looking in the mirror.

How does that sound to you?

Why can body acceptance feel hard?

There are many ways that you might currently be trying to feel more comfortable and confident in your body, including:

  • dieting or restriction
  • wearing baggy clothes to hide your figure
  • surgery or procedures to change how you look

If you’ve been trying these methods for a while, I can bet that you’re currently feeling frustrated, hopeless and exhausted!

Perhaps you’re wondering “what’s wrong with me?” and questioning “why can’t I just love and accept my body?”.

Before we look at ways that you can build body acceptance, here are a few reasons that you might currently be struggling to accept your body:

  • People or society have told you your body isn’t ok
  • You have pain or limitations in your body
  • Your body has changed
  • Your environment is negative
  • You’re holding onto beliefs about what you ‘should’ look like.
  • You have a negative body image or other body related issues such as body dysmorphia or eating disorders.

If you relate to any of the above, know that it isn’t your ‘fault’ and you’re not alone, but how can you start to make positive changes?

5 Ways To Build Body Acceptance

Working towards body acceptance is a personal journey (I know journey sounds a little corny, but it fits). It can be something that you need support with, but there are things you can start doing today to get yourself started.

1. Stop comparing yourself to others

Social comparisons and constantly comparing how you look and your body, make it very difficult for you to find body acceptance.

Every time you compare yourself to another woman it reinforces negative beliefs you hold about how you believe you ‘should’ look. Do you believe you ‘should’ have a flatter stomach, smaller thighs, be more toned, be curvier or more beautiful?

When you hold negative beliefs about your appearance your brain will automatically look for (and find) evidence that supports and protects them. So, when you compare yourself, you’re telling yourself that you and your body aren’t good enough.

Next time you start comparing your body, ask yourself:

  • What part of myself am I comparing?
  • Why am I comparing that part of myself?
  • Why do I believe that aspect of her appearance makes her ‘better’ than me?
  • How is comparing myself making me feel?

Start to challenge the beliefs you hold around how you “should” look and remember that you are so much more than a dress size, weight or body shape. If comparisons are a massive problem for you, this you tube video talks about how to overcome negative body comparisons.

2. Focus on your health

A large part of body acceptance means focusing on your health above your looks. I know that a lot of women struggle to separate decisions about health from decisions about weight or body shape.

However your health isn’t dictated by your weight, in fact often if you’re focussing too much on your health it can actually have a negative impact on your physical, mental and emotional health. I know that was completely my experience and the experience of many of the women I support. How about you?

Woman who learnt body acceptance for her children

Reframing your thoughts and challenging your beliefs about health and weight is important. How do you truly feel when you are focussing on being a certain weight? When striving for a certain weight, are your thoughts and behaviours truly healthy?

You may believe that by focussing on your weight that you are improving your health, but to build body acceptance you need to start focussing on health and not weight.

3. Find inspiration from others

Who you’re spending time with makes a massive impact on how you feel towards your body. If you’re around people who make negative comments about your body, their body or someone else, it will reinforce negative beliefs about your body and how it “should” look. When trying to build body acceptance, being around certain people can make it very difficult for you and you can struggle to make changes to how you see, feel and think about yourself.

Seek out people who share your values and goals and spend time with those who inspire you and support you. Be ready to set boundaries with those that don’t.

4. Check in with your social media

If you’re the same as most of us, you probably spend quite a bit of time on social media, and it might be one of your biggest triggers for feeling negative towards your body.

Social media, if not used well, can damage your self esteem and lead to a negative body image. Although social media can have a powerful and positive impact, it can also stop you from building body acceptance.

Have a think now about who you follow on social media? what pops up on your feed that makes you feel bad?

Surrounding yourself with different body types and those promoting a healthy body image is a great start. If you’re only ever looking at one body type then it’s easy to think that if your body isn’t like theirs, that this means that you’re ‘different’ and ‘not as good or beautiful’.

To get started:

  • Unfollow accounts that make you feel negatively towards your body
  • Follow inspiring and diverse accounts
  • Make your feed not completely body focussed

5. Appreciate your body for what it does for you

Instead of focussing on how your body looks, a great way to find acceptance is to begin to turn your focus towards what your body can do for you and change the language you use around it.

Woman writing in a notebook to help build body acceptance

To get you started with body appreciation you could:

  • Make a list of how your body helps you on a daily basis? What does it allow you to do?
  • Create affirmations for when your feeling negative towards your body
  • Start to identify ways you can move your body that feel good to you, perhaps that’s walking, dance, yoga or kickboxing. Movement is a great way to feel connected to your body.

Is body acceptance the right thing for you?

Getting to a place of peace and acceptance takes away the shame, “should’s” and the idea that you need to ‘fix’ yourself or be anything else. All you really need to be is yourself.

Finding body acceptance doesn’t mean that you won’t have bad body image days, they are normal for everyone, but it does mean that they won’t control your days anymore.

If body acceptance is something you know that you want, but are struggling to get there by yourself I would love to support you.

I offer one-to-one coaching to help you get to the root of your struggles. If you’re not sure if coaching is for you just now, then I would love to welcome you into my free, private Facebook group – The Self-Esteem Society.

Click the button below to enter:

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  1. […] Your beliefs about your body, appearance, and worth can significantly influence your body image. The messages you receive from your environment, culture, and personal experiences can shape your beliefs about your body, leading to positive or negative body image and an inability to find body acceptance. […]