Body Acceptance

A picture of Brenna O'Mailey smiling.

She first became interested in the field of nutrition when she was struggling with food intolerances and her relationship with food in high school. These struggles led her into the office of a registered dietitian. That office is where she first started to connect the dots between how we eat and how we feel. So much of the information we receive around health, nutrition and wellness focuses on dietary specifics – macros, calories, and labeling foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ She cares more about the context and the why. What is your relationship with food? What is your relationship with your body? Do those relationships control your mood and daily activities? Check out her work and learn more here

Body Acceptance – Start with Intuitive Eating

In the 1990s, two visionary dietitians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, sparked a revolution in the world of nutrition. Tired of witnessing the destructive impact of diets and strict eating regimens, they embarked on a mission to redefine our relationship with food. Their book, “Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works,” became the guiding light for a new approach to nourishment.

A lady solo standing with her arms raised.

Tribole and Resch unveiled the power of intuitive eating, urging us to tune in to our bodies’ wisdom. They shattered the chains of dieting, encouraging us to embrace our hunger and fullness cues, indulge our cravings without guilt, and discover true satisfaction in every bite. Their message struck a chord, igniting a movement that continues to challenge societal norms and celebrate body acceptance.

Today, intuitive eating is recognized as an evidence-based approach to nutrition and has become a cornerstone of body positivity and Health at Every Size (HAES) movements. It continues to evolve, with ongoing research and the development of resources, workshops, and programs to support individuals in cultivating a balanced and intuitive approach to eating and self-care.

How Intuitive Eating Highlights Body Acceptance

Body acceptance and intuitive eating are inseparable allies, working together to revolutionize our relationship with food and our bodies. They’re like a dynamic duo, woven together, supporting and uplifting each other in so many ways.

Imagine body acceptance as the solid bedrock upon which intuitive eating thrives. It’s all about embracing our bodies with open arms, free from judgment and comparison. When we fully accept ourselves, flaws and all, we ignite a powerful self-image that isn’t swayed by social pressures. This makes it easier to get to the core of intuitive eating, creating a nurturing relationship with food and our body where we can tune in to our internal cues and nourish our bodies accordingly.

Intuitive eating acts as our wise guide on the journey to a more peaceful relationship with food. It encourages us to listen to our bodies, honoring our hunger, fullness, and cravings, while finding satisfaction in our food choices. Rooted in self-care and compassion, intuitive eating liberates us from restrictive diets and empowers us to make choices that align with our individual needs and preferences.

A group of women celebrating their bodies.

The connection between body acceptance and intuitive eating becomes evident when we delve into the principles of intuitive eating. Accepting our bodies leads to trust and respect for them. We become more attuned to the signals our bodies send, such as hunger, fullness, and specific cravings. With body acceptance, we approach intuitive eating from a place of self-love, viewing food as a source of nourishment, pleasure, and self-care rather than a tool for controlling or altering our bodies.

Likewise, practicing intuitive eating can foster body acceptance. By listening to our bodies and permitting ourselves to eat without guilt or judgment, we develop more harmony in our relationship with food and we think less about whether our eating decisions are “right” or “wrong” – we just listen to our body and do as it says, noticing how we feel hours later and the next day. This cultivates a greater sense of trust and appreciation for our bodies as we acknowledge their innate wisdom and ability to guide us toward optimal well-being.

Together, body acceptance and intuitive eating form an unbreakable partnership, revolutionizing our approach to self-care. They empower us to embrace our bodies, honor our hunger, and find joy in the act of eating. Through this dynamic duo, we embark on a transformative journey toward a happier, healthier, and more compassionate connection with ourselves.

Did You Know That Listening to Your Body Can Protect Against the Restrict-Binge Eating Cycle?

Developing the skill of attuning to and heeding the signals of our bodies serves as a valuable defense against the harmful cycle of restricting and binge eating. By actively listening and responding to these cues, you can establish a supportive framework that creates safety and mental insulation from triggers when they pop up, because you can immediately and intuitively know whether what you’re being stimulated or prompted with, aligns with what your body wants. Doesn’t even require thinking when you have a good practice of listening to the body – you just see the stimulus, pause and listen to what your body is saying, and confidently choose that which aligns with your body and your values. 

I know we make it sound easy – it does take some practice, but that’s the fun part! What makes it fun is the mindset you get in – make sure not to take things too seriously, in the sense that you’re not mad or upset with yourself if you make a mistake or mess up. Life is imperfect, we are all imperfect, but it’s the intention of learning and the persistence to get better that will make this process of listening to your body so much easier and more fun.

The reason why this works is because the restrict-binge eating cycle often stems from rigid dietary food rules and external influences, disconnecting us from our bodies and disregarding the inherent wisdom of our bodies. It manifests as a fluctuating pattern of severe restriction – this first step of restriction is what disconnects us from our bodies, and the feeling of deprivation is how we know that our bodies are hurting, well before we binge eat. 

And then, almost invariably, we binge eat – this almost always causes a feeling of shame or guilt, or both, which almost invariable causes more restriction, to feel like you’ve “made up” for your “bad” food choices and binge eating. However, through the practice of intuitive eating and mindful responsiveness to body signals, you can break free from this vicious cycle.

When you truly listen to your body, you become attuned to its hunger signals. You learn to recognize and honor your body’s genuine hunger, lovingly giving it the nourishment it requires. By meeting your body’s needs consistently, you reduce the likelihood of experiencing extreme hunger that can trigger binge eating episodes. And, your body feels better – which sounds nice right?

Moreover, listening to your body allows you to understand its fullness cues. By paying attention to the subtle signs of satisfaction, such as feeling comfortably full, you can stop eating when you’ve had enough. This prevents the tendency to overeat or restrict yourself unnecessarily.

Beyond that, cultivating the ability to differentiate between physical and emotional cues equips you with the tools to address emotional eating. By heightening self-awareness and seeking alternative ways to relieve emotional stressors, such as engaging in self-care activities or seeking support, you can disentangle yourself from feeling “bad” about enjoying food that your body is telling you it wants or needs.

In essence, the practice of actively listening to and heeding your body signals acts as a safeguard against the damaging patterns of restricting and binge eating. By honoring your body’s cues for hunger and satiety, you can reduce the likelihood of extreme hunger and overconsumption. 

Why You Should Embrace Body Acceptance And Love Today

Today, in this very moment, is the perfect time to embark on a thrilling voyage of self-discovery and embrace the incredible power of body love and acceptance

It’s a call to break free from the suffocating grip of society’s beauty standards and unlock the hidden treasures that lie within you. 

Imagine a world where you radiate self-compassion, exude confidence, and dance with unapologetic joy. Refining your Peace Point and letting your thoughts, emotions, and feelings naturally guide toward the picture in your mind.

By embracing your body as it is, you unleash a force that propels you towards mental and emotional well-being, connecting with your true self on a profound level. It’s an invitation to shatter the chains of self-doubt and redirect your focus toward what truly matters – nurturing your soul, pursuing your passions, and surrounding yourself with authentic connections. 

So, why wait? 

Seize this moment and embark on an adventure of self-love and acceptance that will forever transform the way you see yourself and the world around you. It’s time to unleash the extraordinary power of body love and acceptance within you and unlock the endless possibilities that await.