Every Monday features a tip, exercise, inspiring quote or other tidbit to help boost your body image. For many of us, Mondays are tough. We may feel anxious and stressed out, anticipating an arduous week, especially if we didn’t get much rest and relaxation during the weekend. These kinds of feelings don’t create the best environment for improving one’s body image. In fact, you might be harder on yourself and easily frustrated. You might even feel like you’re walking on egg shells – with yourself! With these posts, I hope you’ll have a healthier and happier body image day, that’ll last throughout the week.

Got a tip for improving body image? Email me at [email protected], and I’ll be happy to feature it. It can be anything you do that’s healthy and helps boost your body image. I’d love to hear from you!

Many of us are all too familiar with the message that thin equals health and happiness. We’ve yo-yo dieted. We’ve worked out really hard. We’ve starved. We’ve tried crash diets and detoxes. We’ve tried diet pills, and so on … all in the name of this message. But the one message that gets lost amid all this is that of self-acceptance.

“Accepting yourself means that you acknowledge that you’re at a certain place at this point in time and that you’re entitled to take good care of yourself regardless of your size,” write licensed social workers and sisters Judith Matz and Ellen Frankel in their book The Diet Survivor’s Handbook: 60 Lessons in Eating, Acceptance and Self-Care.*

Thus far, I’m really enjoying their book, and I think they capture self-acceptance and self-care perfectly. They also write:

Taking good care of yourself means engaging in acts such as feeding yourself in an attuned manner, moving your body in a way that is comfortable to you, dressing in comfortable clothes, seeking regular medical care, speaking compassionately to yourself, and responding to your emotional needs. Even if you’re not in a position to act on all these ideas right now, the key is to truly believe that you deserve these things, regardless of your size.

I know that many of us have a tough time accepting ourselves fully because we are unhappy with our current weight, shape or size. We’re afraid that if we accept ourselves, we’ll become complacent. Or, if we don’t fit society’s skinny ideal, we think we don’t deserve to accept ourselves.

However, beating yourself up is the last thing that encourages a happy and healthy lifestyle. “Acceptance promotes caretaking and wellness” and “this puts you in a much stronger position to build your body-esteem and self-esteem,” according to the authors.

So, today, I’d like to share with you a small — but I think powerful — step in boosting your self-acceptance from Matz and Frankel’s book.

In a nutshell: In order to cultivate self-acceptance on the inside, we have to create an environment that fosters self-acceptance on the outside.

In other words,  we keep a variety of thin-is-everything reminders in our homes that can prevent us from cultivating self-acceptance. These objects might be a scale, too-small clothing or women’s magazines. Matz and Frankel write:

Each time you turn to one of these indicators to measure your size you give yourself a negative message about your self-worth. While you might hope that these objects will motivate you to lose weight, the truth is that they frequently end up making you feel worse about yourself. The negative feelings create anxiety, and that puts you at greater risk of overeating.

To create an environment of self-acceptance, the authors suggest going through your home and looking for any items that promote dieting and weight loss. So do some spring cleaning and get rid of anything that hurts your self-acceptance. Like clearing out clutter, I think this activity will feel tremendously freeing, and ultimately help your acceptance to flourish.

Below are Matz and Frankel’s ideas on what to look for and what to replace it with:

Look for:

  • Magazines that promote weight loss through dieting
  • Diet books (including diet cookbooks!)
  • Food scales
  • Diet products
  • Anything that has slogans encouraging weight loss and dieting

Consider replacing these things with:

  • Magazines about hobbies or cultures
  • Cookbooks that represent your food preferences
  • Books that support your life as a diet survivor
  • Products that celebrate your decision to practice self-acceptance with inspirational sayings

Here are some other ideas of what to replace weight-loss-promoting items with:

Blog posts with inspiring words

An inspiration board

Supportive books and websites (you can print off the information); this is a list from eating disorder and diet survivors

By the way, I hope to interview the authors of The Diet Survivor’s Handbook for Weightless. I’d love to hear what questions you’d like me to ask. So please leave them in the comments below.

Will you do some spring cleaning and toss everything that promotes dieting and weight loss in your home?

* I received a free copy of the book from the publisher.