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Self-Acceptance is Key to Overcoming Emotional Eating

One of the underlying causes of emotional eating is resistance – resistance to emotional pain that we’d rather suppress, and resistance to who we are. This is why self-acceptance is key to overcoming emotional eating.

When you can accept yourself as you are, imperfections and all, then you can heal your relationship to food and your body from a place of honesty, love, and intention.

Living Without Self-Acceptance

When you are unable to accept yourself as you are, you have a skewed perception of self. You are likely to look for meaning in your faults and identify with stories that are untrue. You may self-sabotage in order to gain evidence of this skewed self-perception. For example, you may mislabel what you consider a weakness, such as having a sweet tooth, as a serious personal flaw that proves you are defective or lacking in some way.

Without self-acceptance, we try to change ourselves instead of aligning with our true selves.

You may think that in order to be deserving of love, peace, and happiness, you need to change or be better than you are. When you believe that you are flawed or wrong, you are likely riddled with shame.And that’s when self-sabotage and destructive pattern of behaviors kick in, such as binge eating. It’s probably the norm for you to ask yourself:

  • Why can’t I just be normal?
  • Why can’t I be better?
  • Why do I always screw up?
  • Why can’t I fix what’s wrong with me?

The thing is, to actually change, you need to accept yourself exactly how you are now. We call this the self-acceptance paradox. So if you are currently overweight due to binge eating, you need to be able to take a step back and just acknowledge that this is your body and your behavior right now.

Be Honest With Where You Are

You don’t need to love your body to accept it. In fact, you can hate it and accept it at the same time. The key is just accepting that this is where you are right now, so that you can start your journey from a place of complete honesty. You can’t just look into a mirror and say, “I love you,” over and over again. If you don’t mean it, it serves no purpose.

But you can love the part of you that hates your body.

When you are honest with where you are, you gain traction to true transformation. It’s not about looking at things better than they are or worse than they are. It’s about being real with what is and finding a way to fully accept it.

When you can fully accept yourself how you are in the moment, you can create genuine transformation from a place of love. You can’t heal what you hate, which is why acceptance is so important. This is why fad diets and restriction do not work, because they come from a place of fear, desperation, and self-hate. True, sustainable change can only spring from love and acceptance.

Realize That Acceptance Does Not Equal Complacency

So many of my clients worry that if they fully accept who they are, they will become complacent and gain a ton of weight. It’s important to understand that acceptance isn’t synonymous with complacency. Acceptance is a path to freedom. It’s a starting point to real change.

I know that it’s not easy to love yourself when all you can focus on is your flaws. But it is possible to love the part of you that can only see your flaws. When you can accept this part of yourself, you are one step closer to full self-acceptance. And when you can fully accept yourself, you are well on your way to true transformation and overcoming your battle with food and your body once and for all.

We are all perfectly imperfect.


Images Courtesy of iStock

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