This year I’m turning 40 and I have one intention for the year: to be the healthiest I have ever been.
I would venture to guess that when most people read that intention they immediately jump to thinking about exercise and weight loss and I wouldn’t blame them. That’s what I have always thought of too. But not anymore. What I mean when I say it now is ditching the diets and embracing self-acceptance instead—complete and total self-acceptance.
It’s taken me 40 years to finally be ready to fully and completely accept myself.
Turning 40 and setting big goals
Turning 40 has been on my mind a lot and for whatever reason, it’s feeling like a really big deal. I keep saying I really want to do a lot for myself this year and I’ve been making lists and plans for how I can do that. As is probably expected, one thing I had planned to do for myself is to get “really healthy” and that, predictably for me, included a weight loss goal. I set one back in September and I started setting rules for myself and following them as I’ve done so many times before.
But something wasn’t feeling quite right. My rules and goals weren’t feeling good. I felt like I was forcing something that wasn’t right for me. I noticed some pretty big mindset shifts started taking place.
Deciding to make some big changes
I started asking myself some big questions and doing some soul searching. I decided to read the book The F*ck It Diet and all of a sudden I knew my old goals and intentions needed to change.
This article is not a F*ck It Diet book report but I do want to talk about it a bit. If you are a person who has ever dieted, restricted food, or struggled to lose weight and keep it off, you might want to take a look at this book. I think it’s changed my life in a profound way and I know I will never look at food or exercise the same way again.
Living in a culture obsessed with thinness
If we’re being honest with ourselves we live in a world (or at least a country) that values thinness above almost everything else.
I experienced this to be true about 8 years ago when I had lost a lot of weight because I was dealing with a combination of anxiety, depression, and thyroid disease. People kept saying things to me like, “Wow you look so great, what’s your secret?” And congratulating me on my “success”.
Yeah, I’d lost weight, but the truth was I was ill, both physically and mentally and I was struggling. My weight loss was not a good thing.
When I explained that to people I actually had a few people respond with, “Well that’s awful but at least you lost weight!”
And you know what? If I’m being honest, there was a part of me that agreed with them!
Wtf?! What does that say about our values as a society?! What does that say about my values?!
Confirming what I already knew to be true
Reading The F*ck It Diet confirmed something I already knew to be true in my heart: that a thin body doesn’t equal a healthy body and a fat body doesn’t equal an unhealthy body. It also confirmed a whole lot of other things for me but I won’t go into them all here. You’ll need to read the book. I do want to add that the book is not just about food. It’s also about self-care, emotions, feeling your feelings, self-acceptance, boundaries, and doing what’s right for you—all things I work on with my own clients all the time.
When I was able to let go of some very common and popular beliefs about weight, I was able to embrace the idea that true health for me would mean complete and total self-acceptance at any weight, no matter what size and shape my body might be.
With a combination of reading that life-changing book, working with my coach, and doing some pretty intense soul searching, I came to a decision that losing weight was no longer going to be a part of my health goal. Instead, complete self-acceptance became my new goal and a big part of my new definition of health.
Read the book. Maybe you’ll see what I mean.
My new journey of health
So, now I am on a new health journey and it’s been amazing so far. I’m finding freedom and liberation in so many areas of my life, not just with food and exercise. I’m giving myself permission to truly be myself without shame or guilt.
Of course, there is a lot to work through with this goal. It doesn’t always come easily or magically. Self-doubt, comparisonitis, old habits and beliefs certainly creep in; I’m human after all. But when those things happen, I’ve got some tools in place to help me.
Here are some things I say to myself when I need a reminder:
- I accept myself.
- I accept the size and shape of my body no matter what size and shape it is.
- I’m enough, I have enough, and I do enough.
- I am a good mother.
- I’m a good wife.
- I accept myself no matter how many clients I have or don’t have.
- I accept myself no matter how clean or organized my home is or is not.
- It’s okay if I don’t fully accept myself right now. I accept myself for that too.
Here I am at the beginning of this new journey, at the beginning of a new year. The year I turn 40. The year I will completely and fully accept myself as I am, however I am.
This is me.
I’d love to invite you on this journey of self-acceptance too. Reach out if you’d like to chat. We can share our self-acceptance journeys with each other.
Here’s to a new year of self-acceptance. Happy New Year!
If you’re interested in learning more about the ideas in the F*ck It Diet book, here are a couple of other books you might be interested in:
And if you’d like to check out some great Instagram accounts on the topic here are just a few of many you could follow: