Body Acceptance and Weight Loss: Love Your Body, Lose Weight

If you’re overweight or obese, you are quite likely not that happy about it. More than 66% of Americans struggle with this every day.  We turn to rigid solutions such as strict diet and fitness regimens or just give up completely and hate ourselves even more.

But that very attitude of rigidity and self-loathing can be our biggest reason for being overweight.  A new British study shows that loving yourself and establishing some self-acceptance can help you lose weight.

The study looked at two groups of people over a one-year period.  One group got the traditional weight loss counseling of diet and exercise guidelines.  The other group participated in a 30-week program where the topics of self-acceptance, emotional eating, exercise, etc. were discussed weekly.  The results?  The control group lost 2% of their body weight, the test group lost 7%.  Pretty big difference, isn’t it?

This dovetails with an article I read in this month’s Prevention.  It was talking about the folks at Green  Mountain at Fox Run and their somewhat radical program called HAES (Health at Every Size).  The idea behind HAES is that you don’t stop living your life while you “wait to be thin.”  Instead you learn to move more because it feels good, and through intuitive eating you learn to listen to your body and give it what it craves.

Over time people who follow the HAES method drop the french fries for salad and naturally choose leaner cuts of meat and smaller portion sizes to boot.  The scale isn’t important, only how good the person feels.

I have been aware of intuitive eating for a while now. It’s always amusing to me to watch my son do it naturally.  No one’s messed with his system yet.  We never force him to finish his meal and just last week, on the hottest day in 86 years in Boston, he ate half his ice cream and threw out the rest.  I just thought that was brilliant.  I hope he keeps it up.

Most of us have lost that ability to read our bodies, but it’s actually fairly easy to get back to it.  The hard part is the leap of faith you have to make that your body will send you the proper cues.  We eye our tummies suspiciously, so how are we supposed to trust our gut?

Have you gone through this process?  Let go of dieting and the scale and instead turned to your body for food advice?  Have you started moving more not because you need to lose weight but because it feels good?  Let me know your thoughts.

Cheers,

Lisa

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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9 Responses to Body Acceptance and Weight Loss: Love Your Body, Lose Weight

  1. Thrive Lancaster July 26, 2011 at 7:42 am #

    I have definitely started moving and exercising more, but it doesn’t feel good. Crossfit workouts actually hurt, like pukie hurt. However, they are amazing and do indeed make you feel like a million dollars when done.

  2. Tara Burner July 26, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    I’m an intuitive eater and exerciser ;)
    just do what my body says/feels and it’s all good!

  3. KCLAnderson (Karen) July 26, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    This is exactly why I started my blog back at the beginning of 2009 and it’s why I wrote my book…I am a good example of love and accept yourself and the weight will come off. For sure, there’s an extra step in there: love and accept yourself and you will do the right and loving things for your body and the weight will come off…

    And it’s not something you get once and can forget…it takes as much practice as anything else. I call it a mindstyle change…

  4. Christie Inge July 27, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    I’m with Karen. I believe that when we fully love and accept ourselves, we naturally begin to do things that honor what our bodies need. And when we honor what our body needs, the weight loss follows.

  5. Healthy&Homemade July 27, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    I’m always telling my husband how unhealthy the “eat every last speck on your plate or else you aren’t getting dessert” American way of eating is. We both grew up getting sent to our rooms if we wouldn’t lick our plates clean, maybe we were just full!! When I have kids I don’t want to teach them that being full means having an empty plate, I still struggle with that daily. Luckily using smaller plates and bowls has helped me get the satisfaction of a good meal without overindulging.

  6. Lisa Johnson July 28, 2011 at 10:11 pm #

    Karen, I’m a big fan of your blog and I had your talk from Fitbloggin in the back of my head as I wrote this. Thanks for stopping by and adding your comments. :-)

    Christie, you were on the same panel! Thanks for stopping by :-)

  7. Lisa Johnson July 28, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

    Healthy&Homemade, I too had parents that insisted everything put in front of me be eaten and I swear I got the “there’s starving kids in Africa” line too. I am constantly thinking about how to break that habit! I drive myself nuts and I’m so glad that I haven’t passed it on to my son. Phew, I did one thing right as a Mom at least :-)

  8. bill August 2, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    I’ve thought for a while that most eating – mine, anyway, and of course everyone is just like me (g) – isn’t because we’re hungry, but because we want comfort.

  9. Lisa Johnson August 2, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

    Bill, I tend to agree … :)

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