When you don’t accept yourself, it’s hard to love yourself. Seeing yourself through the eyes of self-love helps you accept yourself as you are. Body imag is often a big factor making self-acceptance elusive. That’s why I’m happy to have Jenna Hollenstein, MS, RDN, CDN, as my guest today. She’s a dietitian who doesn’t believe in diets and has a Bachelors in nutrition from Penn State, a Masters in nutrition from Tufts, and is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. At her private practice, Eat to Love, Jenna works with clients to love themselves through listening to and accepting their bodies, practicing mindfulness, and embracing imperfection. Here are her suggestions:
Nothing Tastes as Good as Self-Acceptance Feels
By Jenna Hollenstein, MS, RDN, CDN
We have all heard expressions like “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels,” “You can never be too rich, too beautiful, or too thin,” and “A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.”). They serve as mantras, reminders to be vigilant when our bodies and/or minds are yearning to be fed or filled or otherwise placated. They are admonitions that by keeping ourselves in line, we can move infinitesimally closer to some ideal. Or they instill in us the fear that we will lose control, that we must white-knuckle it to keep the body we have now and not allow ourselves to drift from that place of control.
I am highly in favor of mantras and being aware of what drives hunger. Questioning whether it is physical or emotional in nature, and consciously acting rather than reacting. But these sayings reveal something darker about our relationships with food, weight, and our bodies. They reveal our struggle, our desire to conquer desire, our allegiance to self-improvement, competition, and comparison. An ongoing battle with the self, the body, and the mind.
A few things that I know well:
• Food tastes best when you are (moderately) hungry: Denying yourself food when you are hungry, or eating when you are not hungry, won’t be as satisfying as feeding your body when it wants to be fed…and you deserve to feel satisfied! If it’s something else you are hungry for, notice that and, if possible, give that to yourself.
• The morality of food and weight is a useless fabrication: Viewing foods as good and bad, battering yourself with shoulds (I should eat this, not that…I should not be hungry now), and vilifying your body have become shared delusions with zero benefits.
• It is possible to stop struggling: By looking at your thoughts, beliefs, and feelings about food, hunger, and weight, you can begin to unravel the seemingly solid story that fuels this struggle. And you can begin to trust yourself and your body’s innate knowledge.
Keeping these three things in mind, it is possible to move closer to a self-acceptance that tastes better than anything out there.
Join The Self-Love Movement™! Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Commitment—“I commit to do my best to do something loving for myself, however big or small, for the next 31 days.” and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at http://howdoiloveme.com. Read my 2013 31 Days of Self-Love Posts HERE. Join the Self-Love Movement™! on Facebook.