Does acceptance really mean giving up?

AcceptanceAny time that I talk to clients about the concept of acceptance, I immediately see their resistance and barriers start going up!

Common reactions are usually angry; “How can I accept this? I hate it”

OR anxious;

“But that will mean that they won’t stop” OR defeated;

“But that will mean nothing will ever change.”

This is because most people confuse acceptance with resignation.
Here’s the difference:

Often comes before acceptance, but it feels powerless.

You hit the wall and resign yourself to the fact that things are the way they are but you feel that there is nothing that you can do to help yourself or change the situation. You may even believe that things can never, ever get better, that nothing ever works out for you and so you do the best you can to go on.

Resignation feels heavy, depressing, sad, guilty and you can feel trapped.

Understanding that YOU have choice. Acceptance feels powerful.

You hit the wall, but you understand that even though you can’t change the people around you or the situation, you can change your own attitude towards yourself and what you do in your situation.

Here’s an example:
You feel fat and frumpy. It doesn’t matter what you do, you just can’t seem to change your body. If you could just lose the weight, everything would be ok, but it just won’t budge.  You are constantly complaining to your partner about your body and your weight and how unattractive you feel. It feels like it’s ruining your life and your health.

Resignation Attitude:
You give up. You believe that there is nothing you can do to change the way you are. You stop taking care of yourself and sink into depression and apathy. You focus solely on how you look, not on how you feel, and you think you look fat and ugly. You have a litany of criticism constantly running through your head and it never seems to end.

You say that you accept that this is the way it is but you increasingly feel bitter, resentful, hate yourself and compare yourself constantly to others and you feel powerless.

Acceptance Attitude:
You accept that this is the way that your body is right now and you decide that even if you never lose another gram, you are going to look after you. You start making fresh, healthy food that you enjoy. You throw out all the clothes that don’t fit and find ones that suit your body shape in colors and fabrics that you love.

You take 100% responsibility for your health and make choices that decrease your stress and increase your happiness. You do more things that make you feel good. You accept that your body is really at your mercy, so you decide to do your best to make it’s job of keeping you strong and healthy, as easy as possible. You focus on how you want to feel instead of how you want to look.

Acceptance is saying to yourself; “Ok, right now THIS is how it is. What can I do right now and in the future, to make this as easy, comfortable or better for ME as I can?

How can I support myself more in this situation? What steps can I take to help myself? What resources can I use or call on? Who can I find to help me help myself?

See the difference?

Acceptance is such a powerful and amazingly freeing attitude!

If you need help with shifting from resignation and upgrading your acceptance skills, contact me.

Kerry Jeffery.


The Day Diets Died and what Kerry did next.

When I made the decision to stop dieting two years ago, my biggest fear was that I would just keep getting fatter and fatter.

Left free, with my appetite unchecked by portion control, calorie counting, sugar free, no added fat or forced exercise, I felt like  I could eat the world and still want more.

My life had been defined by diets since I was 9 years old. My weight was my excuse and my obsession.

It was the reason behind everything that was wrong in my life. The men who didn’t love me, the jobs I didn’t get, the good times I wasn’t out having because I didn’t want people to see my body, judge me and reject me because of how much I weighed. 

No matter what went wrong it was because I was TOO FAT.

My body and my weight was the center around which my whole life revolved. Hours spent in front of the mirror, feeling disgust, failure and shame.

Hot tears of self hatred, wanting to be different, believing with all my heart and soul that “if only I was thinner, EVERYTHING would be different.

Diets were my Holy Grail, my promise of salvation, the gateway to the land of beauty, acceptance, confidence, love and success.

My body was the enemy. It was not acceptable, not lovable and certainly not sexy!

It bulged and wobbled and drooped and weighed me down.

It was out of control.

It was the bane of my existence and the reason people told me that it was such a shame as I had such a pretty face.

Twice in my life I have lost a significant amount of weight in the proximity of 55 or 60 lbs (25 – 27 kilos). The first time I lost the weight,  I still remember the high of seeing that magic number on the scale, the thrill of victory, the strangeness of having hip bones and collar bones and the bumps of a spine down my back.

I spent hours looking at my body from all angles in a mirror in amazement that it was me. It felt strange and weird and a bit scary as well as wonderful.

It took a couple of weeks before I realised that it didn’t change anything at all. In fact, it made a lot of things worse.

People complimented me ALL the time. Others didn’t recognise me at all and made a huge fuss when they discovered it was me. I got LOTS of attention.

Men who previously didn’t even acknowledge me started hitting on me. Married men started flirting with me.

All anyone wanted to talk to me about was how much weight I had lost, how I had done it and how wonderful I was now.

So in my mind I asked myself;

“if I was so wonderful now, what was I BEFORE?

After all, I was still me, still the same Kerry, just in a smaller body.

What did they think of me before?”

It took me two years to put the weight back on, plus a few more kilo’s for good measure.

The second time I lost weight, I actively got therapy and began to explore my issues and enjoy to a certain extent, the attention I got.

But my life was still about how much I weighed and what I could eat.

My life was still defined by diets.

Relationships ended, people close to me died, shit happened and gradually, the weight went back on.

And one day, two years ago, I woke up and decided to just stop.

Stop dieting.

Stop obsessing.

Stop weighing myself.

Just STOP.  All. Of. It.

I didn’t eat the world.

I was terrified, riddled with anxiety, but I was also FREE.

Free to really look at myself, free to discover all the beliefs I had about who I thought I was.
Free to see how much of what I ate had nothing to do with hunger and that I had no tools apart from food to numb and soothe and comfort myself.
Free to see what was behind the fear and begin to find new ways to support myself and start living my life.

On a diet, my world was so small and confined and oppressive, living for that unknown future where I would be acceptable.

Diet Free, my life is mine to live NOW.
Not when the weight is gone.
This is where my body is, slowly changing as I learn to trust it, feeling better as I love it so much more and give it healthier food.
I discovered that without diets, I could actually listen to my body and if I left it alone, allowed myself to feel and experience my feelings, talk myself through my anxiety, that it would tell me when it wanted food, and when it didn’t.
It would let me know what it liked to have fed to it and tell me in no uncertain terms NOT TO GIVE ME THIS CRAP AGAIN!!!
The more I listen, the more I love it, the more weight it is willing to release.
At the pace it wants.
When it wants.
How it wants.
My body has a lot to forgive me for. Years of hatred. Years of abuse. Years of blame.
But so far, so good. I listen. I learn. I am willing to accept and be grateful and nurture this amazing vehicle that has taken all my shit and still carries me around.
I am learning to live Diet Free and I LOVE  it!