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The Diet Survivor’s Handbook: 60 Lessons in Eating Acceptance and Self-Care

NEW LESSON: SPRING 2012

When you create an environment of acceptance for yourself, you will feel more comfortable. Understand the positive quality of these acts.

Over the years, you internalized messages that said you must be thin to be happy and healthy. Think about how your home reflects and reinforces these messages. You might use a scale to weigh yourself or a mirror to judge yourself. You might keep clothes that are too small as a haunting reminder to diet. Each time you turn to one of these indicators to measure your size, you give yourself a negative message about your self-worth. While you may hope that these objects will motivate you to lose weight, the truth is that they frequently end up making you feel worse about yourself. These negative feelings create anxiety and puts you at greater risk of overeating.

Learning to accept yourself is a positive act, not a means of giving up. Accepting yourself says nothing about what size you are meant to be or where you will ultimately end up as a result of this process. Accepting yourself means that you acknowledge that you're at a certain place at this point in time and that you're entitled to take good care of yourself regardless of your size. Taking good care of yourself means engaging in acts such as feeding yourself in an attuned manner, moving your body in a way that is comfortable to you, dressing in comfortable clothes, seeking regular medical care, speaking compassionately to yourself, and responding to your emotional needs. Even if you're not in a position to act on all of these ideas right now, the key is to truly believe that you deserve these things, regardless of your size.

Positive change comes from a position of strength, not weakness. Let yourself become stronger. We understand that you might not be ready to fully embrace your body. Start with small acts of acceptance. Yelling at yourself weakens you and promotes a vicious cycle of feeling bad, overeating, dieting, binging and back to more yelling. Acceptance promotes caretaking and wellness. This puts you in a much stronger position to build your body-esteem and self-esteem. As you work toward creating a sense of acceptance on the inside, it is helpful to create an external environment that supports your move toward acceptance.

Activity: Spring Cleaning

Search your home and look for items that contain messages that promote dieting and weight loss. Then do a thorough spring-cleaning!

You may look for:

– Magazines that promote weight loss through dieting
– Diet books/ diet cookbooks
– Food scales
– Diet products/pills
– Magnets/coffee mugs/trinkets that have slogans encouraging weight loss and dieting

Consider replacing these products with:

– Magazines that explore hobbies, culture
– Cookbooks that represent your food preferences
– Books that support your life as a diet survivor
– Products that celebrate your decision to practice self-acceptance such as a beautiful coffee/ teacup, a book of inspirational sayings, flowers

If you want to make apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.
– Carl Sagan