For years, I was obsessed with my weight. I would weigh myself multiple times a day, count every calorie, and scrutinize my body in the mirror. I was convinced that my worth was tied to my appearance and that being thin was the key to happiness.
But the more I tried to control my weight, the more miserable I became. I felt like I was constantly failing, and the pressure I put on myself only made me more anxious and unhappy.
It wasn’t until I discovered the practice of Yoga, Self-Acceptance and believe it or not, the joy of eating Pasta that things started to change. I am speaking of the ever-lasting kind of change!
I know this for sure because I went for a check-up at the doctor’s yesterday and they asked me to hop on the scales. The last time a doctor asked me this I didn’t want to know the weight (which is fine FYI). However, the action completely triggered me. I freaked out and I had an internal anxiety spiral.
But yesterday, I hopped on and I did not care.
I looked at the weight.
It didn’t frighten me, it didn’t make me feel anything.
You see, Yoga allowed me to connect with my body and to see it in a different light. Instead of focusing on what I didn’t like about my body, I started to appreciate what it could do. I began to treat myself with kindness and compassion and learned to let go of the negative self-talk.
Self-acceptance helped me realise that my weight wasn’t the most important thing about me. The number on the scale was way down on that list!
I realised my beauty and my worth were not connected to my weight.
By embracing my body for what it was, I finally found peace and happiness.
Now, don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t an overnight transformation. There are still moments when I struggle with my body image, but they are few and far between. By continuing to practice self-acceptance, I was able to break free from the cycle of self-doubt and self-criticism that consumed me.
But, what about the Pasta?
The weight obsession also created my obsession with food and dieting.
For years, I didn’t allow myself to eat foods like pasta, bread, pastries, pizza, sandwiches and more. I thought this way of living was ‘healthy’. And perhaps it was in some ways, I mean you can’t live optimally off these foods! If you’re eating pasta, pizza and pastries every day this will ultimately lead to health issues.
But, my restriction of these foods also led to health issues.
I created a strict set of rules and regulations and if anything got in the way of them it caused immense stress and anxiety.
Firstly, I focused on calorie counting, followed by restricting my carbohydrate intake. I made sure I ate before 6pm. I made sure that I did at least an hour of intense physical activity every day. The list goes on!
It meant I would say no to social invitations because I’d be afraid of what was on the menu. I’d spend more time at the gym/studio than experiencing life. I mean, the gym is a great place to workout… but wow it can be all kinds of toxic! I was just so rigid!
With Yoga and the practice of self-acceptance, I slowly began to unlearn all these behaviours. And really, I have Damiano to thank for solidifying everything, with his love for Italian food and culture.
For years I’d experienced eating and cooking from a weight loss lens.
I didn’t look at food with any kind of pleasure, I looked at food with anxiety. I didn’t see a beautiful plate of handmade pasta, with delicious-smelling ragu. I saw a plate of carbs that needed to be followed by a massive workout the next day.
Damiano showed me another way. He inspired me to experience food differently.
The most perfect maraschino cherry on top of this journey was my recent 7 week trip around Italy. To see extraordinary sights, eat beautiful food, drink amazing wine, and experience this culture first-hand with Italians. Ahhh, it’s really quite hard for me to describe just how amazing this was.
Confused about self-acceptance?
If you’re really deep into dieting, self-acceptance can be a confusing idea. It took me a while to get my head around (but I am glad I did!).
Self-acceptance is not, I’m gonna accept myself and sit on the couch all day and be lazy, and eat whatever I want and not give a damn about my body or health.
Not dieting does not mean ‘anti-health’.
Not dieting also does not mean ‘anti-weight loss’. Sometimes you might need to lose weight, sometimes you might need to gain weight! For whatever reason, perhaps, it’s a health condition? Perhaps you want to climb a mountain and need more strength and fitness?!
I find this hard to discuss, when it comes to anti-dieting and self-acceptance.
I believe that we can all be beautiful when it comes to our shape and size. But I also know that our weight can impact our health. I’m not going to state what weight is healthy or not (it’s different for all), but I know at various times in our lives we each may need to make changes in our diet to create better health. I believe when we work with self-acceptance and let go of diet culture this action becomes a whole lot easier with less emotion. As our Yoga History and Philosophy Teacher states in our MerryBody Teacher Training…
It is, what it is, as it is!
Self-acceptance is the act of recognising and embracing yourself, including your strengths, weaknesses, and limitations, without judgment or criticism.
It means accepting yourself as a whole, including your physical, emotional, and mental aspects, and acknowledging your past mistakes and flaws without allowing them to define your worth or identity.
Self-acceptance is being kind and compassionate towards yourself, practising self-care and acknowledging that everyone has unique qualities that make them who they are.
Ultimately, self-acceptance allows you to feel comfortable in your own skin and experience greater contentment and self-confidence in life.
So if you’re reading this and feeling inspired to work on your self-acceptance, choose an entry point. It could be a self-acceptance meditation, a beautiful Yoga class or it could even be a delicious plate of pasta like the one below (get the recipe here!). Choose something that makes sense for you!
If you’re interested in working with us on your self-acceptance journey there are 2 pathways to choose from.
Become a MerryBody Member
The MerryBody App with over 500 Yoga, Pilates and Meditation classes, each class is built on self-acceptance. Meaning, each and every time you hit play on a class you are practising and strengthening your self-acceptance. You can begin a 7 day trial here.
Sign up to our MerryBody Teacher Training
Our Yoga Teacher Training goes beyond the physical aspects of Yoga and delves into the deeper dimensions of the practice, including meditation, pranayama (breathwork), philosophy, and mindfulness.
As you deepen your Yoga practice and expand your teaching skills, you will cultivate important qualities such as self-confidence, resilience and mindfulness, which are invaluable in both personal and professional settings.
Yes, you’ll become a certified Yoga teacher, but you’ll also experience a holistic journey of growth and transformation that will positively impact all areas of your life.
You can sign up for an Info Session here (it’s happening on 11 May) and learn more about the Teacher Training over here!
If you have questions about anything or want to share your experiences with me, send us a message on Facebook. We always love hearing from you!
Emma (and Carla)