Body acceptance, boundaries and a little bit of self love

If you are on a journey to accepting your body – you may need to think about setting some boundaries with friends and family to protect yourself. Story time! Hope you are sitting comfortably…

As a personal trainer, most people come to train with me because they want to lose weight. And that is totally OK ( I am in no way judging anyone that wishes to change the way their body looks). The clients that stay with me long-term are those that I manage to get through to about accepting themselves and not worrying about the weight loss. That’s right. Even if your original goal is weight loss – I will always be working to help you see value in other forms of progress and to shift the focus away from the scales.

With one client in particular, we made so much progress on this front. She came to me after her second pregnancy and she couldn’t stand the way her body looked. She was even considering a tummy tuck surgery to “fix” what she saw as wrong with her body. After working with her for about 6 months, we made real progress. Yes, she did lose weight and change her appearance through our training sessions, but even though you couldn’t see it, the changing mindset was perhaps that most radical change. When we first started, she would come to the sessions because she felt she had to, she would be hungry from a restrictive diet and she would still hate what she saw in the mirror. In our sessions, I encouraged her to feel proud of herself for lifting more weight than last week or being able to workout for longer than last session. Just gradually introducing the idea that she could feel proud of what her body was able to do, and not worry about what her body was looking like. Slowly the tone of our sessions started to change. From a point where she used to weigh herself after every workout and obsess over changing her body. To a point where she genuinely looked forward to our sessions and relished the chance to do more, lift heavier and be stronger than the previous week.

Then we hit a bump in the road.

She saw her family for the first time in a long time, and they commented on her weight and the way she looked. They said she looked fat. I don’t believe they were trying to be unkind but her appearance was all that was noticed.

Never mind the fact that before this encounter, she was the most confident she had ever felt in her life.

Never mind that when she stopped worrying about her appearance all the time, she freed up the space in her life to pursue her dreams of being an artist.

Now it took some time. Some convincing. Some tears. Some tough love. And some heart-felt conversations. But we got our sessions back on track and brought the focus back to her strength and progress.

I wonder if any of you have ever experienced anything like this with friends or family members?

I know I have. It’s time to start setting some boundaries. If someone makes a comment about your body….

  1. You could politely remove yourself from the conversation with them. It’s not rude. It’s protecting yourself and avoiding a conversation/confrontation that you may not be ready or willing to have.
  2. You could ignore what they have said, totally change the subject and let them know about the fantastic things that have been going on in your life e.g. following your dreams to become an artist!
  3. You could make it crystal clear that you are setting a boundary. Politely (or not) call them out on how your body is actually none of their concern and that you are no longer bowing to the societal pressure to look a certain way for other people’s comfort or pleasure.
  4. An extension of number 3 – Maybe even challenge them to consider their own feelings about their body. Whether they place all of their own value in their appearance and perhaps that is part of the reason they have felt the need to comment (kindly or otherwise) on your body.

Comments about your body’s appearance from anyone are not OK. It doesn’t matter if its supposed to a compliment, a thinly veiled insult, or an outright expression of dislike. Nobody has the right to say anything about your body because it is exactly that. YOURS.


Love Becky xxx

P.S The featured photo is a painting of me by my client in the story who found the confidence to pursue her dreams ❤

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