3 Reasons to Start with Acceptance
If you’re trying to change your relationship to food and how you eat, that means you’re not happy with things as they are. Maybe you don’t like being obsessed with food, or feeling bad both physically and emotionally so often, or having so little energy to focus on other things in your life.
Given all that, you might feel like acceptance is the last thing you need, and I get it. When I was younger and heavier and didn’t have a good relationship with food, for a long time I wasn’t interested in acceptance. It felt like giving in and giving up, that I was going to settle for keeping things the way they were.
But I was wrong. No matter where you’re at, starting with acceptance will help you get where you want to go.
This doesn’t mean you have to end with acceptance, but if you don’t begin there, you won’t be able to move forward effectively. Here are three reasons to give this a try.
1 – You’ll know your starting point
When you’re struggling with food issues (or anything else), most of the time you focus on where you want to end up. This is understandable, but it also means that you’re trying to get somewhere without knowing how far away it or what you need to do to attain it.
You need to know your starting point, but to do that, you have to acknowledge and accept the reality of where you’re at now.
For example, in my situation, I wanted to get to a place where I didn’t feel upset by my food choices so often. But I couldn’t measure any improvement without acknowledging how often I felt upset about them in the first place.
Likewise, saying that I wanted to have more energy wasn’t very helpful. More energy than what? Only by accepting how little energy I currently had could I start to notice any changes.
2 – You’ll feel more peaceful
Now, I know that accepting where you’re at can feel scary. It means that you have to confront some things that you’ve probably been turning a blind eye to because you don’t think you’ll like the truth.
I get that. It is scary. It can also be painful at first when you realize that things aren’t perhaps what you thought they’d be.
But here’s the good news. Once you get past that initial fear, you end up feeling more peaceful.
When you’re in denial about some aspects of your life, that creates a certain tension in you, even if you’re not aware of it. Subconsciously, you realize that there’s a problem, but because you refuse to face it, you experience a sense of disconnect.
After accepting the reality, though, you don’t have that tension. You know the truth, and even if it’s not what you’d like, just that acknowledgment gives you a sense of ease.
In my case, I still remember a time after I started eating mindfully when I bumped into a couple who knew me when I was in high school, and the woman commented that I looked like I’d found peace. I hadn’t realized it before she said it, but she was right.
3 – You’ll be more mindful
Finally, accepting your current situation helps you become more mindful.
Because you’re not in denial anymore, you can pay attention to your habits and choices without being afraid of what you’ll learn. After all, you already know the truth. It doesn’t have the power to shock or upset you as it did before.
And once you’re paying attention, you can make more mindful and deliberate choices. Even if you end up making a choice you regret, it’s easier to work through. Since you’ve already done some hard work with acceptance, you have the courage to do a little more and find out what prompted you to make that choice.
This all becomes a positive cycle of reinforcement, allowing you to see and acknowledge where you’re at while also taking steps to where you want to be.
Acceptance is the best place to start
Accepting your current situation with food and eating isn’t always easy. It can take a lot of courage to face reality.
But if you can find that courage and accept that reality, you’ll gain so much. You’ll have a true sense of your current situation, you’ll feel more at peace, and you can be more mindful. And it’s the best place to start if you want to move towards a different way of being.