The Real Deal On Body Acceptance

by Golda Poretsky, H.H.C. on August 15, 2011

by Golda Poretsky, H.H.C.

Listen to the podcast for this post here:

As you may have heard by now, former body acceptance advocate Jess Weiner was interviewed by Glamour about how loving her body almost killed her.  In the article she shares how, for her, body acceptance had meant not checking in on her health.

I and many other bloggers have already picked apart the inconsistencies and problematic aspects of this piece.  But truthfully, the part of the story that I find most horrendous is that Weiner completely mischaracterizes body acceptance in order to tear it down.

So I think it’s time to get some clarity on what body acceptance really is, what it means, and why it can be so healing for all of us.  Of course, I can’t speak for everyone’s experience of body acceptance, but this is the way I understand it if we break it down into the simplest terms.

What It is

Body acceptance means, as much as possible, approving of and loving your body, despite its “imperfections”, real or perceived.  That means accepting that your body is fatter than some others, or thinner than some others, that your eyes are a little crooked, that you have a disability that makes walking difficult, that you have health concerns that you have to deal with — but that all of that doesn’t mean that you need to be ashamed of your body or try to change it.  Body acceptance allows for the fact that there is a diversity of bodies in the world, and that there’s no wrong way to have one.

What It’s Not

Body acceptance is not about intentionally disregarding your health.  Accepting and loving your body includes paying attention to its signals and symptoms.

Who It’s For

Body acceptance is for anyone who has a body.  Weight and body oppression is oppressive to everyone.  I’ve worked with women who were a size 6 who hated their bodies more than other clients who were a size 24.  When you live in a society that says that one kind of body is bad and and other is good, those with “good” bodies constantly fear that their bodies will go “bad”, and those with “bad” bodies are expected feel shame and do everything they can to have “good” bodies.  In the process, we torture our bodies, and do everything from engage in disordered eating to invasive surgery to make ourselves okay.  We blame our friends and family for not having the right kind of body.  Nobody wins in this kind of struggle.

Why Body Acceptance Is Healthy

Body acceptance as part of the Health At Every Size (R) protocol, has been show to have better long term health effects than dieting.  Furthermore, body hatred creates an incredible amount of stress in your mind and body.  When you’re fixated on what you don’t like about your body and desperately trying to change it, you’ll often engage in dangerous behaviors that don’t lead to better health (restricting food, over-exercising, surgeries).  When you start loving your body and respecting its cues and signals, you can eat in a way that nourishes you, move in ways that are good for your body, and seek out health care from professionals who actually respect you and care for you as a whole person.

Here are some of the wonderful things that can happen when you live your life from a place of body acceptance, love and respect:

When you see your body with love and approval, amazing changes happen.  You might:

  • Decide to stop dieting and eat in a way that is healing and nourishing.
  • Begin to heal from an eating disorder.
  • Stop over-exercising when you realize that you might be damaging your precious body.
  • Start exercising when you find that moving your body in loving ways feels good.
  • Get better medical care because you know that you are entitled to more than “it’ll go away if you lose weight.”
  • Get out of a relationship that doesn’t serve you.
  • Get in to a relationship where you are truly loved and cared for.
  • Find the confidence to set boundaries with people in your life.
  • Stop comparing yourself to everyone and see the beauty in yourself.
  • Find that intuitive eating is easier than you thought.
  • Feel free from the pain of self hatred and feel great being the person you are.

Why It’s Important

People with bodies that are viewed as non-normative (and this includes fat people, despite the fact that there are so many of us) face a lot of stigma, discrimination, and exclusion on a day-to-day basis.  Via body acceptance, fat people can say, “I realize you have a problem with my body, but I refuse to internalize that.”  By refusing to accept the shame that we’re supposed to feel about our bodies, we create change in our lives and in the lives of those around us.  We transform struggle and shame to peace and pride.  Body acceptance becomes an invitation to others, fat, thin, or in between, to love their bodies as well.

Tell Your Story!

If body acceptance has been a positive influence on your life, I want to hear your story!  Click here to see how you can submit it.

Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. Go to http://www.bodylovewellness.com/free to get your free download — Golda’s Top Ten Tips For Divine Dining!

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

@ZestNutrition June 1, 2013 at 8:30 pm

And here’s the blog post that the quote comes from


@Tanisia May 17, 2012 at 3:59 pm
@Tanisia May 16, 2012 at 9:49 pm

*sigh* This is the URL for the @bodylovewellnes article : http://t.co/JHcBsQCG


@Tanisia April 26, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Love the body that surrounds your beating heart. For more on body acceptance, you may enjoy this by @bodylovewellnes : http://t.co/JHcBsQCG


Lisa Teresa August 22, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Golda, you rock harder than a hair band reunion tour. Thank you for providing this awesome definition of body acceptance. It’s going to be oft quoted by me from now on for those struggling (or not) to understand!


Margarita @ Weightless August 18, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Golda, just wanted to say what a fantastic post this is! You clarified body acceptance so eloquently! My fave part is when you list all the amazing things that happen when we start to respect and love our bodies. Thank you for a fabulous post! :)


Alexis August 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm

This woman is what, now admitting that the money ppl spent on her advice and information was basically throwing it away. That she didn’t know what she was talking about. Nice that she’s on the talk show circuit. Has anyone asked for a refund from a seminar. I would! I’d demand a refund! She needs to be exposed as a phony and a fraud, not listened to more. I wouldn’t believe anything she said at this point, let alone book her on a tv show so she can be “confused” in another direction.


Full Fashion Fix (@FullFashionFix) August 16, 2011 at 5:00 am

@bodylovewellness The real deal on body acceptance: what it really means! http://ht.ly/63Guj


@CurvyYoga August 15, 2011 at 1:15 pm

"Accepting and loving your body includes paying attention to its signals and symptoms." ♥ this from @BodyLoveWellnes http://t.co/FhdV6WV


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