Radical Acceptance and Body Positivity

Radical Acceptance and Body Positivity

There is some controversy about the idea of Body Positivity. Some argue that this movement is promoting obesity or encouraging people to give up on their health and fitness goals.

I must say that I have a fairly strong opinion of this, which I will own is biased by my own experiences. I have been in a bigger body for most of my post-school years.

I gained a significant amount of weight after the death of my dad in 2016, when I was in my final year of OT, but if I’m honest, it had been creeping up ever since I started studying and had 1) less time to exercise and meal-prep and 2) found that fizzy energy drinks and junk food were efficient (in the short term) methods of coping with the insane workload and stress I struggled with.

Any and all attempts to lose the weight (which I have done a few times, but it comes back, as many of us have experienced) came from a place of self-hatred, insecurity, and severe self-criticism.

Bullying may result in short-term change, but trust me my friends, it is not sustainable.

The Body Positivity movement, at its core, is about loving and accepting our bodies, and ourselves, regardless of the size, shape, appearance, and abilities of our bodies. This means loving yourself and your body TODAY.

Pretty terrifying stuff, right!

In finding a way to fit this way of thinking into the fact that I still have goals for my health, fitness, and (yes!) body, I have turned to psychology theory.

(You will find out in time that nerding out on research and evidence-based theories is a favourite pastime of mine!)

The DBT (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy) concept of Radical Acceptance, describes the act of accepting our unchangeable emotions, thoughts and circumstances (Linehan, 2014). Or simply put, accepting the way things are right now.

When applied to our relationship with our bodies (body image), radical acceptance looks like loving ourselves and our bodies AS IS right this second. It means accepting the fact that hating ourselves is not going to instantly change our bodies right this second. It means not letting the way we look/function get in the way of enjoying our lives and living our full life experience.

It means understanding that we can have opposing things true at the same time:

  1. We can accept and love and respect ourselves and our bodies as they are today AND
  2. We can have goals for our health

These are not mutually-exclusive 😊

Any thoughts or questions? I’d love to hear them!

Please comment below.

Until next time, with love,

The OT Yogi

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Samantha

    Body positivity can only help rather than harm mental health. Self hatred is so harmful.

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