Accepting your body

November 25, 2008 4:42:12 PM PST
Learn to accept your body no matter what your weight. Tips about your body image:
  1. Accept your size. Love and appreciate the body you have. Self-acceptance empowers you to move on and make positive changes.

  2. Trust yourself. We all have internal systems designed to keep us healthy - and at a healthy weight. Support your body in naturally finding its appropriate weight by honoring its signals of hunger, satiety, and appetite.

  3. Adopt healthy lifestyle habits.

    *Develop and nurture connections with others and look for purpose and meaning in your life. Fulfilling your social, emotional and spiritual needs restores food to its rightful place as a source of nourishment and pleasure.

    *Find the joy in moving your body and becoming more physically vital in your everyday life.

    *Eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full, and seek out pleasurable and satisfying foods. Be attentive to the experience of eating and to which food choices truly help you feel good. Tailor your tastes so that you enjoy more nutritious foods, staying mindful that there is plenty of room for less nutritious choices in the context of an overall healthy diet and lifestyle.

  4. Embrace size diversity. Humans come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Open to the beauty found across the spectrum and support others in recognizing their unique attractiveness
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Linda Bacon Bio:
Like many men and women, Linda Bacon used to be preoccupied with her own weight. Starting in her early adolescence, she stayed abreast of the day-to-day differences on the scale. Convinced that she would be more popular and successful if she weighed less, Bacon started dieting to escape a weight problem that existed only in her head. Despite her preoccupation with losing weight and her repeated attempts to shed pounds, the scale continued to document Bacon's failure. As her weight inched up, her self-esteem plummeted.

By the time Bacon reached college, her pain regarding her weight reached an intolerable level. Bacon's life deteriorated as she obsessed about food and activity to the detriment of her studies and social relationships. She weighed herself daily and let the scale determine her mood. Bacon's pain and obsession about her weight fueled her determination to understand everything about weight regulation. At first, she studied the cultural issues, which explained the "why" behind her body image issues. She came to understand that the shame she felt about her body was part of the North American female experience, reflective of a cultural pathology regarding a woman's appearance. Since that time, cultural pressure on women has bumped up several notches, with accompanying pressure on men, many of whom now share women's eating and body image dissatisfaction.

Bacon earned a master's degree in psychotherapy, with a specialty in eating disorders and body image, and began work as a psychotherapist. Her career led her to a greater understanding about herself and her relationship with food and weight. With questions still unanswered, Bacon went back to school to pursue a master's degree in exercise science, specializing in metabolism. Bacon continued to broaden her education and went on to complete a doctoral program in physiology with a focus in nutrition and weight regulation from the University of California, Davis. There she learned dramatically new ideas: that dieting wasn't healthy nor did it achieve long-term weight loss; and that modern food processing often diminishes the quality of foods, thus disrupting our health and encouraging weight gain.

Through all of her studies and research, Bacon continually stumbled across the same disconnect. This science of weight regulation directly contradicts cultural assumptions as well as those promoted by the "experts." Bacon's experiences and academic training led her to an entirely different paradigm in weight regulation, where she finally found relief from her painful preoccupation with food and losing weight. She developed a healthy and pleasurable relationship with her body and with food, and the scale no longer held the power to weigh her self-esteem. Bacon feels fortunate to have conquered her food and weight obsession, and empathizes with the many others engaged in their own personal battle with food and weight.

She has dedicated her career towards helping others on that journey, designing the Health at Every Size program, which she tested meticulously in a clinical research study funded by the National Institutes of Health and co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight chronicles the remarkable findings of that study: that people can indeed overcome their weight problems and improve their health-without dieting, deprivation, or a focus on weight loss.

Bacon is currently a nutrition professor in the biology department at City College of San Francisco. She also serves as an associate nutritionist at the University of California, Davis and maintains a private consulting practice, advising individuals, health care professionals and institutions on strategies for implementing Health at Every Size.

Bacon has written articles for the Los Angeles Times and has been cited as an expert in Allure Magazine, The Economist, First for Women, Health Magazine, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Prevention Magazine, Reuters, Self, Shape, U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Post, WebMD and Women's Health.

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