Shelli's Journey from 'Shame Yourself Thin' to Body Acceptance

By , Shelli Mosteller
The size acceptance movement, body positivity movement, fat acceptance movement— call it what you may, it's a movement that continues to create quite a buzz, from the covers of magazines to social media newsfeeds. The movement is about accepting yourself and other people as is, no matter the size of their waist, if they're pear-shaped, their curves or any other physical feature. Sounds like what we teach our kids, right? What could be possibly controversial about acceptance? Hold hands and sing "kum ba yah" around the campfire. Pass the s'mores.

Do me a favor: Google "body acceptance movement." Within the first page of results, you'll find the backlash as the internet turns into a brawling episode of Jerry Springer, arguing about its merits and what it gets wrong. Why are folks so upset? Because this acceptance includes people who are overweight, which is apparently where some draw the line. Some argue that accepting any level of obesity is condoning poor health choices. It's nice to know so many people are concerned about my health. Bless their hearts.

Look, I'm no expert. I can't offer an authoritative opinion on the matter, but I can tell my own story of body acceptance. I'm definitely an expert on that. As I approach my 50th birthday in this short, round body, I've never felt more comfortable in my own skin. It has everything to do with acceptance.

I spent years rejecting myself because of my weight. I tried the "Shame Yourself Thin" plan. Guess what? Self-loathing is the worst motivational tool there is. Conferences entitled, "Make Yourself Miserable to Build a Better You" don't exist because they would never work. When I finally put a definitive stop to the negative stuff, I was able to start accepting myself. As it turns out, acceptance is very motivating. I naturally became more active and involved in life. I hula hoop, walk my dog and feed my family real food. We occasionally eat magically delicious things that include butter and heavy cream. The world keeps spinning. I have a mild-mannered weight-loss goal, but it doesn't hang over my head or drive me anymore. My doctor is more concerned with my sinus issues than my weight. He's happy with my blood pressure and the other important numbers. He recommends moderate exercise and light resistance training. He accepts me, too.

Accepting myself and feeling good in my own skin is incredibly liberating. It doesn't mean I don't continue to improve, but at my core, I'm content. I don't need a massive weight loss or incredible feat of athleticism to affirm that. As my husband and I ecstatically approach the "empty nest" stage of our lives, he's just as crazy about me at a size 14 as he was when I was a size five or 22. I have family and friends who love and accept me. My faith centers me. Why on earth wouldn't I accept myself?

I believe everyone has to make their own decisions about what's healthy and what's good for them. You have to blaze your own trail, choose your own path and all those other motivating metaphors. But when it comes down to it, you need to accept who you see in the mirror. You are extraordinary, fascinating and important. Guess what? So is everyone else.

How do you embrace body acceptance in your day-to-day life?

About the Author

Shelli Mosteller (MOSTMOM1) has been a SparkPeople member since 2010 and currently resides in just outside of Cincinnati. On her journey to weight loss, she's experienced all the highs and lows, but always manages to find the silver lining. She loves interacting with the SparkPeople Community, which she finds is full of encouraging, motivating, positive people. Married with two young adult children plus Chubbs the Immortal Guinea Pig and Bubba the English Bulldog, Shelli also works full-time as a creative arts pastor for her church.