Walking Guide

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.

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Excellent Report
Great affirmative article! We need to see more like it! Report
JUDY1260 4/15/2018
I think with age comes wisdom and self acceptance. We learn it’s more important to be healthy on the inside than perfect on the outside. I’ve yoyoed myself up and down the scale for 20 years. Last summer, after losing almost 20 lbs (again!), I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I regained almost everything during treatment. You know what? I’m 15 lbs overweight but I’m ALIVE. I’m not saying I don’t care about the weight gain, but I don’t let it affect my self esteem. I’m fabulous no matter how much I weigh. Report
ADMIN: Please pin this to the start page. This is the kind of article we need more of!!! Report
THIS is an article that should be in the spotlight every week! The priority should always be about living a healthy lifestyle - and enjoying it. Neither the number on the scale or the label on the clothing should stop us from joyful activity and delicious, healthier foods. Report
Ironically, it was only after I finally accepted myself as worthy ay my highest weight and stopped putting self-care things off (new clothes, new haircut, more careful makeup routine, etc.) that I was finally able to get serious about getting healthier as well. So much easier to make good choices when you think you are worth it. And you are! :) Report
Thank you for such a life-affirming article - I am going to keep this one under my pillow! Hugs, Shelli! Report
very interesting ... Report
thanks for sharing its so true Report
great post as usual made me think of how I sabotage myself on so many occasions Report
I agree! Self-loathing is what drives me to overeat!!!! I think it's best for me to focus on making healthy choices. I do get on the scale every day but that's what works for me. I think people should do what works best for them! I think people fat shame other people because of their own insecurities. I didn't develop weight problems until my twenties. As a teenager I had some overweight friends and I never thought about it one way or another. they were simply my friends. Then once I began struggling with my weight, all of a sudden I was more interested in other people's weight. My own issues were affecting how I looked at other people. So the more we love ourselves the healthier we will be physically and emotionally and the kinder we will be to other people! Report
I have followed you for several yrs. and somehow became disconnected here. You have had a wonderful and full life. You instill much motivation and spirit into us. Keep up the good work. This is great!! Report
I love it! Report
Right on! Report
What a useful article! Report
Very inspiring article! Report
This is a great article. Your perspective is Report
Shelli you are amazing. You have a zest for life and it's contagious.
Thanks for being....well... you! Report
Love Shelli and her motivating fun loving vlogs! She is a joy to my day! Report
Great article...and just what I needed to read this morning! Thank you! Report
this is one of the best articles on here. Thank you so much!! Report
Thank you. I am struggling a lot with acceptance right now and your article helped a lot Report
Hi there Shelli, good to see you're still sparking and sparkling! Report
You are very inspirational! Thank you so much for sharing! Report
N shame or blame, just continuous improvement Report
Thank you for sharing your wisdom. Report
you are fantastic Report
Fit mind. Fit body. Fit soul. Report
Shelli, this is incredible. Thank you for writing it. I need to print this out and post it somewhere I can see it daily to remind myself that self-love is SUCH an important part of the journey. Report
Thanks for sharing. Good stuff for me to think about. Best to you. Report
Such wisdom. You really are enjoying life to the fullest! Thanks for sharing. Report
i was a part of the fat acceptance movement for several years--NAFFA. it is part of why larger people can find larger clothes now plus a lot more. I feel it was a great time to really be ok not just with self but accepting others. my reasons to now be part of SP are nothing to do with looks but comfort (fitting into seats at the movies or on airlines) and health. good points in your article. thanks for sharing Report
Shellie you are such a bright spot in my world. I haven't been around on SparkPeople much in the past year, and I have missed your humor, and gentle encouragement. Thank you for sharing your fun, your insights, and your acceptance Report
People have to find what works best for them. Report
Well said Shelli. Report
Great advice Report
Great blog, Shelli!! Thank you!! :-) ::hugs:: Report
Well said Shelli. Great blog. Report
Great blog Shelli. Report
Great blog and so very true. Everyone has to figure out what works best for them and accept that there is no one size, shape, or weight that fits everyone. Learn to accept your God-given uniqueness and work to be as healthy and happy as you can!! Report
What a great blog. I so enjoy following your journey. You are such an inspiration to me and your happiness and joy make me smile every time I read something from you. Report
Great read! I've enjoyed following your journey. You are an inspiration to us all. Love you, Shelli!

Nancy Report
Wise words !!! Report
Thank you for sharing this. I can oh so relate Report
Great article....thanks!!! Report
You have out done yourself. Great blog and oh so true! Thanks for some awesome tips too! Sparkling Cheers, Nola Report
Thank you! Report
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