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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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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
Great article. Report
Thanks for the great article! Report
I am still after over 7 years working on my accepting myself ..

great inspiration Shelli Report
Loved the blog. Report
I love this article and all that it entails. It would be nice if everyone else would mind to their own journey and leave each others journeys to them. Report
Wonderful blog!!! Great attitude!!! Report
You rock!!! Awesome article. Report
Great Article Report
Thank you! Report
Excellent article!! Very well written, and I totally agree! Report
Go Shelli -- thanks for writing this article! Report
You are living proof that once a person is right with him/herself on the inside, all things are possible. Report
Positive and uplifting. Thank you! Report
Motivating and true. I enjoyed this blog Report
This rings so true for me. Once I stopped hating myself and started to be Ok with where I was, and focusing on becoming healthier versions of me things started to fall into place. Just because I am overweight, does not mean that I am unhealthy, my doctor, like yours, never told me to lose weight, I always brought it up. She was kind and caring and understood the struggle and since all my blood work came back within range or even on the low side she never worried about it. It helps to find that confidence in yourself, and once you stop focusing on the scale things tend to fall in place, like watching a pot boil, the moment you blink things begin to happen. Report
I believe that I am put here for a purpose and I am able to carry out this purpose when I am feeling healthy. Body size, that doesn't matter as much to me as feeling healthy and being able to do what I need/want to do! so, I have learned that embracing my body, treating it gently, listening to it, helps me achieve that goal of feeling healthy, doing what I want/need to do. Report
I like this blog. So true and so motivating to me to start accepting myself, no matter what I weigh. Thank you for sharing. Report
Love the blog, Shelli! And I agree. I am trying to eat right and exercise; but my weight is still high. Feeling negative and beating myself up for being fat is NOT a good motivation. Accepting myself, and trying to be healthy, is FAR more successful at getting to a long term change in what I eat/how I exercise. Report
I'm all for accepting yourself. But I'm not for encouraging anyone especially young women to embrace a obese weight. I'm for a healthy weight and lifestyle. I agree you don't have to be a size 2, 4 or 6 to be healthy. But unless you are a big women a size 22, 24 or 28 is probably obese and needs to be addressed. You can still be positive in yourself. But don't give up on the idea that you can't be more healthy by losing weight. Yes we are all worthy and beautiful, but too much weight is not healthy. Report
Wonderful, as always, Shelli! Thank you for being the terrific motivator you are! Report
I'm with you! Shooting for health, always; but at 75 I've never been happier with myself. Report
love it! Report
I'm on Team Shelli! And on team Love Yourself As You Are. Report
Fantastic! So glad to see you pop up first thing this morning! Report
I guess I've always had a good level of self-acceptance. I've been fat and I've been thin, and now I'm somewhere in between; but I've never thought I was less worth-while as a person because of my weight. What's important is what's inside the package, not the wrapping. Yes, carrying a lot of excess weight isn't good for your health, and it makes so e things harder to do, but you can still be a thoughtful, intelligent, caring person who does great things in this world. Report
Thank you for sharing. Loving ourselves just as we are and where we are is one of the most important things we can do for our weight loss goal. I believe that everything God made, He made differently. There are little willow trees and big oak trees. Little chihuahuas and big Great Danes. Same with people. Different sizes. We just have to work on turning into a willow tree :-) Report
Love your blogs! Report
Thank you for sharing. It's all fine except some of us have physical ailments that might go away if we lose weight.... Report
Thank you for sharing! Great reminder not to lose sight of the things that really matter. Report
A great reminder! Thank you. Report
LOVE this. Report
Shelli! I thought I recognized her in the 'hoop' comment!
What a great example she is to us! Thanks for the article! Report
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