Self Acceptance

Friday, the first full day of the Fitbloggin conference, started out with an early morning run with Lauren. In all honesty, I slept horrible that night (hard bed) and getting up for the run was really hard but Lauren was a great encouragement to me. It reminded me how important it is to have a partner and motivator in my life when I’m working to lose weight.

Baltimore Inner Harbor

Our run was a quick one (1.5 miles) but it was a perfect way to start the day.

Lauren and Ashley Coffee Cake and Cardio

Afterwards we went to the Reebok Crossfit class, which I shared about on Friday.  I felt awesome afterwards!! Confession, I’m starting to like burpees!

Reebok Crossfit

After a quick wardrobe change I headed on down to lunch and then to the first Fitbloggin session on self acceptance.  Sidenote, I love my shirt!  My favorite souvenir from our honeymoon, a Nike shirt from Prague.

Fast As Nike Shirt

The session on self acceptance was more than I could have ever asked for.  The session began with 3 women (Karen, Mara, and Shauna) sharing their story and how they reached the point of self acceptance.  From there, attendees were asked to share their stories, struggles with self acceptance, and/or how they found peace and self acceptance.

Here are some of the comments about self acceptance that made the biggest impact on me:

-It’s not something that turns on like a light bulb

-Don’t compare yourself to others.

-Don’t trade one obsession for another (for example trading obsessive eating for obsession dieting).

-It’s about progress not perfection!

-It’s about body acceptance and being able to say “I love myself enough to change”

-Keep fighting

-You need to be able to accept exactly who you are, no matter what you weigh.

-The weight we are carrying is shielding both the outside and the inside.  We need to stop comparing ourselves to others who don’t know who I am or where I want to be.

-You have to be happy with yourself NOW or you won’t be happy with wherever you are trying to get, even if you get there.

-Question: Is it the fear of failure that is keeping me from losing the weight?

-We need to take care of ourselves and care for the body that we have.  We have just one!

-Question: Do I not trust myself?  Why don’t I trust that I can do this? — Am I There Yet

-All of us are the star runner of our team — 300 Pounds and Running

-I need to think of creating habits that will be habits I can pass along to my own children.  It’s never too early to create those habits for our children.

-Take the victories where they are.

-I can love myself.  I am stronger than I think I am — Weight Off My Shoulders

-This doesn’t have to be a struggle for the rest of our lives.

-Question: What would happen if you realize you’re more than your body?

-You need to accept where you’re at so that you can move forward

-You need to be able to say to yourself “You don’t have to see me everyday, I have to see me everyday” and use that to motivate you!

-Self acceptance isn’t the same as satisfaction with self.  They are two very different things!

-You have to remember that you reaching your goals will help others reach their goals!

Ashley Fitbloggin

I also shared my story with the group and where I am at in regards to self acceptance.  For me, I struggle with being able to accept myself when those around me aren’t accepting of who I am.

Growing up, kids in grade school were not accepting of who I was and teased me for being overweight.  Although I did find my voice when I became a powerlifter and discus thrower in high school, I still cared too much about being accepted by others.

As an adult, I began finding myself when I lived up in Vermont back in 2006-2007 as all of the past variables were stripped from my life.  It was a fresh start for me.  It was the first time I had been away from the church I had grown up in (which was not a healthy church for me.  It controlled my life as I never felt accepted or good enough for the people in the church).

After moving back to DC in 2007, I began attending the church again and quickly was sucked back into the control and focus on living to find acceptance from those around me.  In 2009 I decided to leave the church which was a very tough decision for me.  Leaving the church meant leaving a community I had been a part of for most of my life and being cut off by friends for the decisions I had made.

The past 3 years have been difficult for me as I’ve had to figure out how to define my own life, determine my goals, and refocus my future.  Over the past 3 years I have gained 20 pounds, losing and regaining it over and over again.  If you read back over my posts from the past year and half, my weight has ranged from 230 to 213.

Unlike my time at Dartmouth when I was focused on myself and my own life, the past few years have been a struggle as I’ve returned back to allowing others’ opinions and lack of acceptance to affect my ability to accept who I am.  Sure, I should be able to say “I don’t care” but when Neal’s siblings call me a fat ass and make fun of my blog, it’s hard to remain focused my own goals and the progress I have made.  The truth is, they do not know me.  They don’t know my story and are just judging my body size compared to their own.  Although the pain of being ousted by your new family is just about the worst thing I could have imagined, I can happily say that I’ve moved on and have found peace with being able to live my own life and not worry about pleasing/sucking up to them.  They are either going to hate me or love me.  Right now it’s hate and I can’t allow their inability to accept me to affect my ability to accept who I am.

Friday’s Fitbloggin session on self acceptance really opened my eyes to my fears.  I am scared of the unknown!  I am scared of what will it take to weigh less than 200 pounds.  I am scared of whether or not I’ll be able to maintain my loss or if I’ll gain weight back as I have over the past 3 years.

The men and women sitting in that room helped me to see that I must focus on myself and my goals.  It has to be about me.  Loving myself, working out for myself, and eating the right things for myself.  In doing so I will find self acceptance and will come to love myself… my whole self.

I am going to sharing my future goals later this week.  I am so thankful for being able to find more clarity and to continue my journey to true and pure self acceptance.


  1. Jayme says

    Wonderful post and topic that really hits home. I’m working hard at self acceptance myself, and it’s not always easy. It’s so true about focusing on yourself and ignoring what others think/say OR how they look/have. Sometimes jealousy is a huge factor in how I feel about myself! Thanks for the post Ashley– I love reading your blog– you remind me that goals are worth setting, and that you can achieve them!

  2. Jayme says

    Wondeful topic and a great outlook on it. I’m working on self-acceptance myself and it’s very hard sometimes to remember that I’m worth all the things I’m working towards. I struggle a lot with jealousy, and it often make me feel like the lesser person. Focusing on yourself and your goals is a must– that’s one of the reason I enjoy reading your blog so much. You remind me to set goals and that you can achieve them! Thanks for the post Ashley!

  3. says

    My twitter feed was exploding while all you ladies were in this session. It sounded like it was great and very eye opening for everyone.. I would love to attend a session like this. I struggle with similar issues and it’s one of the main reasons why I haven’t gone public with my blog to my real life friends and family. I admire you for standing up in front of everyone and sharing your story.

  4. says

    Thank you for sharing all these empowering, inspiring messages. I’ve been focusing on “progress, not perfection” a lot lately– it’s helped me move away from an “all or nothing” approach. I am sure this struggle with family is not easy; I really admire your strength of spirit. As for burpees, I am not even sure how this happened, but I smacked my nose on the ground during burpees at Crossfit this morning. Got a good laugh at myself from that one. ;-)

  5. says

    That session struck home for me to. I always thought self acceptance would lead to apathy. I also realize I’m scared of succeeding on the weight loss goals as I have never known a fit me. I know that’s ridiculous and something to get over. You know me as @cowgirlwarrior

  6. Cheri says

    I think you are awesome — and so honest with yourself and others! I have spent years trying to be honest with myself about my weight and body image, and I’m still not there. What a lifelong struggle, and trading obsessions is my middle name! You are inspiring me, and I love you for it. :) I enjoy reading your blog each day, and look forward to it!

  7. Betsy e says

    This hits home for do many people struggling with all varieties of personal issues and outside influence and negativity. It makes me sick that you don’t feel love and support from your family. Shame on them, they are truly missing out. Keep your head up and your feet moving!

  8. says

    I’m SO thankful that you took such great notes during that session and shared them!! Ahhh- it was amazing.
    I so wish that you and I and SO many others didn’t have to struggle with these issues- but it blows my mind that there is so much support and love out there.
    Thanks for being REAL, love.

  9. says

    It was great to meet you at the McCormick event! The self acceptance session was one of my top Fitbloggin moments. So many people share similar stories…it’s amazing there isn’t some magic cure for all these issues yet.

    If I shared, I could easily eat up (no pun intended) the whole session. I’ll keep it to my blog, for now. ;)

  10. says

    Those are all such great “take home points” and you did a great job keeping track of them (if they weren’t on a handout). It breaks my heart that Neil’s family is not accepting of you or willing to get to know you and the journey that “makes you you.” I always remember you as having such a wonderful spirit and being such a kind and beautiful person.

    As a side note…what do you mean, you “left the church?” Like, no church attendance for the past 3 years, or just THAT church? Or like took a sabbatical with Jesus? Email me or something.

  11. Becky says

    What a great session! I’m glad it spoke to you on a personal level and that you’re ready for self acceptance. I’ll support you in any way I can- more shared meals at our homes! More active time together! So proud of you Ashley!!

  12. says

    Sorry I am so behind on this… Thanks so much for the awesome shout out! Who knew going into the discussion I would cry that much. Self-acceptance is hard. It was nice meeting so many people this weekend who have similar emotions and struggles on these things. It was great to meet you!

  13. Angie Olson says

    I just want to say that you’re a source of inspiration to me. Few people would be able to keep your positive attitude, with the “non-support” from some of your new family members. I think it’s crazy they would insult you or put you down. Family should be there to support you, no matter what you look like, how much you weigh, or what your hobbies are. You are so right that we need to accept ourselves for who we are, and not define ourselves by what others think. I would be so lucky if you were my sister-in-law, because you are a genuine, positive, funny, intelligent, and kind person.

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