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  • Gabrielle Morreale

Body Trust & Acceptance

Updated: Jun 4


3 girls celebrating - body trust and acceptance

By: Abby Emmert M.A.


When we are counseling those with eating disorders, we often talk about body trust and building this relationship back as we work through recovery. Some clients struggle with this concept because they cling to different definitions of body trust. Some consider body trust to be trusting their body to handle nourishment, while others consider it to be the ability for their bodies to trust them to respond to hunger and fullness cues after a period of not doing so. However you define it, I have uncovered a deeper struggle that clients deal with while working towards this trust in their recovery.


After working with clients on their relationship with their bodies and healing this trust, the deeper problem appears to be the struggle with acceptance of how our bodies will look as a result of offering that trust back to our bodies. We struggle with accepting how they will look, what weight they will need to take, what shape they will take, and how we will feel in our bodies as a result of these characteristics. We struggle with trust because we haven't been able to accept the way our bodies want to look when we don't control them. Hence, eating disorders.


We know acceptance is the harder piece of this puzzle because if you felt as though you did accept the way your body looked when you nourished it properly, the trust would come naturally! So this is where we deep dive into acceptance. What does acceptance mean? I've heard from many that acceptance feels weak. Some clients have called it complacency with a negative connotation. Others have considered it a form of cenceding; giving in and not caring rather than doing something about it.

Since I once had an eating disorder, I totally understand this narrative. Especially with unconscious fat-phobia, we fear people will look at us the same way we look at others in bigger bodies; like they gave up and didn't care to do something about it. The problem here isn't that you indeed gave up, it’s that we have been given the message that our body size is the result of something we chose to do or not to do, and that you CAN or SHOULD in fact control it.


Acceptance comes when you change the narrative from your body size being something you should control to knowing it is something you never have to. When the narrative changes from your body size being something you should shame, or body size reflecting your values, you will reach acceptance with your body. Once we learn that acceptance is actually just knowing the difference between what you can and cannot, or do not have to control...you will reach the stage to properly communicate to your body that it can trust you to finally be friends again :)