When I gave up dieting, I wasn’t fully into size acceptance. I realized dieting didn’t work and if I continued, I would wreck my body even further.
At first I worried I would gain an enormous amount of weight (this turned out to only be about five pounds). As I got more into size acceptance and loving my body, I was able to accept the occasional weight gain and loss. (Neither were dramatic. I went from a size 20 to a 22, and then back to a 20.) You may find that some changes will affect your weight: medications, exercise, stress, hormones, or dietary changes (Not for weight loss).
How can you deal with these fluctuations? When I was a dieter, I had an easy formula:
Weight loss =love myslf
Weight gain= hate myself.
The diet I was most "successful" on, I lost 40 pounds and kept it off for 2 years. I never got thin, but the day I fit into a size 14 (mind you, I couldn't breathe but they fit), I was excited and happy for the rest of the day, convinced that thinness was just around the corner (turns out it was just the same old story, weight regain and bingeing).
When I gave up dieting and started to learn to love my body, I felt I had the right to that self-love from getting into a size 14. But I also had to figure out how to make my life so as not to be defined by a number.
It was easy in the beginning because my weight stayed the same. But as the hormones of getting older kicked in, my pants got tighter. I bought new pants but I had to figure out a way to not hate myself.
The first thing I did was end negative fat talk. This is when you look in the mirror and tell yourself "OMG, I'M FAT” like it's a bad thing. You need to look at your reflection and tell yourself "OMG, I'M BEAUTIFUL!" “OMG, I LOVE YOU, BODY!”
If you catch yourself telling your body bad things, tell that voice to shut up. Loving yourself is the most important thing you can do.
It's important that if there is weight gain to not go back to any kind of dieting. HAES and Intitule eating means you listen to your body cues. Forcing your body to eat less than needs is devastating instead of nourishing it.
On the other side is weight loss. Maybe you got sick and now your pants are loose. You still love your body but you may feel a little extra self-esteem, especially when other people around you compliment it. I deal with that two ways: I hunch my shoulders like I don't care or I try humor: Thanks! It was a stomach virus/mono/tapeworm. The most important thing is to still love your body and not to feel like you betrayed it for feeling a surge of self-esteem that years of dieting probably programed into you.
Still go to your mirror and tell yourself. I love my body no matter what!