body acceptance means having your best body possible
One of the strangest things I've encountered lately is this idea that improving your body and exercising to look really fit and toned means you don't really love yourself. Huh? Yes, a few women who are really into the whole body acceptance movement feel that when you exercise to achieve a body that is leaner and fitter looking then this means you don't really love and accept yourself.
This attitude has led me to ponder how much of my reasoning for wanting the body I want and work to have is social conditioning and how much of it comes from an internal place of knowing what the best version of me really looks like. I realize this is kind of a deep question but it's definitely one worth thinking about at least a little, because if the effort you're putting into getting a certain body feels un-natural to you or feels like monumental work then maybe your body goals are not aligned with who you really are deep down beneath your physical layer.
On the other hand, if the effort you're putting into getting fit feels mediocre and your mediocre results make you feel frustrated and unhappy and unfulfilled then maybe your body goals aren't living up to your true self which means you're not acknowledging your body's amazing potential. So in either situation you're working towards something that is not aligned with your being and you won't be able to continue doing it long term.
This is the reason finding YOUR TRUE UNDERLYING MOTIVES for fitness is so important. It helps you figure out your own beautiful body standards and eliminates the need to justify your health and exercise habits to people. In my 30 years of consistent exercise I've come across both people who felt my training and eating was obsessive and those who felt my training and eating was lame.
Everybody is a critic and if you haven't figured out the real reasons why you want the body you want and why you workout the way you do to get it
then those judgments will bother you on a very deep emotional level.
When you do know deep down that what you're doing is 100% in line with your core values then you stop caring what people think about your exercise and eating preferences. You also stop apologizing for not living up to their body acceptance standards. For example I know from exercising almost daily since I was 15 years old that skipping exercise for a few days a few weeks (and once upon a time a few months) made me very unhappy and unbalanced mentally and emotionally.
I also know from my 30 years of exercise experience that I do not enjoy beating myself up with hardcore workouts until I'm laying on the floor in a pool of blood sweat and tears. My physical mental and emotional well being suffer too much from that much intensity as well because it's not what I'm about.
I don't need six pack abs or single digit bodyfat to prove that I'm fit but I do love being thin because it means I can move the way I want to move. So I have chosen a body appearance and level of health and fitness I believe to be aligned with my best version of me.
Hopefully this post will help you figure out what body goals feel right for you. Knowing what truly makes you the best version of you is very empowering as you encounter lean fit body negativity or not fit enough body negativity along your body improvement journey. Remember that the only person who's standards of beauty fitness and health matter are your own.
You don't need to justify why you want to look a certain way to anybody but yourself :) If you enjoy being lean and fit do what you need to do to have that. If you enjoy being big flabby and totally out of shape then you are free to be that too and to be happy being that. There is no right or wrong way to look only right or wrong intention.