As a weight-loss coach, the challenge my clients most often face– and the one with the greatest potential for transformation – is acceptance. “How do I accept my body the way it is when I just can’t stand it?” I hear them ask. And I understand their frustration and fear – I used to think that way as well. Weight-loss is still habitually thought of in terms of the diet and exercise model and with that approach, acceptance means defeat.

The traditional model dictates that your body’s shape and size is a result of your dietary and exercise habits. To change your body, you must take some form of action with diet and/or exercise. There is no room for acceptance. Acceptance is “non-action” and without taking action, according to this model, you stay stuck where you are. At best, acceptance in the conventional diet and exercise approach means to “come to terms” with the “reality of your situation” so that you can then take action to change it.

But acceptance does not mean giving up wanting what you want and surrendering to defeat. Acceptance means giving up the pain around not having what you want in this particular moment. And when you understand this, the thought of self-acceptance – of accepting your body just the way it is – is a lot less scary.

Furthermore, when viewed through the lens of the Alignment model of Happy Calories Don’t Count, acceptance is actually one of the most powerful actions you can take! With the Happy Calories Don’t Count approach, weight-loss is a natural by-product of harmonizing your thoughts, feelings, beliefs and actions in a congruent and consistent manner. Visually speaking, it’s as if each of these aspects of Self are pictured as rings through which energy can flow. When the “rings” of thoughts, feelings, beliefs and actions are aligned, energy can flow through the system that is the totality of You freely, effectively and powerfully.

But self-judgment, blame, punishment or any other self-defeating thought, feeling, belief or action simply misaligns the “system” of Self. The “rings” get knocked out of place or they get crusted over and clogged. Energy (and calories are simply a measurement of energy) can’t flow through the system to create the change you want to create.

From this perspective, acceptance is the most powerful action you can take. You surrender your pain. And in so doing, you align the totality of who you are into an efficient and effective system. When energy flows freely and powerfully, the results you seek come far more quickly and easily than you ever could have imagined.