I think a huge amount of the issues women have with self-hatred and lack of self-acceptance come from some sort of deepseated idea that we derive much of our worth and our identity from our appearance. You can appreciate your body for what it does in training all you want, but until you learn to not think of your worth as remotely determined by how you look, you will not be fully able to appreciate yourself.
I went on a pretty crazy rant about this the other night. In advertisements leading up to the Ronda Rousey-Liz Carmouche UFC fight, Rousey was constantly promoted with the ridiculous rhetoric “she’s badass and beautiful” and similar. I sat there railing that “she’s a FIGHTER. I do not CARE what she looks like and it pisses me off that she’s being promoted for this FIGHT using her LOOKS. Does no one else see the incongruence here? No? Apparently not.”
You do things and you are proud of them and build a sense of self from this process. You have a body and you exist in a society in which people feel the freedom to assign far greater a meaning to its proportions, composition, and shape than its existence as a pile of marrow and muscle and fat really warrants. Embrace your body, yes, but think about how you are embracing it. The more you think about your body using the judgmental language–good or bad–used by the masses, the more you stay situated in the trap you seek to escape.
I admit that I get fatigued by the onslaught of images of the body pervasive even in women’s strength sports territory (to say nothing of physique competitors, which I’m going to go ahead and put in a separate category from the former in the context of my argument). I am very small and one group of individuals would probably laud my proportions while another would look at me as sub-par. I sometimes feel marginalized as a lifter because I am a rather spare, lengthily proportioned individual. And then I remember that I don’t have to accept ANYONE’S rhetoric regarding my physique and what it means or doesn’t mean. And I remember that cultural responses to my body have absolutely, utterly no bearing on how I perform in the gym. How I perform in the gym is my ultimate concern. How I perform in the gym is a far better illustration of my character than how my body is formed.