If you’re having a bad body image day, these are some reminders that you need to hear:
You will not hate yourself into loving yourself and your fear of gaining weight isn’t keeping you thin.
I used to think that beating myself up, judging myself, and shaming myself was the way to motivate myself into taking action, being better with food, working out, and staying disciplined. I allowed that negative inner critic to be the loudest voice in my head. What actually happened was that negative inner voice created so much anxiety, fear, overwhelm, and exhaustion. It would lead me into states of nervous system dysregulation where I wanted to just disassociate and numb out with food. Or it would get me into such a state of over-activation that I had intrusive thoughts and was dealing with catastrophic thinking and fears around my body. The anxiety was sometimes so crippling, all I could think about were the things on my body that I didn’t like. It was all consuming.
When we’re struggling with negative body image, it’s often because we might still be clinging to an image of ourselves, a dream body or a thin ideal, or a version of ourselves that we once were. We’re unwilling to be present in the moment of who we are right now or where our body is at right now.
Reminders for a bad body image day
- When your goal is a positive body image, this can create disappointment because it keeps you on the self-objectification loop. Instead, if you can shift the starting goal into having a neutral body image, it can be super liberating. This allows you to see yourself as more than a body.
- Something that often helped was getting distracted and having a good time. Go and do things that take your mind off of your body instead of isolating yourself. This challenges the feeling that you have to look a certain way before you can go out and have a good time, go out to dinner, go have drinks, or go do things with friends.
- Avoid the isolation and put yourself out there. It’s important to not let a negative body image keep us from connection, from experiences, and from accepting opportunities.
- Start practicing being with the body that you have now. Remember, you do not have to like the way your body looks right now in order to practice taking care of it and treat it with respect. Respect means we don’t allow that inner critic to speak poorly to us. We don’t allow that harsh inner voice to continue to just chatter. We have to interrupt that, replace it with reminders that we are so much more than our body, and shift our focus on to who we are beyond our body.
- Your energy is what introduces you before your appearance. When you walk in a room the very first thing somebody notices about you is your energy. They feel that, we all feel that. It’s like a sixth sense. There’s an energy behind “I’m choosing to believe in myself. I’m choosing to practice self care. I’m choosing to practice self respect. I’m choosing to bet on me.” That energy is also felt.
- What’s so cool about confidence and self-esteem is it’s not something that just shows up one day because you hit your goal weight. Rather, it’s just a set of practices.
- When you’re struggling in another area of life, it may lead to body image struggles as a desire to try and find control. Focus on the little actions – tiny, tiny, tiny actions – you are willing to engage in today to feel better.
- Some questions I would ask myself in the moments where I was feeling a lot of insecurity:
- What do you want to be remembered for? How do you want to make other people feel? Do you want to be remembered as the girl who always looked a certain way? Or do you want to be remembered as the girl that made other people feel loved, welcomed, supported, seen, and important?
- What would I do if I loved my body and I was confident in who I was?
- If this was your last year on earth, how would you live it?
- What daily practices help you feel:
- at peace in your body?
- Which daily practices don’t?
Start prioritizing the practices that give you confidence, a sense of peace, safety, or mindfulness. Start to be conscious of when you’re engaging in those little activities that are actually having a really big, negative impact.
Remember that change, building confidence and self-esteem – especially if you’ve been in a loop of negative self-talk and negative body image – it’s just a matter of time. But it requires you to take action and to practice building confidence. It’s not something that we just wake up to one day. And it’s also not something that’s found on the other side of an extreme body transformation.
The life that you want to live is created today. It’s not this fantasy life that’s far off in the future. The life you want to live is created by the actions you take today. And these reminders are here for you any day that you need them!