I work with many clients who struggle with eating disorders (binge eating disorder, bulimia, anorexia), disordered eating, emotional eating, chronic dieting or body image concern. Across the board, as people begin to move towards recovery, I’ll often hear comments tainted in the shame that one SHOULD love or like their bodies and yet one can’t imagine ever having those feelings. Loving your body is a beautiful thing, and thankfully it’s NOT a requirement to begin to make peace with your body (or with food).
Often when we really struggle with body image and our minds are consumed with negative, self-critical thoughts- it’s really hard to switch to the positive. In these cases, I’ve found it can be helpful to begin with acknowledging the reality (name what happened, where you are in this moment), how you feel (name emotions)...then can you offer self-compassion (words of comfort, understanding to yourself)? Once you’re doing this- maybe try creating a neutral statement or a very small baby step.
Here’s an example:
Acknowledgment: “My jeans felt tighter this morning and I started to criticize my body. It’s been a hard morning. I want my body to be a different size (or different shape/ feel different/ have different abilities).”
Emotions: “I feel sad and frustrated.”
Self-Compassion: “It’s okay to be not love or even like my body today, this is just where I am today, and it’s okay to feel my feelings. The media & society can make it really hard to accept my body. It’s going to take time.”
Neutral statement: “Those jeans don’t fit my body today. Jeans don’t determine the worth of my body.”
Small baby step: “I’m going change into another pair of pants that feel more comfortable.”
I’m curious- what have you found works for YOU when you have a hard day with body image?
Know you are NOT alone! This is tough work to do. If you need support, reach out.
May you be gentle and kind with yourself today.