Bad body image days. I don’t care who you are. I don’t care if you’re Beyoncé.
(… Actually, Beyoncé, if you’re reading this, OMG HI!!!!)
WE ALL HAVE THEM!
You try on an old pair of jeans and they don’t fit. You see an unflattering photo of yourself. Your skinny friend complains about how fat she is.
For better or for worse, they’re a normal part of being alive in today’s image-centric culture. But most of us don’t see them that way. Many of us take a bad body image day and turn to serious self-loathing, negative self-talk, and self-sabotaging habits.
Cut. It. Out.
Here’s what to do when you’re having a bad body image day. (Not if… When.)
Know when they’re coming
Suer, sometimes they’ll come out of nowhere, but there are also predictable patterns to some of these bad body image days. For example, when you’re feeling bloated and heavy pre-period or after a few days of vacation eating.
Don’t let these feelings blind side you. Take back your emotional power by knowing that they’re coming and letting it roll off your back.
Ask yourself, “Could this be about anything else?”
Most of our readers, followers, and clients have been dieting for years, if not decades, due to poor body image. If this is the case for you, feeling uncomfortable in your body may be your comfort zone. You’re used to placing blame on your body.
Because this pattern is so familiar and worn, you may be using your body as the easy scapegoat for all of your life’s woes… Woes that you may not want to confront.
Feeling unfulfilled by your well-paying job? Blame that dissatisfaction on your body.
No longer in love with your boyfriend of 3 years? Seems easier to hate your stomach.
The truth is, you may be way less unhappy with your body than you’re letting yourself realize. And by using your body as a punching bag, you’re avoiding the real transformative work that’ll bring you the happiness you’re after.
Treat them like a bad hair day
Bad hair days, like bad body image days, are part of life. Bad hair days also happen pretty predictably. For example, I know that if I exercise 2-3 times without washing my hair… It’s going to be a situation.
But I don’t call my hair stylist and demand an emergency haircut every time this happens. I don’t shave my head or dye my hair. No, I predict it, tie my hair in some pigtail braids, pop a baseball cap on and move on.
So whether you’re having a “predictable” bad body image day or if it hit you out of nowhere, one thing is true: It doesn’t have to change the way you take care of yourself.
Focus on “one good thing”
An emotion that often accompanies a bad body image day is overwhelm.
For whatever reason, you’re feeling bad about your body. So you immediately start problem solving:
“I’ll do a Whole30 reset.”
“Aaand just signed up for 5 spin classes this week.”
“How about intermittent fasting? I keep reading all about it.”
WOMAN! CALM DOWN!
You know that’s not going to last. Take a beat and focus on one good thing you can do for yourself today.
- Go to the grocery store
- Eat a veggie-heavy meal that fills you up and makes you feel good
- Go on a long walk while listening to a podcast
You don’t have to do everything at once.
Don’t shave your head just because you’re having a bad body image day.