“I hate my body.”
“My arms are so big.”
“I hate my thighs.”
“I wish my stomach was flatter.”
“I can’t wear that because of my body shape.”
How we talk to ourselves is crucial. If you are having these types of thoughts often, you know how draining it can be. It affects your emotions, your behavior, and your quality of life.
If you have ever had these or similar thoughts, read on to learn some ways to turn that dialog around and start improving your relationship with your body.
Bad Body Image Days
Being a human is wonderful, but also hard. Body image issues don’t just appear out of nowhere. It is not your fault. We are bombarded by unrealistic beauty standards constantly. It is understandable to have some bad body image days, and it’s safe to say most people experience this. At times, it feels harder to accept your body. Then you might pass through that tougher time and return to having more good body image days.
For some people though, the bad body image days stretch for a long time, and they deepen in intensity. Working with a mental health professional and/or dietitian who specializes in things like Health at Every Size and the food-body relationship is key here. You deserve to feel better and you deserve support.
How to Move Away from Hating Your Body
1. Practice body acceptance.
It can be a big leap to go from hating your body to loving your body. Accepting your body however, may feel easier over time. Try looking at yourself in the mirror and saying things like:
- “I accept my body for what it is today.”
- “I am more than my body”
- “My body deserves respect”
I said practice for a reason. It is truly a practice. Something to return to over and over again.
2. Comparison is the thief of joy.
If you find yourself scrolling through social media and comparing your body to others, or maybe comparing your body to the bodies of your friends and family, that can be a slippery slope. Try to call this out in your mind when it happens. Bring awareness to the thoughts of comparison. Once you have brought awareness to it, this is a good time to practice body acceptance. And unsubscribe, unfollow from any accounts that are stealing your joy.
3. Thank your body for everything it does for you.
Practice gratitude for having a body that can breathe for you and keep your heart beating. Thank your body for having the strength to pick up your child or carry in groceries from the car. Show gratitude for the ability to go for a quick walk or do some stretches. Our bodies are absolutely amazing, and finding moments to cultivate gratitude for this can be a helpful habit.
4. Practice letting thoughts pass.
All too often, it can be easy to accept our thoughts as truth. However, we do not have to act on or believe every thought we have. An analogy that has resonated with many of my clients is to view your thoughts as clouds passing by. Instead of judging them or latching on to them, try to sit back and simply notice them, then let them pass on by. This is easier said than done, but it is something we can get better at with practice.
5. Do a