Sometimes I have bad body image days… yes I JUST SAID THAT!
Just in case you were wondering if I had it all figured out, let me share a few things that make me just as human as you.
To me, body image is not just how we feel when we look in the mirror. It’s how we feel about our bodies and the thoughts, memories, and emotions we have about our bodies. Sometimes the stars align and we have great body image days. And sometimes things just do not work out and we feel bad and can end up blaming our bodies.
I tell you this because it’s false information that you have to love your body all the time. You have permission to feel whatever you feel and know that you have support here from me for whatever comes up. Because if you think you have to go around loving every part of you all the time, that’s just not very realistic.
You have permission to feel bad sometimes, because life is not all rainbows and butterflies and perfection all the time.
But here is the most important idea in this radical mindshift.
You have permission to feel bad about your body but you MUST recognize that it’s coming from somewhere.
The thoughts and emotions that you feel about your body may mean there is some work to be done about something else in your life.
It can start with body image, but it’s almost always an invitation to dig a little deeper.
How are your relationships? Connections with others? Food? Movement? Self-care? Stress and chaos? Do you have appropriate clothing to wear on your body? Are you giving yourself self-compassion?
Or are you living in a body that is not “acceptable” in our society? This can definitely hurt your body image when the world tells you that your body is “wrong”. Please know this is not your fault, but the fault of society.
I believe that the sooner we can all realistically say that we have bad body image days, the sooner we can all figure out what is really going on.
My number 1 tip for anyone struggling with body image is to ask yourself:
“How would I treat my friend?”
“What do they deserve?”
If they live in a world where their body is not culturally “acceptable”, how would you want them to react?
I bet the answers are clear: nourishing food, movement that feels joyful, social connection, clothes that fit, fun and self-care. Now think about how you can begin to sprinkle some of that in to your own life.
In my practice as a Registered Dietitian who specializes in eating disorders, I am all about helping you figure out what to do that will create positive and lasting changes in your life. But you have to embrace that bad with the good in order for us to do that work together.
Oh and you should know now that no matter how body positive you are, these moments will happen. We are all human and therefore will have bad body image days. So make sure to surround yourself with people who will build you up when you’re feeling down.
PS. If you’re interested in body image work, local Nyack therapist Robin Wallace and I are hosting The Body Project, a free 4-week educational group for teens and college-age kids. Yes, it’s FREE! The group will be held for 4 weeks on Wednesday afternoons in May and June and we do ask that you attend all 4 weeks. If you’re interested email me back and I’ll give you more details!
P.S.S. This blog post about 3 ways to improve body image is one of my favorites! Let’s spread some body respect 🙂
Jennifer is a Registered Dietitian and the owner of Eat With Knowledge in Nyack, NY. She is on a mission to help people heal from diets, and find peace and balance with their food choices. She leads a team of dietitians who support the philosophy, “Feel Fabulous about Food!”