Coming out of National Eating Disorder week I wanted to follow up with some actual tactics for battling a negative body image. In most cases this negativity about the body we live in is what spirals us into an actual eating disorder. As someone who dealt with a negative body image, and an eating disorder that followed, I feel it’s my responsibility to share how I was able to pull myself out of it for anyone who may need. This is an experience that is so real, and so not worth the mental and physical anguish it brings. I want to help anyone who is suffering from disordered eating, or negative body image as best I can!
Below are 5 steps you can start implementing to battle that negativity you are feeling toward your body.
I know this is one I ALWAYS mention, but it really works! You definitely have to figure out what works best for you as far as what you choose to focus your writing on for it to help though. I have always gone in the direction of gratitude, and my daily feelings.
For example, I would write about how I felt in the morning just after waking up. This gave me the ability to figure out my emotions before I made it to the mirror to make a judgement on myself. From there I would list out things that are more important in my life than what I weighed, or that extra pudge I thought I had. I would finish out the day with one good thing that happened to me. All of this was to put my whole life into perspective, and see myself for more than just an imperfect body.
I’m not gonna lie, this seemed silly to me at first. So if you feel the same, I understand, but hear me out! If you create a mantra that has a positive message, and you repeat it to yourself first thing in the morning, you are starting your whole day off positively. I always found that a negative head space would easily set me off down a path of negative body image. So the mantra would combat that because it would be the first thing I would think in the morning. And the thing about the mantra is, if you are consistent and repeat this to yourself in times of need, over time you will start to believe it and it will honestly change your attitude. So try something like “My body does not determine my worth.”, or “I am beautiful regardless of my weight.”
Avoiding the Mirror
Self explanatory! If you are someone who checks their body when walking past a mirror, or a window, STOP. It will not be easy at first, I still do it more than I’d like to admit. But if you know that seeing your body can be a trigger, don’t look at it. Force yourself to keep looking forward. Change your behavior of “checking” you body first thing in the morning, to doing something else first. Get out of that habit of constantly looking to see what your body looks like.
Unfollow Trigger Accounts
I would like to say that the best thing to do, is to first take a social media break. Whether that’s a day, or a couple weeks, this REALLY helps. However I do understand some people are not going to be willing. So my next suggestion is to unfollow any account that makes you compare your body to theirs. Any accounts that leave you feeling anxious, unmotivated, or in a negative headspace. There is no reason to further your disordered eating mentality by visiting a platform that is meant to be fun! Simply unfollow!
Positive Self Talk
This is a big one! The things you tell yourself all day are going to play a huge factor in what you believe. If you are constantly telling yourself you aren’t good enough because of your weight, or how your body looks, you are going to believe it. However if you start talking to yourself in a forgiving manner, and say positive things about yourself, you will believe that instead! It’s going to take practice and time, but if you are consistent this is one of the biggest tools you have at combating your negative body image.
Examples of this include forgiving yourself when you’ve eaten a little too much dessert. Finding and reminding yourself of things about yourself you do like. Telling yourself how beautiful you look each day. Anything that’s going to life you up, versus bring you mental state down.
If you are consistent, and use these tactics in conjunction with each other, you will learn not to associate your self worth with your weight. These things will help put this fear you have into perspective, and make you feel stronger in who you are outside of the number on a scale. It will take time. I have a journal with a page for each day that spans an entire year. It takes WORK. You will have days where you won’t want to, or these things won’t make you feel better. Stick with it. It’s well worth the effort, and the time!
Until next time,