Since recovering from an eating disorder, most days I can wake up feeling very positive about myself and am ready to tackle the day; however, there are those days where I wake up and the little voice in my head that previously controlled my life comes back to haunt me. The voice tries to tell me I need to restrict my food intake in an effort to look a certain way. During the peak of my eating disorder this voice won every time, and diet culture would once again slip back into my life. But today? Not a chance! I don’t think I would be human if I said I never had negative body image days, but I now know how to better handle them.
Here are my top 10 ways to combat negative body image; I hope they can help you too!
1. Take a whiteboard marker to your mirror. Write down things you love about yourself, your favorite quotes, doodle, anything that inspires you! You will wake up each day to a mirror with nothing but positive vibes that leaves you ready to conquer the day.
2. Do some yoga. No need to go to a studio; you can simply roll out your mat in a comforting place inside your home, put on some music, and flow with what feels good. Inversions like downward dog and headstand are particularly helpful to release endorphins: those happy, mood-boosting brain chemicals!
3. Put on some sweatpants and watch your favorite movie.
4. Journal how you are feeling, taking note of what could have triggered the negative body image. Sometimes putting pen to paper can help clarify how you are feeling. Before you close your journal, make sure to write something you absolutely love about yourself so all
the negative feelings you wrote down are suppressed with something positive!
5. Make a self care box. Grab an old shoe box or tote and fill it with all your favorite self care items. Some ideas include: facial and hair masks, nail polish, favorite magazine or book, bath bombs, your favorite recipe to make.
6. Listen to a podcast. (My favorite body positivity ones are Nut Butter Radio and Don’t Salt My Game!)
7. Make a list of the negative thoughts you have about yourself and your body. Once you write them all down, go back and write a positive response to each.
For example: If I wrote down “My legs look fat” I would write a response saying “Your legs allow you to go for a run, do yoga, and walk to all your favorite places.” Focusing on what our body does for us instead of just looking at it from a physical point of view can help develop that healthy relationship with our bodies! Keep this list tucked away so you can come back to it whenever you feel you need it.
8. Call a family member or friend. Sometimes talking to someone else can help distract from those negative thoughts and serve as a reminder for all the amazing people and relationships we have in life.
9. Get outside and go for a walk. The vitamin D is guaranteed to boost your mood!
10. Get that project done that you’ve been procrastinating. Organizing your closet, cleaning out the pantry, laundry, decorating, etc. Being productive can boost your confidence and feeling of self-sufficiency.
I hope a few of these resonate and stand out to you so you can be better equipped for when those hard days roll around. We are so much more than our appearance, and it’s time the little monster in our head knows it too!