The vast majority of us all have days when we struggle with our body image. However, to those suffering with an Eating Disorder these days can seem unbearable and incredibly difficult to cope with. They can massively impact our behavior and social interactions. I cannot count the number of times I have refused to go out because I knew simply getting dressed would be a totally traumatizing experience. So how to cope with these horrendous days? Well, I have eight things to remember for when I am struggling with my body image.
- You are so much more than that number on the scale. It does NOT determine your worth as a human being. It is just a number, nothing more, nothing less. The scale cannot tell you how loved, valued or special you are.
- Fat is not a feeling. One cannot feel fat, just as one cannot feel orange. It is simply not possible. It is much more likely that you are feeling something deeper, such as insecurity or depression and it is these feelings that need to be examined and dealt with.
- Treat yourself as you would treat others. I was once told by a nurse that if I spoke to my friends in the same way I speak to myself, I would have no friends left. And she is right. You wouldn’t judge a friend on their size, weight or shape, so why would you judge yourself? Treat yourself with the same compassion you show others and it will make a world of difference to how you feel about yourself.
- Don’t focus on what you cannot change. Focus on what you can. Think about the reasons behind your negative thoughts and the impact they have on your feelings towards your body. Your body is wonderful. And when it is healthy it allows you to do so much. It fights hard to keep you going and it deserves to be treated with respect.
- Fight the negative voice in your head. The negative thoughts are just that, thoughts. You can fight them. You can challenge them. And you can recognise them for what they are and choose to dismiss them.
- You are not alone. No matter how much it feels like it. You are not the only person who struggles with accepting their body. And in a world of diet culture and where thin is in; body dissatisfaction amongst woman AND men is at an all time high. It may surprise you how even the people who seem the most confident, will still have days when they struggle with their body image.
- Look after yourself. However hard it feels, self-care is so important. I never used to shower on days when my body image was particularly bad. I couldn’t even get dressed. But I soon learnt that taking care of myself on my bad days actually made me feel better as I was taking control and not letting my negative thoughts win.
- You are unique. You are worthy. You are beautiful. And life is far too short to be caught up with worrying about the size and shape of your body. There is a lot more to you than that.