How to Survive a Bad Body Day

Have you ever started your day feeling one way about your body and ended it feeling completely differently—even though nothing about your body changed?

No matter how much work we put toward loving and accepting our bodies, some days it can still be downright challenging.

When you’re not digging the skin you’re in, it's tempting to go into fix-it mode.

The tendency is to pull the reins in tighter. It sounds something like “Carbs are out!” or “I will exercise for 90 minutes every day!” or “Sweets are off-limits!” or “No eating after 7 p.m.”

Instead of jumping into another plan that’s unsustainable, unenjoyable, ignores your body wisdom, and often leads to the vicious cycle of restrict-binge-repent-repeat, try the following strategies for surviving a bad body day.

Recognize that this feeling, like all feelings, will pass.
How you feel about your body can change from moment to moment, especially in the beginning of your body acceptance journey. The key is to not let these temporary feelings convince you that you need to urgently do something about your body and eating, which typically backfires.

Stay focused on self-care practices that are sustainable and pleasurable. 
Squash your negative feelings with body kindness, which includes daily self-care practices that are both sustainable and pleasurable.

This might be getting enough sleep, spending time in nature, engaging in joyful movement, relishing a nighttime cup of tea, wearing comfortable clothing, slathering your body with a luxurious lotion, or taking time for stillness.

Reflect on everything you appreciate about your body.
Perhaps you’re grateful for your strong legs that enable you to hike, your eyes that allow you to see so much beauty, your arms that enable you to hug your loved ones, or your heart for beating all on its own.

Look for the heaviness in your life.
Ask yourself: If I wasn’t obsessing about my body, what would I be thinking about? What’s going on in my life that’s causing me to feel this way about my body? What heavy emotion am I experiencing, independent of my body?

When you experience uncomfortable feelings, like anxiety, vulnerability, sadness or loneliness, it’s not unusual for your body to become a dumping ground for these heavy emotions.

Instead of dealing with the emotions, you may channel them toward your body and try to eliminate your emotional heaviness by focusing on changing your body.

Get support.
Reach out to someone—a therapist, coach, friend—who can help you unpack what you’re experiencing and assist you with building a toolkit for navigating future episodes of body negativity.

With patience and practice, over time you’ll discover your bad body days happen less frequently. When they do, you’ll no longer react to them with fear, panic and a fix-it mindset, but rather respond to them with compassion, curiosity and kindness.


What if Your Body was Your Friend?

I recently spent time with two old friends I deeply cherish. They are both caring, kind, compassionate and supportive.

They treat me with respect, affection and appreciation. They are curious about my needs and desires, and talk to me in a gentle, tender voice.

As I reflected on our friendship, I wondered what it would be like if we always treated our body like a dear friend.

For many of us, this is hard to imagine.

Most of us are at war with our body. It's our enemy.

We try to control it, manipulate it and whip it into shape. We deprive it, compare it, criticize it and flat-out ignore it.

We often treat it like crap. We take it for granted.

Yet—we expect A LOT in return.

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want a friend who treats me like this!

Being unfriendly to your body creates a state of divisiveness between you and your body that will never lead to the self-love and self-acceptance—and the peace, freedom, ease and happiness—you long for.

The good news is, you can start building a friendship with your body at any time.

and i said to my body. softly.

“i want to be your friend.”

it took a long breath. and replied

“i have been waiting my whole life for this.”

—Nayyirah Waheed

What friendly action can you take today to improve your relationship with your body? For ideas, go here, here and here.

7 Peace-Making Spring Cleaning Tips

With the arrival of spring, you may have the urge to do a little spring cleaning.

If one of your desires is to make peace with food and your body, here are seven spring cleaning tips that will help you on your journey.

  1. Toss out your dieting books. Beyond books on popular diet programs, like Paleo, Keto and Whole30, this includes any books on clean eating, detoxing, cleansing, eliminating, fasting, etc.
  2. Unsubscribe from magazines and newsletters and delete bookmarks for websites and blogs that feature weight-loss and dieting articles and promote the thin ideal.
  3. Unfollow, unlike or hide any social media pages and feeds that focus on the thin ideal, thinspiration, fitspiration, weight loss, diet culture, before-and-after stories, etc.
  4. Throw away your scale. It’s time to stop playing the numbers game and letting a piece of junk dictate how you feel about and treat yourself. It's time to take back your power.
  5. Remove any calorie/gram/point-counting apps from your phone and other devices.
  6. Donate your clothes that don’t fit well or make you feel fabulous.
  7. Ditch any weight-loss supplements, pills, powders and potions.

While these actions can feel a little daunting and scary at first, when my clients follow through with even just a few of them, they feel liberated, empowered and energized far more than they ever imagined. I bet the same will be true for you, too.