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.
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.