As I mentioned recently, lately I’ve have been having bad body image days more often than usual. I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite some time because it’s something I’ve struggled with the past nine or ten years of my life. I even have a post from last October sitting in my drafts talking about how my struggles with body image at the time.
I’ve mentioned my past with disordered eating and body dysmorphia before. I even shared a few tips about coming to terms with your own body in that last post, but I never really talked about what to do on a day to day basis.
So that’s what we’re doing today.
These are things you can do when you want to avoid every mirror and camera. On days where you can’t stop thinking about how much better someone looks compared to you. When all you can think about is how much your skirt is squeezing your waist or when all your clothes swallow you whole. This is what you do:
Tell yourself you’re pretty
First things first, you gotta start making a habit out of complimenting yourself.
Whether that be always saying, “I’m beautiful” when you look in a mirror or setting random reminders to go off on your phone with compliments, you gotta find a way to make kindness towards yourself more prominent in your life.
And when you’re having those moments where you start to tear something about yourself apart, stop. Stop and instead give yourself a compliment. Even if the compliment isn’t about your physical body. Because let’s be honest, having a good personality is much more rewarding anyway.
It takes awhile to remember to do this, but I’ve gotten to the point now where sometimes I won’t even be able to complete a self-insulting thought before I interrupt and say a compliment instead. Those are my favorite days.
Pay closer attention to what you’re eating
Personally, I find my bad body image days happen more often when I’m eating more processed foods or dairy (I’m lowkey lactose intolerant). So when I find myself feeling like I’m bloated or just gross, I try to stop reaching for those foods and instead turn towards good old plant-based foods.
This usually isn’t too hard for me since I’m a vegetarian, but if you’re not, I’d recommend always have a type of fruit, vegetable, or bean in your kitchen. Some of my favorite snacks or meals are smoothies, chickpeas, black bean burgers, and cucumber with peanut butter.
Other times though, I’m craving “junk” food on bad body image days. And I always give in to my cravings, because otherwise, I’m yelling about how I want strawberry ice cream every day for three weeks. On these days, I ask myself this, “Will I feel worse if I eat this?” If the answer is no, I’ll eat it. If the answer is yes, I won’t eat it. I’m trying to make my body image better, not worse.
Lately, the answer has almost always been no, because I know eating a bowl (or two) of ice cream won’t kill me. That’s always something to remember.
Use your body
Just stop thinking about what your body looks like and use it! Go for a walk, a run, a swim, a bike ride. Dance around your room, take a barre class, walk the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Get off your bed and do a couple squats or pushups or lunges or situps.
Once you realize all the amazing things your body can do for you, you’ll start to not have as many negative thoughts about it.
Related: How to Get Motivated to Hit the Gym
Find people who look like you
This is the thing I always forget to do or do accidentally. I’ll just be randomly scrolling through Aerie’s website, as I do about once or twice a week, and see a girl with stretch marks or rolls on her back or stomach or just something that people usually try to hide in photos and I get so happy. There’s nothing like seeing something “real” and unstaged and unretouched.
If you don’t want to accidentally spend $60 while following this tactic, you could also just browse the #AerieReal hashtag on Instagram. Then you’re seeing real girls, just like you, in real situations.
Sometimes I’ll also compare myself to a girl I think is gorgeous who has the same body type as me. I know we always say that comparison is bad, but it has its silver lining I promise.
For example, I’ve always thought I have a body type similar to Demi Lovato’s. Wider hips, athletic, and them thicc (yes with two c’s) thighs. And we all know Demi is drop dead gorgeous, right? So why can’t I be?
Find you someone you think is beautiful that has the same body type as you, and next time you start to hate on yourself, think about how you would never hate on that person. Instead, give yourself a compliment you would give them about a trait you share.
I hope this post was helpful for you reading this! I know body image can be hard to tackle and that it can take years to be 100% okay with who you are as a person, but I hope these tips will speed up the process.
To end this on a really happy note, I’m going to share a compliment about myself and I want you to leave a compliment to yourself in the comments!
My compliment: Your legs are gorgeous and perfect for running. What’s yours?