I heard this quote a while back and it really struck a chord with me:
Can you love the part of you that hates your body? – Samantha Skelly
We are constantly bombarded with the concept of loving your body, but what if that’s something you struggle with? Actually, the majority of women struggle with this concept because we live in a world where a certain body type is considered beautiful and anyone else is less than.
Whether you struggle every day or most days you feel pretty good about yourself, we all have those moments. We see a photo of us that’s unflattering, our jeans are too tight, or we catch a bad angle in the mirror. I actually had some friends back in college saying they avoided looking at their bodies in the mirror because they just didn’t want to see themselves. Does that make you sad? Because it makes me sad!
We all have those moments, but how do we get past them?
Stop thinking and take a deep breath.
Now take another.
Calming your heart rate is essential because that’s what sends you into a panic. Know that the thoughts running through your head probably aren’t true. The way your body looks probably won’t keep you from doing anything you want to do in your life, as long as you don’t let your thoughts and fears hold you back.
Find something else to do to channel that energy.
Go for a run.
Do a boxing or HIIT workout.
Read your bible.
Walk around the block.
Choose something to the negative energy out that’s good for you. It’s so easy to turn to a familiar but unhealthy coping mechanism to make yourself feel better in the moment, like binge eating or drinking, because it will only make you feel worse in the end.
Once you’ve calmed down, pull out your rational mind. Your body does not define you. People don’t love you because of your body, they love you for you. When you think about women you admire, do you think about their bodies? Probably not.
You’re okay. You’re going to be okay. In fact, you’re pretty awesome.
Breathe through those moments until they pass, because if you’re focusing on accepting, liking and loving yourself then you will feel better when you let your rational brain take back over from those negative thoughts.
Now that you’ve figured out how to breathe through those moments, let’s work on experiencing them less and less.
First of all, it’s important to know that they probably won’t ever go away. Unless you truly love every inch of your body (Samantha from Sex and The City comes to mind 😉 ), you’re going to have those moments every once in a while. The key is to learn how to move through them, rather than trying to make them never happen, which only ends up in you feeling bad that you can’t love yourself the way you are. No one needs that shame! Understand that you’re human, you’re going to be affected by what you see and hear and you can’t get rid of years of conditioning in just a few months.
Jumping from hating or disliking how your body looks to loving how your body looks is a big leap and can become too overwhelming or feel impossible. Start with accepting your body. That’s all – just accept that this is how you look and know that we were all made differently. This might not change how you feel but just focus on acceptance.
Important interjection: Yes, you can want to change your body through nutrition and exercise, but you should still learn to accept and like yourself as you are now or you’ll never love yourself at another size. It’s all about being confident in who you are!
Once you’ve mastered accepting your body, move on to liking your body. Think about all the things you love about yourself. Think about how you have a healthy body that has done so much for you. Think about those moments where you felt amazing and just sit in those emotions and positive thoughts about yourself.
Even when you love your body, you’ll still have those moments. Those moments of seeing yourself in a negative light and feeling panicked that you have to change or you won’t be accepted. When that moment happens, stop and breathe. Use your tools. Journal out your feelings, breathe, do some yoga, go on a walk. In a difficult moment, these might be the last things you want to do but do them anyway. Anything is better than panicking and using a negative coping mechanism.
Sooner or later, you’re going to have more positive moments than negative ones. Those moments when you’re feeling amazing, dancing with your friends or catching yourself in the mirror and thinking, “you are totes adorbs today.” Okay, maybe you don’t use those words, but you get me, right?
Remember, start with acceptance and most importantly,
give yourself some grace.
You’re doing just fine.
How do you deal with negative body image moments?
What’s your best tip for calming down in moments of panic?