For some reason this weekend, I was having a tough time with my body. Every piece of clothing I put on felt awkward, I didn’t like the way I looked, and I felt like everyone was just staring at all of my flaws. It was not a very fun weekend to say the least.
As much as I would love to always be proud of my body and never struggle with these insecurities, I know that I will probably always have to work on body image. When I was younger, I would let these negative thoughts consume me. I literally thought that my body was ugly and all the problems I saw in the mirror were the only things that other people could see. These thoughts would rule my day, my mood, and how I viewed my worth. They dictated what I would say and think, whether I would speak up in class or if I would volunteer for something where people had to look at me. It was rough and I never thought much of myself. I just wanted to fade in the background and for the most part, I did.
With a lot of time and work, I have pushed past that younger version of myself. No one gets to determine my worth based on my looks, not even myself. I understand so much more about my body and know that just because I see something in the mirror doesn’t mean it’s true in real life.
But there are still days when the struggle is real. Days when I want to go back to hiding in my shell. Days when no matter what, the reflection I see does not match what is actually there. I’m sure every once in awhile, you have those days too. Days when you doubt whether you are beautiful, capable, or even worthy. What you do on those days can make you stronger or keep tearing you down. So here are five things I do when I struggle with bad body image. Hopefully, these can help you or give you some motivation to find ways to move past the lies you might be telling yourself about your own body.
Most often, the reason I have a “bad body” day is that I feel like I have gained a ridiculous amount of weight. The logical part of my brain knows this isn’t true. There is no way that one meal can make you gain 10 pounds and you don’t wake up one day suddenly overweight. But the logical part of my brain doesn’t always rule my day. While I might feel overweight and insecure, I tell myself that it is a lie. What I see in the mirror isn’t true. My habits are overall healthy and I won’t suddenly just backslide. I might not believe this at first, but actually physically telling myself that it is a lie helps to get me back on track.
This might sound weird, but trying something new really helps me get out of my funk. Usually, I try a new yoga pose that I haven’t been able to do before or an exercise that I struggle with. By doing something new, I get my mind off the woe is me/I’m ugly mentality. Many times I end up surprising myself by doing something that I didn’t think I could do. Even if I can’t get into a new pose or still struggle with that tough exercise, the fact that I tried and tried to improve myself helps me feel more confident with my body.
I have come a long way from Jr. high/high school Katie. Looking back at that time, I realize that I am a completely different and better person. On the days when it feels like I am right back where I started, just taking out pictures from that time proves me completely wrong. I know I have done a lot of work to get to this point and reminding myself of that helps me see how strong and capable I have become.
I am a private person and I tend to keep things bottled up inside. I let my negative thoughts eat away at me and they never fail to bring me down. While it’s still hard for me to open up and share, talking about it helps let that negativity out. Sharing things with someone you trust gets things off your chest and shows you that some of those things just aren’t true. Even writing this post helps me push past my doubt and uncertainty and stops negative talk in it’s tracks.
I won’t let my negative thoughts persist anymore. They might have ruled my life before, but I refuse to let that happen again. I know that this bad day is one day and it will pass. There will be good days again, days where I see how strong I am, how capable I have become, and how beautiful I truly am. I can’t dwell on these insecure thoughts or else they will take over. I acknowledge that I have had a bad day and now it is over and I will do my best to move on. It isn’t always easy, but I know I can do it.
Next time you are faced with body image issues, try a few of these things. Or find something that works for you. The most important advice I can give you is to not let these issues consume you. Don’t let them take over. You are better and stronger than they are and you can and will get to a place where you see your beauty and worth!