As an Eating Disorder therapist in Sherman, TX and a Body Image, Self-Esteem, and Recovery Coach I work with a lot of people to improve their body image.
Body image is impacted by a lot of different factors.
- Our relationships
- Our own internal expectations
- Our beliefs about ourselves
- Social and cultural beauty standards
- Negative emotions
- Bad stuff you have experienced
I talk about self-love and body love a lot. I want to say this doesn’t mean you think you are perfect and gods gift. Rather when you love yourself you are better able to accept your flaws. I do not work with my clients to see their perfections and to only focus on their strengths. In order to help heal body image I work with clients to learn to accept their strengths and their flaws.
Here are 6 things you can do to start working on your body image today.
Evaluate your relationships. We all care what other people think of us. This is not a bad thing. In fact, it is human nature to want to be accepted and to feel like we belong. However I see a lot of people put up with hurtful treatment in relationships in hopes to be eventually accepted. I want to ask you to look at all your relationships and see if there are ones that cause you to feel bad about yourself. How can you spend more time with people that make you feel loved, appreciated, and important? Don’t have anyone? That is also OK. Here are some suggestions to improve positive support:
- Join a group where you can be creative and be surrounded by like-minded people
- Join some Facebook groups – there are some excellent Facebook groups that are super supportive and encouraging. For example:
- Break The Rules: Body Positive and Anti-Diet community with Summer Innanen
- Health At Every Size (HAES)
- Body Positive For Women
- Life. Unrestricted.
- Reach out to an old supportive friend and ask them to join you for coffee to catch up
- Practice self-compassion. You are not perfect. I am not perfect. No one is perfect. You are going to make mistakes and that is OK. Forgive yourself and see how you can learn from your mistakes. I want to ask you to speak to yourself the way you would speak to a friend. If your friend was struggling in the way that you struggle, what would you say to them? Speak to yourself in this same way.
- Practice Body Gratitude. Practice thanking your body for all the ways it has helped you today. Consider all the things your body allowed you to do and how your body made things possible. Do something good for your body today. This means practicing joyful movement (not vigorous exercise), resting your body if you are tired or sore, eating foods that you enjoy, listening to your body and eating what your body needs to feel energized and nourished, or practice guided meditation. Here is one to try.
Throw away your scale. Your weight is not an indication of your worth or value. Your weight tells nothing of your skills, strengths, talents, or hopes and dreams. Rather than weighing yourself today practice a body gratitude behavior like:
- Take a bath
- Guided meditation
- Accept your emotions. It is OK to feel all your emotions. You are human and all the emotions you are experiencing are part of the human experience. Sure they suck and are uncomfortable, but having negative emotions does not make you a weak, vulnerable, or “crazy” person. Learn to accept your emotions by practicing some the body gratitude behaviors I mention above.
Seek support and help. It is really hard to ask for help. There is a voice in your head giving you a lot of reasons you cannot ask for help, but that voice is a liar. There are some really great people out there that want to help you. It is OK to be scared to ask for help but just reaching out is the biggest and bravest step you can take.
- If you live in Texas and want some counseling support feel free to contact TSC and see how we can help you.
- If you live outside of Texas and want a therapist, let me know and I can help you find someone to support you.
- If you are working with a therapist but want extra support to heal your self-esteem, body image, or eating disorder I offer online recovery coaching.
Self-love is a journey that requires daily effort. There will be days when you have little energy to put toward this journey and that is OK. You can start to love yourself at any time when you are ready.