Navigating Bad Body Days
Let's face it, most of us have experienced a bad body day before. A day where nothing in the world can make us feel good about the skin we're in. Unfortunately, a lot of things in the world contribute to the way we think. Advertisements on Facebook for swimsuits, diet programs, diet supplements, and weight loss challenges, food labels at the grocery store marketed for Guilt-free eating.
We don't realize at face value how much these things impact the way we feel about ourselves until we have one of those days.
You know, the days where you rip your closet apart looking for an outfit that fits your body comfortably only to be let down or disappointed if something feels out of place. The days where you dread stepping on the scale because whatever number appears will literally determine your self-worth and mood for the rest of the day. Or the days you feel like food is the enemy and something has to be wrong with you because you have been eating clean, drinking water, and moving your body more than ever, and the scale won't budge.
Few people understand the self-loathing, the disappointment, and the feelings of unworthiness that we carry with us throughout our lives tied to the size of our body.
Bad body days are going to happen, unfortunately. It's a perfectly normal experience to - at some point - feel like your body has let you down. Even throughout a wellness journey of cultivating self-compassion and acceptance, we will always have those days where it just feels hard. The key to Bad Body Days begins with the understanding they will happen and to build a repertoire of resources that will help you stay grounded and not fall into the diet culture guilt/diet/binge/shame cycle we know and hate so much.
The last thing that benefits Bad Body Days is dieting.
Like gas to a flame, dieting begins the vicious cycle all over again, making each unsuccessful diet feel like a failure within your body.
The truth is: you didn't fail the diet. The diet failed you. The empty promise of success if you follow the rules as spoken like gospel. When weigh-ins don't reflect weight loss, you're chastised for somehow not doing it correctly when you have spent countless hours meticulously measuring, counting, and obsessing over every crumb you put in your mouth. What a feeling it is to have the leaders of the diet world look at you and passively call you a liar when you don’t hit your weight loss goals or rebound after the diet is over.
This rabbit hole is a post for another day, but I invite you to take away that your health and wellness journey doesn't have to be strict rules and regulations, nor does our body weight determine our health status.
Back to Bad Body Days, there are numerous fantastic resources available to support our journey without leading to self-destructive tendencies. One resource I would like to share with you is the Bad Body Day toolkit from Be Nourished. They get it and are helping by sharing tips and tricks to overcome those days. I invite you to check out their page for more details. A summary of tips they suggest include:
Going within with self-acceptance. We can wake up feeling completely different about our bodies than the night before. What changed? Our bodies didn't change that quickly. Is it stress? Is it time for a cycle? Is it a comment someone made? Be an investigator to explore the emotions and thoughts that may be triggering.
'"Fat" is not a feeling... Get curious about what feelings are coming up." - BeNourished.org
Understand this feeling is temporary. This, too, shall pass, or something like that -right? We don't want to take drastic measures like we talked about above, putting us right back into fad diets and using exercise to punish our bodies for not complying. We want to step away from this cycle with confidence in ourselves.
Find a mantra or affirmation to hold onto when these days occur. I love this one, personally. I like to say, "Even a masterpiece can be a work in progress." This statement affirms that I am perfect the way I am, but at the same time identifies these uncomfortable feelings are normal and will soon pass without inflicting any more damage. The beauty of this step is you can choose what mantra resonates with you.
I invite you to speak kind words to yourself, especially on days that it feels hard.
Understand that even though bad body days pop up, it does not mean you are not doing the work in cultivating self-compassion and body trust. There is so much stigma in the world around body image, and it is something we have lived with our entire lives. Thoroughly deconstructing old mindsets and behavior patterns is hard work. We are human. We have triggers. We are healing traumas. Expect that healing is not linear to time. Some days will be better than others.
I hope that a few of these tips help you on your Bad Body Days. Again, I invite you to check out the complete Bad Body Days Toolkit from Be Nourished and bookmark their page as you begin to build your resources to help you overcome those challenging days. Stay strong, find a community of like-minded individuals for support, seek additional care, whether it be body image counseling from someone that gets it or a health coach or nutritionist that supports you on your journey.
Until next time, healthy blessings.