I don’t care how long anyone has been on their “self-love journey”, we all experience bad body image days from time to time. Those days you look in the mirror and pick apart all that’s wrong with your body. When I was on my weight gaining journey recovering from Hypothalamic amenorrhea, bad body image days were almost every day. Gaining weight is mind f**k, I was looking in the mirror and I didn’t recognize the person staring back at me. So, here are my top tips and tricks for those going through a weight gain phase and need a little extra self-loving to get through the hard parts.
What do you like?
Firstly, I would like you to get out a piece of paper and write down everything you like about yourself that has nothing to do with how you look. This could include:
- How kind and caring you to your family
- Your empathy
- Your ability to love deeply
Anything and everything you love about your soul. After all, the way you look is by far the least most interesting thing about you!
Got your list? Good, let’s get into my top ways to improve body image and see yourself in a new light!
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice and should not be taken as such. I am not a doctor and do not claim to be as these are solely based on my experiences. Please consult your family doctor before considering any recommendations listed in this post. Thanks!
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I have journaled since my eating disorder days and I will continue until the end of time. Journalling offers relief for your mind. You can get all the thoughts out of your brain and onto paper to make more space in your mind for more useful thoughts.
Journalling also allows you to see the rational of your unhelpful thoughts when having bad body image days. I know when I journal about how I don’t like my lower belly, I look at the words on the page and think…Why am I saying these hurtful things to myself?
A few of my favourite journals to write in when having bad body image:
- Self love journal
- mindful eating
- Binge eating workbook (for those struggling with overeating)
- plain old DIY entry journal
Using affirmations feels foreign at the start. If you are just starting out on accepting weight gain and accepting yourself as your are (even if its not where you want to be) then you will feel like they are lies. The trick to affirmations is to make them as believable as possible, then grow as you grow. Let me give you some examples:
My body was not put on earth to please others
The body is a vessel to my soul
I appreciate all my body does for me
Thank you body, for allowing me to move today
You do not have to jump right into “I love my self completely” when you don’t believe it in your gut. like that feeling you get when you say your name is Sarah if it’s not? You know you’re lying to yourself, right? Well, that is the feeling you do not want when making your affirmations. Make them believable!
In the wonderful world of the internet, there are TONS of resources for free guided meditations you can do at home! Apple podcasts and Spotify have specific meditations for those bad body image days that can get you into a better head space.
research has shown, and proves to show the benefits of meditation on the brain. Just check out this video from Harvard university!
Buy new cloths
What a great excuse to go shopping! Gaining weight not only feels uncomfortable in your skin, but also in your cloths. I find I have much less bad body image when I wear cloths that actually fit my beautiful body!
There is no point holding only to size 2 jeans you “think” you might need later on. Just do yourself a favour and get rid of them!
Talk to someone and have a support system
There are strength in numbers! When in a negative mindset about your body it is important to have loving people by your side. Tell someone how your are feeling in your skin when having a bad body image day. Like journaling, it will relive some tension in your mind and make the situation feel less intense. Lean on the people who love you:
NO BODY CHECKING
I will repeat that for the people in the back, NO BODY CHECKING! This will only lead you to feel worse about yourself, so why would you do it?
I know its hard to resist the urge to pull up your shirt and pinch your skin but please refrain from doing this. Try to focus on more important things in life like your relationships, work, and hobbies!
Eat food that feels good
Bad body image days are all about self loving and what better way to do than than through food! You may not be feeling like eating but feeling your body properly is a form of self love.
Eat mindfully and foods that light up your soul, give you energy, and make you happy!
Need recipe ideas? I have some here
Morn your old self
When I was a lean bean I felt like crap and I was very unhealthy. However, society praised me for my lean body and when I started gaining weight the bad body image days kept getting more consistent. The lean body was my standard for myself and I wanted so badly to get back to that without the price that comes with low body fat (my health). The truth was, I never could go back to that, the lean version of myself died when I decided that my health and longevity was more important to me. Im grateful for that decision.
However, I had to mourn my old self before I could truly accept my bigger body in all its glory. How I did that?
- Give myself time
- have a little cry from time to time
- use TF out of those affirmations
I used sticky notes to post self love quotes on my mirror to help me when I look at her and saw someone I didn’t recognize.
Move your body for pleasure, not punishment
Last but certainly not least, move your body! releasing endorphins is underrated and my favourite way to boost my mood! Keep it simple and gentle or go hard and intense, whatever you feel like doing. Make sure it comes from a place of love and not hate for your body.
bad body image days will come and go, no feeling is permanent and the quicker you realize that, the free-er you will be! with the power of these 10 tips for days you just don’t like yourself, you will feel like new by the time you’re done.
after all, no one said you have to like yourself all the time, but you do have to love and accept yourself!
until next Time my lovely people