When you think about body image you might have the thought – “I’ll feel better about myself when I’m X weight or look like X” or “that’s not for me”, and of course given our dieting and looks obsessed culture that 100% makes sense. We also know that body image isn’t really about the body itself and what’s interesting is that often a feeling connected to the body is an alert that something else is going on. For example, you might feel completely fine on a Monday and have no real thoughts linked to your body and then by Friday you’re looking in the mirror thinking “I look horrible, nothing fits/I need to lose weight.”. Of course we know that between Monday and Friday your body didn’t change – so what did? Could it be stress from work? A hard conversation with a family member or friend (or maybe you need to have a hard conversation and you’re nervous about it), lack of sleep or time to yourself, a triggering image leading to comparison? I’ve had clients link very different scenarios to their bad body image days so it’s very individual and identifying those things can provide a lot of insight for where to start.
You might want a better relationship with your body and also be wondering…where do I start? That’s where goal setting can help make it feel more actionable because this topic can be overwhelming. Body image involves many facets – letting go of the thin ideal, identifying values, learning about topics like weight stigma, fatphobia, and why dieting doesn’t work, self compassion, media literacy, gratitude and body appreciation, and so on – MANY things impact our beliefs about bodies!
One thing you can start with is reflecting on where your thoughts about your body originate and why you feel like you have to look a certain way to have or feel X way.
Another fun way to set and implement goals is making a fun calendar like the one below!
To start this work first you need some insight into what goes on for you and your thoughts about your body. If you’re noticing specific moments where you feel badly or negative self talk pops up do a little check-in. What are you noticing? Are you able to identify an emotion or feeling? It can be helpful to note this information, you might want to keep a body image journal for all of this.
Where to start
After you identify some areas you’d like to work on, write them down.
Try and set specific goals for each area, this can help make something abstract feel concrete and do-able.
Try starting with the prompts provided, journaling is emotional processing and can really help us zone in on the thoughts we have and how they impact our lives.
If you’re looking for support, healing, and a safe space in your body image journey check out the course I created, Find Peace With Your Body. Code SUMMER 20 for 20% off Crystal’s Body Image Course until July 4th 2020.