It’s no surprise that many people struggle with body image. In eating disorder recovery, it’s commonly said that “body image is the last to go.” While it’s true that working towards a more positive body image is an ongoing (and sometimes long-term) process, there are a few things you can do to help move things along. The following are things that people tend to hold onto that are definitely NOT helping their body image:
1. Clothes that don’t fit
It might be that old pair of skinny jeans that you’re hoping to get back into or that dress you bought a size too small to “motivate” yourself. Maybe it’s an article of clothing that you try on from time to time to measure yourself, or “make sure it still fits.” Perhaps it’s clothing that is too big, and you’re keeping it “just in case.” Your weight might fluctuate so much that you find yourself with two (or more!) wardrobes of different sizes. Regardless of where you fall on this spectrum, it’s time to head to the nearest Goodwill.
2. Your fitness tracker
Fitness trackers of any kind, including step-counters, might be a healthy tool for some, but many find that they develop unhealthy relationships with them. Instead of listening to your body's cues, you might be defaulting to what the tracker is telling you what to do. You can read more about my thoughts on fitness trackers here.
3. Calorie counting/diet apps
Similar to fitness trackers, calorie counting/dieting apps can be a slippery slope. The main purpose of these programs is to give you a set, often inflexible, “plan” to follow with the intention of changing your body. Once again, you find yourself looking to something external to tell you what your body needs. That weekly weigh-in reminder is also not doing your body image any favors. Which brings me to my next point…
4. The scale
How often does the scale dictate your mood? Does it tell you what your day will be like? What you’re “allowed” to do or not do? Whether or not you were good or bad this week? If you have a scale in your home and you struggle with body image, it’s time to take a careful look at it’s role in your life. Some people decide to smash them, but the garbage will also suffice.
5. Unhealthy accounts
There are countless social media accounts that say they are recovery/health-oriented, but you might find that the endless gym selfies and food pictures are fueling your negative thoughts about body image. If you find yourself feeling badly after looking at a certain account, it’s probably time to unfollow. That, or if there is a recipe for protein pancakes.
While some might make these changes and feel relieved, others might feel overwhelmed at just the thought. If you think you need additional support, professional help and resources can be found at www.NationalEatingDisorders.org.