how to deal with body changes
  • December 9, 2022

Episode 7: Dealing with Body Changes

This episode we will be chatting about dealing with body changes, and how we can make peace with these.   […]

This episode we will be chatting about dealing with body changes, and how we can make peace with these.

 

 

For eating disorder recovery specifically, dealing body changes are important as it is a likely a part of recovery.

 

What is body positivity and body neutrality?

Body positivity focuses on the idea of addressing beauty standards, particularly those that are unrealistic. It focuses on loving your body no matter what. However, this can be a very far off concept for a lot of people. This may lead to more shame and guilt.

Body neutrality on the other hand, is a bit different. It focuses instead on what your body can do for you. You may not love your body, but you can respect it for all the things it allows you to do every day. It focuses on the body as a vessel to help you go about your day rather than what it looks like.

 

Practical tips to deal with body changes

1: Adjust what you see on social media.

There is so much toxic diet and body image culture constantly bombarding us on social media. There is research to prove that time spent looking at photos of thin bodies can distort our perception of what we see in the mirror.

This is why it is important to have a diversity of different body size, shapes and colours on your feed. But we also don’t want our feed just to be filled with bodies. Ideally, can you have other things such as travel, educational info, animals or other hobbies/interests you have.

Start by doing an audit of your own social media. Flick through the accounts that you follow on each platform and ask yourself why you follow them. Is it because of their bodies and they are someone you inspire to look like? Or is it because you live their personality or the content they put out?

 

2: Have conversations with friends and family members that make unhelpful comments about bodies

This is unfortunately very common in today’s society and these conversations can be tough. However, it is very difficult to reach a place of body positivity or neutrality when you are constantly being bombarded by diet culture talk.

Start by pulling these people in your life aside and saying something such as “hey do you mind not commenting on my body, weight or food habits at the moment because it is something I am working on currently and I find these comments quite unhelpful”.

Often these comments aren’t coming from an intentionally bad place, but rather a place of concern or unawareness. If you address these comments in a calm and gentle manner they often respond quite well. But, ingrained habits often don’t change overnight and you may have to have this conversation multiple times.

 

 

3: Start to challenge the negative thoughts you have about your body

A good way to start dealing with body changes is by journaling the thoughts you are having about your body. You can then start to reframe these thoughts into more positive ones.

For example: “my legs are too big” à my legs are strong, they have muscle to carry me through life to hike or dance or pick up my kids

Another activity you might like to try is to create a jar with all the things your body can do for you. When you start to have these negative thoughts, you can look into the jar to remind yourself why it is important you have a strong and well-nourished body.

You could even write a list of all the things you want to experience in life that require a well-nourished body to do. This is especially helpful during eating disorder recovery when body changes are occurring.

 

4: Try and reduce body checking behaviours

Body checking behaviours include things like constantly checking if our thighs are touching or what certain body parts look like in the mirror. The more we do these behaviours, the more we feel dissatisfied with our bodies and the more we notice our body changes.

We want to reduce both the physical task of body checking in the mirror. We also want to limit engaging in things that may remind us of our previous body such as progress photos or clothes that don’t fit anymore. Remember, clothes should fit you as you are! You don’t need to change to fit the clothes. The size on your clothing tag doesn’t define you as a person. Plus, clothing sizes will range between brands and even products within the same brand.

5: Joyful movement

It is important to find movement that you enjoy such as yoga, bouldering, Pilates or dancing. Try to prioritise joyful movement over forcing yourself to do exercise that you hate. It helps you to focus on what your body can do and can even increase our self-esteem and endorphins.

It can take some time to find what this joyful movement is for you. A good place to start is by thinking of the forms of activity you used to enjoy doing as a child.

 

6: Speak with a healthcare professional that you trust

This may be a psychologist or dietitian trained in the space. It is important however, that you find the right fit and it is a safe space. If they are someone who you have noticed has made comments in the past that come from a weight-centric place, they may not be the best one for you. Instead look for someone who practices from a weight neutral/inclusive or health focused approach.

 

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