Does putting on a tight pair of jeans, missing a workout, feeling bloated after a big meal or looking at yourself in the mirror send you in a poor body image day spiral? I’ve been there and sometimes it feels like no matter what you try to do or say, you can’t just move past it and enjoy the rest of the day.
At this point, you’re probably ready to curl up in some comfy sweats with a glass of wine on the couch for the rest of the night. And while that actually sounds like my ideal night – wallowing about body image does not have to damper your night. In this article, I’m sharing how I recommend clients navigate through these bad body image days using journal prompts.
What contributes to poor body image?
Between social media, celebrity trends, television and the diet and beauty industry, of course you feel like you’re on a hamster wheel constantly doing whatever it takes to change your body. We live in a society that thrives off women hating their bodies – otherwise, who else would buy their products and programs? Add on top the people and generations before us who have subscribed to diet and beauty culture and are constantly shaming themselves (and sometimes us) for not meeting the “perfect body” ideals.
However, the truth is, there’s nothing wrong with your body. The body that allows you to experience life and all the amazing things that come with living. But of course, I can preach this to you all day everyday and that may not change your views. You’re human – I don’t expect it to. But understanding where these thoughts are coming from and identifying your own belief system behind your body can significantly improve your resiliency around triggering experiences with body image.
How can journaling help?
You may not describe yourself as a someone who journals, but if you’re consistently finding yourself feeling negatively towards your body, it might be an easy, quick and free way to get your thoughts out onto paper to dissect and reframe so you can get back to being the vibrant, beautiful person you are. I suggest journaling on a lot of topics to my clients because when we are thinking through emotions, they can easily get tangled and cause the negative spiral to worsen. However, if you write the thoughts down and guide yourself through past and current experiences (both positive and negative), you may find yourself leaving the journal session feeling much more respecting of your body.
The root cause of poor body image journal prompts can be done at any point in time because these prompts are geared towards helping you to identify where negative thoughts may be stemming from. However, I suggest using the reflecting in the moment journal prompts and building a positive base prompts be used when you are feeling triggered about your body.
Steps to navigate a poor body image day
- Acknowledge that you’re having a negative feeling or thought towards your body
- Take a few deep breaths to re-center yourself
- Go change into clothes that feel comfortable
- Make yourself some tea, coffee or your fav comforting drink
- Grab your journal, sit in a comfortable chair or position, wrap yourself in a cozy blanket and begin journaling through these prompts
Prompts for identifying the root cause of poor body image
- When was the earliest time you remember being concerned with your appearance? What were your thoughts?
- Did your parents ever outwardly criticize your weight or appearance? What did they say?
- Was there someone in your family that always got compliments or attention for the way they looked? How did that feel? Did it change the way you viewed parts of yourself?
- Did you ever witness your mother or any other female figure in your life being concerned with her appearance? How did this impact your beliefs about your own appearance?
- Were there any comments made by your friends that stuck with you? About you or themselves? What was said?
- Were there any times in life that your body changed unexpectedly that you felt unprepared for? How did that feel?
- Were there any times in life that you felt pressure to change your body? What were your thoughts around this?
Journal prompts for reflecting in the moment
- What emotions or thoughts are you currently experiencing about your body?
- What triggered these emotions or thoughts towards your body?
- Was there negative self-talk towards yourself or your body? What was said?
- What was your past experience with these thoughts or emotions? Did they stay or were you able to move past them?
- If you could reframe this thought or emotion towards your body into something more positive, what would you hope the thought would be?
- If you were to hear these same thoughts from a close friend or family member you loved, what would you say to them?
- What do I need to let go of in order to move forward past this feeling or thought?
Journal prompts for moving forward with abundant thoughts
- When do you remember a time where you weren’t concerned about your body? How old were you?
- How would you describe your inner child’s essence and energy before you were aware of your body or physical appearance?
- What did she authentically love? What brought her happiness & joy? What goals did she have for her life?
- How can you show up for your inner child this week? What would she like you to do?
- How am I benefitting from this negative belief and self-talk towards my body?
- What is this negative belief and self-talk costing me?
- What are accomplishments I’ve successfully achieved that have nothing to do with my body?
If you’re struggling with negative feelings towards your body or poor body image days, you’re not alone. We unfortunately live in a society that loves to tell us all the things that are wrong with our bodies (in order to sell us products and programs to fix them). But remember, there is nothing wrong with your body and having negative thoughts is completely human. I hope that the journal prompts above help you to uncover where negative body image thoughts have come from, navigate poor body image days and build a positive base to remind yourself that you are more than just a body! If this was helpful, I’d love to hear from you. Comment below and let me know which journal prompt resonates with you the most!