How To Deal with Body Changes During Eating Disorder or Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Recovery
In today’s world, where thinness is idealised, weight gain can be tough, so today’s discussion is a very personal recount of how I dealt with the process and came to accept the body changes that happened during recovery from my eating disorder and then again several years later from hypothalamic amenorrhea to get my period back.
These are the same principles I share with my clients in more detail in our coaching sessions and we also spend a WHOLE week on it in my Body Freedom Academy course which launches again in September.
If you want to jump right in and listen to the full episode where I discuss my own body acceptance and body respect journey click below! And for a summary of the 7 tips, tools, and self-care practices I use to help deal with body changes, scroll down for the blog.
Click above to listen to Episode 21 of Holistic Health Radio. You can also subscribe and listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify so you never miss an episode. If you enjoy the content be sure to say hi and leave us a 5-star review.
7 Ways To Cultivate Body Acceptance and Respect
What does body acceptance actually mean??? Well it’s as simple as accepting your eye colour and shoe size. These traits are genetically determined, as is your body size, your bone structure and where you naturally tend to hold body fat.
Body acceptance is saying to yourself ‘this vessel is mine and I will treat it with care and respect’, which is simple in theory and sometimes harder in practice.
If you’ve spent your life trying to change your body and force it into something you know it’s not meant to be, then body acceptance and respect can take time. Magically snapping your fingers and unlearning all the damage from years of fad diets and unrealistic body expectations would be nice, but in real life takes more effort!
The work to be done is in showing yourself and your body that you are worthy of care even on those days you feel uncomfortable. These 7 practices that I’m sharing with you today are the ones I still do day-to-day to show my body respect and I hope sharing them with you will help you on your journey to developing a permanent positive relationship with food, exercise, and your body.
1. Practice Self-Care
Not just bubble baths, manicures or face masks, but real self-care that takes place every single day. It’s hard to feel good in a body that is sleep deprived, dehydrated, or stressed from too much work and not enough relaxation. Improve your self-care practices by cultivating good morning and night routines, and taking time out just for yourself to enjoy a cup of tea or your favourite book.
2. Daily Dose of Gratitude
If you follow me on social media, you would have noticed I post 3 things I’m grateful for every morning. Research shows that a gratitude practice can help protect us from symptoms of depression and low mood. When I’m having a bad body image day I try to write at least 10 things I’m grateful for including a few on what my body can do, which takes the focus away from what it looks like.
3. Wear Clothes That Suit Your Body
Throw out those clothes that no longer serve you! Body changes are a natural part of life, not just recovery. Instead of trying to force yourself into a pair of pants that no longer fit, give them to charity and invest in a few new items of clothing that are comfortable and flatter your body.
4. Stay Off Social Media
Being online too often can really bring us down, especially when we’re dealing with body changes. Make sure to have some good boundaries around how much time you spend online.
5. Nourish Your Body and Mind
Repeat after me – you still need to eat even if you’re feeling uncomfortable in your body. Instead of focusing on food as purely calories, try to think of what the food can do for you, such as give you energy to think and be creative or move your body.
6. Reframe Negative Thoughts
Negative thoughts may pop up more often on your recovery journey, especially in relation to your changing body. Instead of saying you’re a ‘bad person’ for having these thoughts, acknowledge how you feel in the moment, and reframe it into something positive. For example, a sentence I often tell my clients to say on a day they’re feeling blah is “I notice I’m feeling really uncomfortable in my body, but I also know I’m still a (insert 3 good qualities)”.
7. Find A Way To Be In Your Body
Being in your body, whether that’s through exercise or meditation, or a simple stretch session can really help you appreciate all the things your body can do, not just what it looks like. After all you are more than the sum of your body parts. You have so much to offer this world and when you do the work to achieve body acceptance and respect, you ultimately free yourself and your mind to achieve all your other goals in life.
Hi future friends, I’m Sarah King, a Health At Every Size (HAES) Exercise Physiologist and health coach.
Science, not trends is the foundation of my approach. By nourishing the body and mind with scientific facts we can build foundations for a life of realness, not just wellness.