Is body image work the missing link in your recovery?
Recovery is often associated with working on your relationship with food and exercise, in order to restore your body (and mind!) to optimal health. But there’s another pillar which must be addressed in order to achieve full recovery: body image.
Body image, and your relationship with your body, can be overlooked on the recovery journey, as it sometimes appears to be a bi-product of your food and movement patterns. But in reality, it’s a beast of its own – and one that needs to be addressed and worked on in order to achieve true lasting behavioural change.
Negative body image not only impacts your mental and physical health, and puts you at greater risk of developing disordered eating or exercise behaviours, it also compromises your social and emotional health, and essentially creates a war between your mind and your body.
Without addressing body image, you’re not getting to the root of the problem… It’s like cleaning your kitchen with water – it might look clean and ready to go on the surface, but underneath the germs and mould continue to grow and multiply, until they become impossible to ignore.
Why is it essential to work on improving your body image in recovery?
1. It helps you deal with weight and body changes in recovery.
So many people avoid or delay their recovery journey out of fear or avoidance of the body changes and weight gain which is most often required to restore your health and your period. The idea of weight gain is so terrifying and overwhelming for some, they’d rather remain stuck in negative and unhealthy patterns than endure the discomfort of their body changing.
To overcome this mentality, and to work through the pressure you place on yourself to keep your body looking exactly the same, you must address your body image. After all, your body isn’t meant to look the same as it did 10 or 20 years ago… It’s meant to fluctuate, grow and change over time. Accepting this fact, and learning to be okay with it is something you can only achieve by working on your body image.
2. You can recognise you’re more than your body.
Body image work also helps you to put things into perspective as you fight for recovery, and realise that you’re so much more than your body. You’re more than your appearance, the space you occupy in a room, the size and shape of your body on any given day. You’re inherently worthy of love and acceptance and respect, simply because you’re you.
Through working on your body image, this perspective shift allows you to truly commit to recovering, without the fears of body changes holding you back. Suddenly, you’re able to recognise what you’re fighting for, and to realise the freedom and empowerment you’re working towards are so much more important than the size of your body. It gives you a strong “why” to help you push through any obstacles that arise on your recovery journey, because you’re able to be at peace with the way your body looks, and the changes it needs to undergo to become healthier and happier.
3. You deserve to accept your body.
Improving your body image isn’t about loving your body every minute of every day. You don’t have to constantly look in the mirror and glow about how perfect and beautiful and flawless you look. Body image is about developing a respect for your body, and for the natural fluctuations it experiences throughout your life. It’s about appreciating it, and being grateful for the many things it allows you to do, experience and feel every single day. It’s about achieving a sense of peace within yourself, and acknowledging your body doesn’t define you or your worth, but it allows you to move through the world and fight for the things you value most – like recovery!
You deserve to feel this peace and acceptance towards your body. The idea of condemning yourself to waging war against your own body every day for the rest of your life is unimaginable – it’s a unique form of torture. Without working on your body image in recovery, you’ll never be able to discover this sense of peace and gratitude. You deserve to find this peace, and to experience the relief and joy it can bring you.
4. It helps you create lasting behavioural change.
If you want recovery to “stick”, you can’t just address your eating and exercise habits at a surface level. You really need to do the hard work to change your thoughts, and to rewire your brain to create healthier patterns and create your new reality.
If you simply try to change your behaviours, to reduce your exercise volume and intensity and consume more energy each day, you’re much more likely to slip back into old unhealthy habits when times get tough.
Without doing the deeper work to understand how you truly feel about your body and yourself, and why this is such an immense focus for you, you can’t hope to fully recover. After all, you’re not getting to the root of the problem…
Body image work gets right to the core of many disordered behaviours and why they exist, in order to develop healthier patterns going forward. It helps you reduce and remove your reliance on old behaviours as coping mechanisms, instead creating a healthier and more positive environment and sentiment towards yourself, so you don’t feel the necessity to revert back to those previous behaviours.
Instead, you can be confident in the fact you’ve taken the steps needed to move forward with confidence, and without fear of slipping back into patterns you’ve worked so hard to rewrite. You can navigate life and any challenges that come your way, knowing that you’re stronger and better equipped to do so, with healthier coping strategies and a more positive relationship with yourself and your body than you’ve possibly ever had before.
If you’re ready to commit to improving your body image, and to take a step towards the pursuit of full recovery, sign up to the waitlist for our upcoming Building Better Body Image course! You’ll dive into all the body-related habits and patterns keeping you “stuck”, so you can achieve lasting behavioural change and find peace with your body and yourself, for good.
Ready To Improve Your Relationship with Food and Get Your Period Back?
Sarah King is an Exercise Physiologist and Health Coach specialising in helping women reconnect with their bodies and improve their relationship with food and exercise.
Through her 1:1 Health Coaching Sessions clients learn to nourish their bodies without guilt, move for joy, improve body image and self worth, plus recover from Hypothalamic Amenorrhea and get their period pack if it’s gone missing.
Click below to book your free discovery call and get started.
Hi future friends, I’m Sarah King, an Accredited 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.