I Have Bad Body Image Days Too. Here’s What I Do About Them

I look at myself in my shorts and a (semi) crop top in the mirror and feel defeated. Bad body image days hit occasionally, and they have a mean right hook.

As I stare at my reflection and silently tear myself apart in my mind, my husband walks by and asks what’s wrong.

I tell him, “I’m having a hard time accepting how my body looks today.

His response is brash and to the point. “Well, you could stop eating, run _____ miles a day, purge, or you could just do all of the above and live a life with ED instead of the life you deserve.” He gives an eyebrow raise with a sarcastic shoulder shrug.

His words hit me hard. My first thought is “Hell no!” (because I have learned to love food); my second thought is, I remember that life. It was miserable.”

After a moment, I look back into the mirror and say to my husband, “Thank you for that… I needed to get back to my wise mind.”

He replies, “You’re welcome”, and leaves me in the mirror.

Logic vs. feelings

Even when you’re well into recovery and have a good grip on what’s an ED thought and what’s true in your wise mind, there can still be hard days. Logic doesn’t always comfort your feelings in the moment.

I have a round face, soft belly, and strong arms. There is nothing wrong with my body. Logically, I know this. Yet, it can be hard to accept logic at times.

I eat breakfast foods that are not diet culture accepted. There is nothing wrong with eating food for pleasure, yet sometimes those “health food” ads creep into my enjoyment of said foods.

But even though there are hard moments, I know I’ve come a long way. I’m now moving my body in a way that’s mentally healthy for me as a recovering exercise addict. I don’t run anymore and only go to the gym a couple times a week. Yet, seeing social media posts of races, workouts, and exercise can trigger guilt that is not rooted in truth.

On the days the eating disorder seeps into my joy, it’s written all over my face.

A smile is hard to force. Getting dressed is a chore. Focusing is harder than ever. I feel as though I could cry at any moment, yet my body is too consumed with numbness to produce a single tear.

Have you experienced these days? These set-backs in your recovery from time to time?

I have. But let’s be honest – we are constantly changing and evolving. Everything is temporary.

So, my conclusion about these rough days? Restricting will never fix the inner issues I’m experiencing at the moment. Purging will not get out the feelings that are begging to be heard. I cannot outrun my life. Eventually, I have to go home and face my problems.

Using an eating disorder behavior will not solve my problems; it will only add to them.

So, look in the mirror. Have a hard conversation with yourself in those moments. And remember, your worth is not in your body; it in your heart.

And you, my friend, deserve joy. Fight for it daily.

More from Brooke Heberling
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  1. says: Maddie

    Thank you so much for this piece. The last line truly hit me in ways that most body-positive advice never does – thank you for truly getting it.

  2. says: Kathleen

    Wow this totally hit home with me. Every day I look in the mirror I do t like what I see. I hate it! I also see myself without the mirror and all I see is fat. This is my 2nd year being recovered and I’m doing everything I can to keep going forward and not look back. So thank you so much for posting this ❤

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