One of the first symptoms to show up (and unfortunately one of the last typically to go) in an eating disorder is significantly poor body image. Learning to nourish yourself more adequately and addressing the issues underlying and co-occurring with your eating disorder will help with this, but there are also things you can do to work directly on improving your overall body image.
1) Give yourself permission not to “love” your body, or even “like” it right away. Set a goal of body neutrality- a perspective that views your body not as the enemy, but removes the pressure of trying to force yourself to be best friends with it right away, which can often magnify feelings of frustration.
2) Practice body gratitude. This can look like spending time thanking various parts of your body for the different functions they enable you to do. For example, thank your arms for the way they allow you to hug loved ones, your legs for carrying you up and down stairs, or your stomach for its ability to digest food and provide you energy.
3) Write a letter of apology and commitment to your body. Consider the ways you haven’t treated it with the respect it deserves, or have unwittingly worked in opposition to it. Follow this my stating your intention going forward when it comes to your body - how might you work with it, have grace for it, appreciate it, and honor it from here on out?
Like most things worth doing, there is not “quick” solution to altering your relationship with your body, but with time, practice, and intentionality you may be surprised as the gradual shifts you experience.
Christian Makenna Clements is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist #111159.