5 Tips for Tackling ‘Bad’ Body Image Days
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Reframe the way you view body image issues

Often in my work as a dietitian, I have the privilege of talking to my clients about their relationship to food and how it is deeply entwined with their relationship to their bodies.

I’ll often hear clients express how their food choices may change or their relationship to food may be impacted by how they feel about their body on any given day.

bad body image days

It can feel incredibly frustrating and overwhelming because positive body image feels like a moving target. One day we’re strutting down the street to our own personal fabulous playlist (here’s mine), and suddenly the next day feels “blah”. We’re frustrated with how our clothes fit, or we’re just feeling out of sorts in our body.

The truth is, everyone has bad body image days, regardless of what their body looks like. And that’s because body image is more about our perception and beliefs about our bodies than it is about our physical bodies. But that’s not what diet culture would have you believe – in fact, our dieting culture LOVES bad body image days because we are vulnerable to the enticing marketing that promises a new fad diet will provide you with the body of your dreams, unending confidence and eternal happiness!

Re-framing Difficult Body Image Days 

When I work with clients to begin healing their relationship to food and their bodies, you may hear me reframe a bad body image day similar to a bad hair day. We’ve all had a bad hair day – maybe it’s flat, or too poufy, or you have that one piece of hair that won’t stop sticking straight up! Bad hair days are frustrating and might be annoying, but usually we can implement a few fixes and still have a pretty great day for the most part. We might tie our hair up, pull out the dry shampoo, or even rock a baseball hat for the day. It would seem pretty extreme if every time we had a bad hair day, we decided we needed to dye our hair, or even cut it all off, wouldn’t it?! Even in the stress and uncomfortable tension of a bad hair day, we know the feeling will pass, and we can try strategies to make ourselves more comfortable without taking it too far and shaving our heads!

If you’re struggling with body image today, can you think of it in a similar way to a bad hair day? It can feel unexpected, overwhelming, and even scary when negative body image takes center stage, but we can implement a few tangible strategies to make ourselves more comfortable and get through the day. 

5 Tips for a ‘Bad’ Body Image Day 

1) Wear comfortable clothing.  

Nothing brings the focus back to the discomfort in our bodies quite like clothes that pinch, squeeze, or dig in. Choose to wear something that fits your here and now body, and expresses your own personal style.  

body positivity

2) Eat regular meals and snacks with a variety of food groups.  

Regardless of how you are feeling about your body, remember that your body is deserving of respect. It’s very difficult to even consider having a positive relationship with something that we treat poorly, so resist the temptation to treat your body poorly. Respecting your body can look like choosing to eat regular meals and snacks to fuel your here-and-now-body throughout the day, and not engaging in restriction or dieting. It may also look like moving in a way that feels enjoyable for you, or perhaps taking a day to rest.  

3) Consider a social media-free day.  

Comparison is the thief of joy, and nothing breeds comparison quite like scrolling through social media, especially platforms that are image-based. In fact, research has demonstrated that scrolling through images on social media (especially images depicting the body types that are considered the “cultural beauty standard”) is associated with increased comparison, more body dissatisfaction and lower mood¹²³.

social media free day

4) Focus on what your body can DO 

Notice what thoughts are coming up about how your body looks, and see if you can shift the focus to all of the things your body can do. Try to view your body as your teammate – it’s the vessel that lets you move through the world, hug your kids, laugh with friends, create, play, and live! Basing our identity and sense of self on our physical appearance can feel like shaky ground, because bodies are meant to change – it’s the only constant!

5) Practice Compassion.  

Remind yourself that this too will pass, and you are far more than your body. It may be helpful to reflect on whether or not restricting or dieting in the past ended up helping your body image (spoiler alert: likely not!), and gently shift your focus back to respecting your here-and-now-body. 

body image

More Support for Better Body Image  

If you are wrestling with negative body image and a difficult relationship with food, you are not alone. This work is vulnerable and brave, and you are deserving of support and kindness.

Please reach out to me for support in making peace with food and learning to respect the body you’re in!

You might also want to check out these previous articles on our blog:  

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

As seen in


Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This