Processing vs “Overcoming” Body Shame in Recovery

I often hear clients berate themselves over the fact that they “still struggle with body image” or ask how they can “overcome” difficult body image feelings once and for all. 

But struggling with body image—that is, having days where our feelings about our body are more difficult or uncomfortable than others—isn’t really something we “overcome,” 

it’s something that we learn to relate to differently in recovery—and which may heal slowly in its own time as a result of processing our feelings in a different way. 

This all to say—recovery isn’t really about the absence (or existence) of difficult feelings about our bodies—which are almost inevitable in a culture that is constantly judging and evaluating our worth on the basis of size,

but rather, about our ability to be kind and caring with ourselves in the midst of those difficult feelings—in the midst of pain, shame, fear, etc.

It’s about being able to make the self-loving choice not to harm ourselves through dieting—even when we’re having a hard time facing the internal or external realities of fatphobia in our world. 

It’s about being able to make choices in alignment with our values (values like weight-neutrality or self-care) even when we’re overwhelmed by fear, shame or other difficult emotions. 

In other words—the deepest body image work involves: 

learning to how to be with difficult feelings without judgment,

learning how to feel without agreeing with the narrative those feelings attach to,

and learning how to skillfully care for ourselves when such feelings inevitably arise.

if you’d like to work on these feelings-focused body image skills, sign up for free coaching emails and get new blogs sent straight to your inbox. If you’re still struggling in your relationship with food, make sure to check out my free Stop Fighting Food Video Training Series too.