Bad Body Image Days ...

Eileen  McNallyEileen McNally Member, Administrator, Moderator, Practitioner, AFS Staff admin

Hi beautiful humans of AFS,

So I have a client (and many more) that have expressed having days where they just don't feel good. They looking the mirror and think "ugh, I feel so big/bloated/gross!"

We all have these days/thoughts. I want to help you all with a great way to correct the direction of our minds thoughts... Because that is just it. What we think isn't always the TRUTH. Inside, if we are aware and hear the thought -- we can create a space between ourselves and that thought. Realizing that basically our mind is tricking us and being #rude.

Become an observer of your mind. We can't believe everything we think!

Here is the exercise for you all and if you would be so brave to share below in the comments:

1) Think about the last thing you said about your body (either quietly to yourself or out loud to someone). For some of us this might actually be hard because we are used to automatically criticizing ourselves... but take a moment to slow down and become aware of what you last said to yourself.

2) How can you change that wording to something more loving?

Because you deserve to be spoken to kindly. 

We would never say the negative self talk we say to ourselves to a friend or someone we really love.

3) I challenge you to write down 5 reasons you love your body... and think about how it functions versus the aesthetics. :) Again, share below if you are willing.

4) Lastly, if you have your own tips/tricks for dealing with body image share that as well.

@Bella Diaz I know you love this topic. Please chime in.

@Sawyer Forum I know you have some awesome resources regarding this topic as well :)

Sending love to you all.

Eileen McNally BS, CPT, RYT 


Applied Fitness Solutions Rochester Hills


  • Tricia NaultTricia Nault Member, AFS Staff Rank ✭7✭

    Ok, I'll bite. Body image has been a big trigger for me my whole life. So much so that I don't even like the word "body." For real! In addition to hiding my body with clothing or behind others in pictures, not having any full length mirrors in the house, and only saving pictures of my head and shoulders, I hated the word too! I was embarrassed to use the word because I felt like when I said it, people were automatically looking at my body in disgust.

    So, here is 5 things that I love about my BODY (I can't even tell you how hard this is!!)

    1. I love my green eyes (I know that's aesthetics, but give me at least one!)
    2. I love that my muscles are getting stronger.
    3. I love...mmm...(this is really hard!)...that I haven't lost too much hearing yet.
    4. I love how the body functions; it really is a masterpiece of mechanics and electricity.
    5. I love how my mind is changing its thought patterns with coming to AFS and learning from the people here; I'm beginning to appreciate my body, its flaws and all.

    I don't have any tips really (I'm interested to hear what others say,) but I try to remember that you'd never speak to another person the way you end up talking to yourself. I'm trying to remember to be kind to myself. And maybe I'll be able to use the word too someday and not cringe on the inside :)

  • Beth ManoogianBeth Manoogian Member Rank ✭7✭

    I think this is a great topic and hope people will participate in this discussion. For me, items 1. and 2. above are not necessarily helpful to this discussion so I will skip ahead to number 3: 5 reasons I love my body.

    1. As of this week, I can bench press 40lb dumbbells without dropping them on my face!
    2. After my most recent strength test, I can now feel confident in my abilities to deadlift an incapacitated human being weighing less than or equal to 240lbs should I ever encounter such a person out in the wild 😂
    3. Winter is no match for me and my shovel! With the strength I have in my back, arms, and legs, I can throw snow all over the place - who needs a snowblower when you have muscles? (see also: leaf raking. which apparently is a thing I have to do again this weekend now that all the snow melted and more leaves fell)
    4. I'm ambidextrous, which has its advantages (e.g. polishing my own nails) and also some weird disadvantages (e.g. racquet sports are a struggle as I have two forehands and no backhand)
    5. I set a goal when I was 8 to still be able to do a cartwheel when I turned 40 and I am on track to meet that goal! 🤪

    I don't really have many tips for dealing with negative body image. I will say that I think this begins very early in life, though. I am thankful that I've never had serious body image issues or disordered eating, even though I have all of the typical personality traits for this. I have long felt that this had something to do with how i was raised, so I guess my tip is more for parents - be mindful of how you speak about yourself/your body or others' bodies in front of your children, since they listen and learn by example. Teach them to appreciate the ways their bodies function rather than how they look. They will be inundated with unrealistic body expectations from the media as they get older, teach them to resist these!

  • Eileen  McNallyEileen McNally Member, Administrator, Moderator, Practitioner, AFS Staff admin

    @Tricia Nault thank you for sharing your thoughts. Even seeing those words written out is a huge step. It can be powerful as we continue to reframe our thoughts around our body.

    Our bodies are just our containers that hold us. You are SO much more.

    I love your list of 5! Especially #4. Our bodies function 24/7 for us. The least we can do is show it more love.

    Eileen McNally BS, CPT, RYT 


    Applied Fitness Solutions Rochester Hills

  • Eileen  McNallyEileen McNally Member, Administrator, Moderator, Practitioner, AFS Staff admin
    edited November 2019

    @Beth Manoogian Thank you for sharing :) Did you personally still do questions 1 and 2? It is a great way to reflect and become aware.

    I love that you are finding your strength! Keep focusing on what the body can DO. I absolutely love that you are also playful with cartwheels. I actually think that is a very helpful tip -- getting out of our heads and into our bodies more through fun movement like cartwheels or dancing! When we are freely moving and (most likely) smiling it's harder to pick our bodies a part.

    Great insight on being extremely mindful about how we talk about our bodies around children. Teaching them about the fact that they are functioning is an absolutely miracle... our bodies are such a gift!

    Eileen McNally BS, CPT, RYT 


    Applied Fitness Solutions Rochester Hills

  • Heidi MorrisHeidi Morris Member Rank ✭7✭

    I was "chubby" as a kid til around 7th grade, so I always have felt like I am combatting my body's natural tendency to be "chubby." Feeling "in shape" or "skinny" has NEVER been something I really felt, even at my lowest weight and when I was running half-marathons.

    The past year though I have slowly become more kind to my body image, greatly due to AFS. I don't workout anymore because I am desperate to become skinny like I used to. I am not 100% there though mentally in being okay with who I am.

    1. I just wish my jeans would feel slightly looser and not so bootylicious :)
    2. I could use a new pair of jeans. Let's go shopping LOL!
    3. I love it that I am strong. I am so thankful my face acne has cleared finally! I look pretty tough when I flex. I did my best haircut on myself I ever have! I have given life to three incredible kids with my body.

    Tips - 100% agree with taking instagram and facebook off your phone if you struggle with comparison. I still go on my computer occasionally, however I was wasting so much time during random pauses in my day and it didn't do anything to benefit me. I will unlock my restriction of it on safari if I really want to post a picture, but truly, I find that I really don't miss it!

    I also find that the more I work out, the better I think I look, even if it really isn't true. And, making deliberate choices, like NCNC, makes me feel better about my body too because I just feel like I am taking better care of myself.

    Lastly, clothes REALLY ARE important to body image. Listen, sometimes I look at pictures of models wearing an outfit online when I am a shopping and notice even THEY don't look good in a particular cut/style that is presented for their "perfect" body. CLEAN OUT YOUR CLOSET of things you don't feel good in. Donate them or hold a little free clothes swap with your friends. Most likely your friends and you might have things that look better on each other! If you are unsure of how to dress to make you feel more confident, ask a friend who you think can be kind and honest to help you!

    Thanks @Eileen McNally for posting!

  • Eileen  McNallyEileen McNally Member, Administrator, Moderator, Practitioner, AFS Staff admin

    @Heidi Morris Thank you for sharing :) SO true about clothes! That's a great tip. Get rid of what doesn't make you feel AMAZING. Sometimes clothes are just made differently too... it's not us, it's the clothes! Especially if we have had the same wardrobe for a while, it's bound to start to fit differently.

    Eileen McNally BS, CPT, RYT 


    Applied Fitness Solutions Rochester Hills

  • Eileen  McNallyEileen McNally Member, Administrator, Moderator, Practitioner, AFS Staff admin

    @Mike Stack Wow really well said! The concept of defusion is new to me, but I think I have been practicing without even knowing it. We are talking a lot about it in the yoga workshops I've been attending. I read the article you linked.

    Couple points that stood out to me:

    "Remember that progress does not depend on thoughts changing. Instead, our aim in defusion work is to adjust the way someone relates to troublesome thoughts, so that they do not need to change their thoughts for progress to occur."

    " The thoughts we label as “descriptions” point to direct, physical experience, such as, “That table is made of wood.” “Evaluations” are any other way we can talk about an experience that is not purely descriptive, such as, “That table is beautiful.” But it is not always easy to determine if a thought is an evaluation or description. Some thoughts are both."

    So I'd say most of our thoughts (especially about ourselves) are evaluations ... and so we ought to challenge them and redirect them in an accepting/self compassionate way.

    @Corinne Albrecht Yes! Love that you linked this with your inner child. That resonates with me too. Who are some of the people you follow for positivity?

    Eileen McNally BS, CPT, RYT 


    Applied Fitness Solutions Rochester Hills

  • Angela JohnsonAngela Johnson Member Rank ✭6✭

    @Eileen McNally, I value that you made reflection the first component of the exercise because I respond well to introspection.

    @Sawyer Paull-Baird, what can we do as a FitFam to aide in you feeling more comfortable coaching this topic? Are you able to identify the component(s) that cause you uncomfortability?

    @Mike Stack - this is my favorite forum contribution of yours thus far, and I hope that many members/visitors read as well as review the link you provided.

    In answer to E. McNally's exercise:

    1. The last thing I thought about my body "op, _(insert any person)_ is walking by, I need to adjust my shirt." and that's in an effort to hide my mid-section. That's likely the extent of my self talk because most of my self talk about my physical body is in relation to changing myself for a situation at hand. Ie: when I worked professionally in musical theater, changing physical appearance comes with the work; when I was preparing for surgery I was extra mindful of strength so that I could recover.
    2. If I were to frame the above more positively, I'd think: "there isn't anything I need to adjust about myself in this moment. I'm as I am."

    5 Positive Physical Statements:

    I like my hair, my skin tone, my smile, the strength in my legs and my calves when in heels.


    I'm in agreement with what's already been recommended; observance of thoughts, knowing cognitively - we are not our thoughts <3 <--that's 100% true because if were our thoughts, I wouldn't be alive today.

    If anything else to add, I'd just say that it's a gift to have our physicality and to keep that in remembrance.

  • Beth ManoogianBeth Manoogian Member Rank ✭7✭
    edited November 2019

    @Eileen McNally my question 1 answer was actually a positive thought so there was no need for question 2. And thus why they weren’t relevant to this discussion!

    One other thing I will add is that although this is a gym forum and many of us found AFS with a desire to lose weight, there is another side of this spectrum, too. I see people all the time who desperately want to gain weight and can’t, whose friends make comments to them like “I wish I was as skinny as you” without realizing that person just wants to be able to eat normally and gain weight and feel healthy.

  • Sawyer Paull-BairdSawyer Paull-Baird Administrator, Moderator, Practitioner, AFS Staff admin

    Hey @Angela Johnson . I suppose my main discomfort comes from feeling like I either cannot relate, or will be perceived as not being able to relate (in actuality it's probably a combination of both). Thus I tell myself I shouldn't contribute, or that it would be insulting to those who really struggle with this if I, as someone who doesn't (at least to any significant degree), and a male (who many perceive cannot relate to this), were to try to provide advice/feedback.

    I realize this is only minimally rational, but that's the emotion nonetheless.

    Sawyer Paull-Baird BS CSCS ACSM-EP PN-Lvl1
    Agent of Change / Fitness Innovation & Education Coordinator
  • Angela JohnsonAngela Johnson Member Rank ✭6✭

    Ah, and that's totally understandable @Sawyer Paull-Baird. Thank you for sharing the emotions you feel and I'm glad that you felt okay to do so in this forum. I appreciate your insight always.

  • Eileen  McNallyEileen McNally Member, Administrator, Moderator, Practitioner, AFS Staff admin

    @Heather Quinlan You give GREAT hugs!! and the fact that it holds your big heart - could not agree more. *happy tears*

    Keep CLEARING your feed & filling it up will all the good accounts. That also goes for people in our life too (yeah I said it lol)


    Eileen McNally BS, CPT, RYT 


    Applied Fitness Solutions Rochester Hills

  • Trent TaylorTrent Taylor Member, Practitioner, AFS Staff admin

    Really good point @Mike Stack. I've actually had conversations with other clients about "the other end of the spectrum". That is, at least for both sexes, being too skinny or thin. Growing up I've always felt that I had to display a certain masculinity among my fellow classmates and friends. I can't really place why, but i never wanted to feel or look like the skinny frail kid. Maybe I always associated it with being weak or inferior and I had to make sure I didn't look that part.

  • Stephanie CarrollStephanie Carroll Member Rank ✭5✭

    @Heather Quinlan . You inspire me. Now I need one of your wonderful hugs.

    I love this topic. I've spent the last 25 years trying to please everyone but myself. I honestly believed that if I were "thin" people would like me more and I would be more fun (As if). It didn't matter how thin I was, it was never good enough. I wasn't good enough. I trained and trained- but not for me. I didn't love my body no matter how many times I was told I looked great. I was hyper-critical about size and appearance. Consumed with looking great in a bikini.

    Acceptance is so hard. We accept other people's shortcomings and failures, yet we never accept our own. We don't allow ourselves to fully feel and understand that we are telling ourselves a story that doesn't exist (the negativity and the expectations). It's hard to see past that the outside does not equal the inside. Baby steps.

    The last thing I said about my body was it's too big and I don't like it. I stood in front of a mirror in a dress that was too tight. I don't even know why I said that. Some days I feel totally secure in my appearance, other days, I want to hide in a closet and eat oreos. I need to remember that we've been given this amazing gift and while we should handle with care at times, we should also celebrate and love ourselves.

    Five things I love about my body

    1. Despite having MS, I am STRONG and getting stronger through my AFS FitFam
    2. My smile
    3. My positive outlook on life
    4. I do like my booty #allthesquats
    5. My kind and generous heart

    I just need to remember to practice more kindness with myself. Since I've been at AFS, my attitude has changed and my why has changed. I might never have my six-pack abs again, but that's not a priority for me anymore.

  • Corinne AlbrechtCorinne Albrecht Member, AFS Staff Rank ✭8✭

    @Eileen McNally honestly most of the people I follow for body positivity are my own friends! It's so wonderful to have a group of women close to me celebrating themselves in all the versions of their bodies :)

    I do find the account i_weigh on instagram to be the best non-friend bodyposi account I follow, though! It was started by Jameela Jamil, one of my favorite outspoken activists on this topic, and basically celebrates what we weigh; not in numbers, but in personalities, achievements, passions, etc. I like thinking about my weight as being what I bring to the world, and not the number on the scale :)

  • Lauren WentzelLauren Wentzel Member Rank ✭2✭

    Hey AFS Family!! Hoping it's not too late to chime in on this one. I promised @Eileen McNally I would and after reading all the other comments, I felt compelled to share my thoughts and answers with fellow fitness family that can relate.

    1. The last thing i said about my body was "Gross!" I caught a glimpse of my tummy in the mirror and my initial reaction was "Gross!" I will be the first to admit that I do not tolerate my friends or family putting themselves down or saying negative things, but yet I was very quick to blurt out "Gross" to myself. I am working on this, though.

    2. I better reaction to seeing my body would be "Remarkable" because it is strong, healthy, and unique - no other person has this body and that makes it rare and special!

    3. Five things I love about my body: 1 - neck, collarbone and shoulder area. They create a feminine silhouette that make me feel attractive. 2 - strength, stability and balance. These allow me to withstand puppy hugs from my Great Dane and the ability to play with him and keep up with his 120 pound clumsy ways! 3 - flexibility. As I get older, maintaining flexible joints is important to me and I try to incorporate stretching and yoga into my fitness routines to maintain my flexibility. 4 - overall hourglass shape. At times I wish I could Photoshop my own body and change the portions and ratios of my curves, but overall, I like the balance and symmetry my body has. 5 - my heart. It is strong and healthy and allows me do all the fitness classes I enjoy doing!

    4. Tips & tricks for overcoming bad body image days...I remind myself that those negative thoughts that creep into my head are only temporary. They came in and they will leave. And once they are gone, I try to reflect on all I'm grateful for. Remembering all the blessings in my life makes my heart smile and puts me in a better mood. When I'm in a better mood, I'm kinder to myself and less negative towards myself. The good mood and positive outlook give me a little boost. And THOSE feelings feel WAY better than those negative ones that passed through my head.

  • Eileen  McNallyEileen McNally Member, Administrator, Moderator, Practitioner, AFS Staff admin

    @Lauren Wentzel thank you for sharing. It's time to start quieting the inner critic with better reactions so it shows up less and less. I LOVE your list especially numbers 2 and 5. SO good :)

    What a good point about how you notice you are kinder to yourself when you are in a good mood. So, what is it that you need in order to stay the course? In order to ensure you do what is best for you so you feel positive?

    Eileen McNally BS, CPT, RYT 


    Applied Fitness Solutions Rochester Hills

  • Candice  GarlowCandice Garlow Member Rank ✭3✭

    Hello All,

    What a great topic for discussion! I know many people of all shapes and sizes (including yours truly) they all seem to have one thing in common. They aren’t happy with something about their bodies. I do think it has a lot to do with the beauty industry. Which makes women and men feel shame which creates beliefs that lead us to define ourselves as being “not good enough”.

    1) The last thing I said about my body was...Yuck! I was in FS class and looked down at my stomach as I was doing a wall squat. That was all it took to feel Yuck!

    2) A better thing I could say about my body is...It’s capable of change, and with time and effort it will get healthier.

    3) 5 reasons I love my body... 1.) It birthed two beautiful daughters. 2.) It has helped me help others in need. 3.) It allows me to get from point A to point B. 4.) It has soft skin. 5.) It has aged pretty well as far as wrinkles on my face go.

    4) My tips/tricks reflect on all of the blessings in my life. Try not to compare myself to others, and try not to get discouraged if changes aren’t happening as quickly as I would like for them to.

    My beautiful daughters ❤️

  • Mike StackMike Stack Member, Administrator, Moderator, Practitioner, AFS Staff admin

    Thanks for everyone for contributing to what is a very personal topic for many of us. As I said above, I know it is for me for sure. We all have this image of what "society" tells us is healthy or what we should look like. That image is clearly driven by trying to sell a product, service, type of clothing or whatever the marketers are trying to pedal in that particular advertisement.

    One that I can that is very cool about the AFS community is how opened we are to sharing these things with each other. It's very special and I thank everyone so much for contributing. #fitfam #morethanfitness

    Michael E. Stack, BS CFP CSCS*D CPS
    AGENT OF CHANGE, CEO, & Exercise Physiologist

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