Exactly What to Do to Stop a "Fat Day" In Its Tracks

No need to stay on the body-hate rollercoaster; Dr. Stewart's advice can help you stop the negativity..

Last week, I was proud to be able to bring you posts featuring body-image wisdom from Tiffany Stewart, Ph.D., co-founder of The Body Image Project. As promised, here she is again—this time with a six-step plan to help you get through a bad body-image moment and feel more peaceful about your shape. The next time you find yourself right smack in the middle of a “fat” day, here’s what to do to help snap yourself out of it and change the script playing in your head, straight from Dr. Stewart:

Stay in the moment, let go of judgment, focus on gratitude, and own your empowerment!

1. Stop. Breathe. Take a deep, cleansing, slow breath, allow yourself to become calm. The speed of the breath often translates into the speed of the mind (thoughts and decision making). When we slow down, we see more clearly and can draw better conclusions and make better decisions.

2. Orient to the moment. “What is” in this moment? Remove your focus from what has happened, or what is about to happen. Focus on now. Pay attention to your thoughts. Don’t judge them or spend too much time on them. Just identify them as thoughts and let them pass in and out of your mind as you breathe.

3. Bring your focus to your body. Think about it’s function. Think about what your body does for you. “My legs help me to walk every day.” “My belly helped to bring my children into the world.” Bring your perception of your body into the context of health and function.

4. Continue to take deep breaths and allow yourself to let go of your judgment of your body in this moment. You don’t have to think about or evaluate the judgment, just let it go.

5. Take a moment to note one thing about body you are grateful for. Let this remain in your focus throughout the day.

Note that the mood, events, etc. affect our perception and interpretation of our bodies and selves in any given moment. Often, when we feel bad about something, we are letting ourselves run away in our minds with habitual thoughts and behaviors and we begin to feel out of control. On any given day, we can get sucked into our negative moods, stress, or nonproductive thoughts and these things can trigger us to go down a road we don’t’ want, e.g. binge eating. Being in the moment and cultivating consciousness about what is happening is the key.

Take every moment as an opportunity to be empowered in your body and your mind.  Be gentle with yourself when you are struggling.  Acknowledge the struggle but know that you don’t have to get sucked into it. Take time to acknowledge the good things. You choose. The moment is yours to take.”

I love the idea that we can choose our own body image fate. We may not be able to control the initial obsession or negative thoughts, but we do have the power to choose what actions to take next. What do you think? Do you think bad body image is beyond your control? Have you ever been able to successfully interrupt and re-route negative body thoughts? xo…Sunny

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6 Responses to Exactly What to Do to Stop a "Fat Day" In Its Tracks

  1. Astrid says:

    I had a curious moment today. My thoughts were running wild in my mind this morning and I was strongly contemplating a binge. It semed like it was inevitable. I was watching America’s Got Talent at the time, and it was the ending of the latest episode where they let acts know whether or not they advance to the next round. I started bawling my eyes out along with the contestants! It was exactly what I needed. That release left me with a clear mind and I actually had a great day.
    Just wanted to share!

  2. C says:

    OH I’ve definitely realised that the worse my day is going, the fatter I tend to feel…a big turning point for me was realising this chain of causation, as I’d always thought that my feeling fat was what prompted the bad day.

    Sometimes some perspective can be terrifyingly enlightening…I once went to buy a big bag of jelly babies after a particularly bad day at work and on my walk home there was a homeless man huddled in a storefront…he didn’t say anything but ‘god bless you’ and I gave him my jelly babies and cried the whole way home. I waste so much money and food on overeating and this poor man was starving on the street. sigh.

  3. Lauren says:

    C, that’s really touching.

    As much as I hate the binges, I also hate how much money and food I’m wasting. I feel terrible when I think about all the starving people in the world and how blessed I am in comparison… then I think what gives me the right to binge when there are so many others in the world who hardly have enough to eat?

    Unfortunately, this thinking hasn’t helped me with my bingeing… it’s like whenever I start a binge, another person takes over and I feel like I have no control.

    • silverstreams says:

      Lauren, I think exactly the way u do! Such really thoughts really don’t help and only makes me feel guiltier. I feel oh so sinful.

      • Sunny says:

        “Sinful.” That’s a familiar feeling to me, too. Mostly when I was in my early teens, though. I would think about the sin of gluttony and just pray to be forgiven. All that guilt only made it worse! xo…Sunny

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Sunny Sea Gold

About the Author

Sunny Sea Gold is a media-savvy advocate and commentator specializing in binge eating disorder, cultural obsessions around food and weight, and raising children who have a healthy body image.