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How to Identify What You Need in Moments of Body Image Anxiety




Things we dive into in this episode: 

  1. Three steps to help you identify what you need in moments of body image anxiety

  2. How body image anxiety, like all anxiety, is rooted in fear

  3. The similarity between body image healing and accessing intuition



📘Resources

 


📌Episode Highlights


How can you identify what you need as you go through the sticky body image moments leading up to the summer?


  1. What do I need rationally?

    1. This can happen in like a notebook, in my mind, or in a conversation out loud with someone:

      1. Remember that your body is designed to fluctuate, that you live in a human body, and you can take care of your body through eating balanced meals, exercising, sleeping, drinking water, hydrating, doing skincare, and practicing stress relief.

      2. Remember that there are genetic and environmental and biological and metabolic factors that are going to prevent you from being able to completely control your body shape and size.

      3. Remember that you are going to go through body fluctuations and that your body will change.

      4. Remember that you will never be able to completely control your body shape or size. And if you were to attempt to try to completely control your body shape and size, you would end up in an unhealthy place.

      5. Remind yourself of the society that you live in. A society that praises thinness, where there is a lot of fake photos and fake bodies due to plastic surgery. A society that celebrates losing weight and prioritizes thinness and demonizes weight gain.

      6. Remind yourself that you can't compare your natural body to bodies that are manipulated by plastic surgery or Photoshop.

  2. What do I need somatically?

    1. What do I need in my body right now? And that usually presents as, what do I need to feel a little bit safer?

      1. Do you need a stretch to release tension in your chest or shoulders?

      2. Do you need deep breaths?

      3. Do you need food or water?

      4. Do you need some time outside in nature?

      5. Do you need some time away from a screen?

      6. Do you need to get some more sleep?

  3. What do I need emotionally?

    1. If a child was struggling with what you're struggling with in this moment, how would you speak to that child?

      1. It's really powerful to imagine yourself as a child and put a picture of yourself as a child on your mirror if you can. What would you say to her? What does she need to hear?

      2. It might be something related to her body: bodies are meant to change, all bodies are beautiful, your human body, your fluctuating body is worthy and deserving, you are so loved, let yourself live, go play, let yourself breathe, let yourself be alive.



Thanks for listening! 💖 Stay tuned to Caitie’s website for more episode updates and other exciting programs and resources.


Transcript


Caitie: Body image anxiety, like all anxiety, is rooted in fear. And all fear at the end of the day comes down to like, we're afraid to not be in control, and we're afraid to not be good enough. 


Welcome to Whole, Full & Alive, a podcast helping you feed yourself, feel yourself and be yourself. I'm Caitie Corradino. I'm a Registered-Dietician Nutritionist, a body image coach, and the founder of Full Soul Nutrition, a method that combines nutrition counseling with a powerful toolkit of somatic healing modalities. I have guided hundreds of clients to freedom with food, their bodies, and every aspect of their lives. I've also been through this healing myself. And on this podcast, I want to help you eat with confidence, embrace your body, form aligned relationships, and create a life that you're in love with. I'll share actionable tools, no bullshit stories and interviews that will remind you why you have everything you need within you to feel whole, full and alive. Are you ready? Let's get into it.


Hey, welcome back to another episode of Whole, Full & Alive, the podcast helping you feed yourself, feel yourself and be yourself. Thanks so much for tuning into today's episode. I've got a short and spicy and hopefully very potent solo episode coming at you today. I am gonna be talking about body image and this is inspired by a whole bunch of listener questions I got about body image as we are heading into the summer season. A lot of people tend to feel more sticky about body image as we head into warmer weather, hotter months, jean shorts season, if you will. I posted a question sticker on my Instagram last week asking what questions you have about body image. And a lot of what I got was pertaining to just dealing with the stress of body image as we head towards the summer. And so, I am going to give you a toolbox and some ideas I have about body image as we move towards the summer season. 


And before we dive into today's episode, I want to invite you to drop into your body. It's too common that we go from body negativity to body avoidance. And it's important to remember that body avoidance is not a solution for body negativity. We can't live our life avoiding our bodies. And I know it's really tempting if you're feeling negatively about your body, if you're feeling resistance to your body, it's very tempting to just avoid your body altogether, to avoid your reflection, to avoid feeling into your skin. But if we live in body avoidance, we miss out on all of the greatest pleasures of life. We miss out on the most deep pleasures and sensations and feelings and living fully. And we also missed the opportunity to feel a real authentic sense of body confidence. And I know that that is what so many people listening to the show desire. We want to feel whole, full and alive. 


So to start, we're going to practice stepping out of body avoidance. And I'm going to acknowledge that that might not feel like a super easy thing to do. And if this doesn't feel easy, this little practice that I'm going to give you right now, I feel you. I see you. I get you. And I celebrate you for tuning in and giving this a try. So here we go. Wherever you're tuning in from, whether you are multitasking or just listening to this show, start by taking a few deep breaths and also touching our body, if that's accessible. If you are not driving, if you are not, if this is not gonna be a dangerous thing for you to do, I invite you to trace the outline of your body with your hands. And what I mean by that is just bringing your palms to kind of rub your arms, rub your legs, rub your shoulders, maybe the top of your head. Sort of tracing the outline of you, the outline that is you. And then let your hands land on a place where your body could use a little love, where it feels comfortable. Maybe you're giving yourself a hug. Maybe you just have your hands on your legs. Maybe you're holding, cradling your neck or your arms. And we're going to take two deep breaths here. Take an inhale and feel your back expand as your lungs fill up. And then exhale, let it go. One more time, deep breath in, feel your back expand as your lungs fill up. And then exhale, let it go. See if you can spend the rest of this episode in your body. And maybe you stay in your body by like keeping one of your hands on your arm if that's accessible to you. Again, I know a lot of people multitask while they listen to podcasts, but try to just come back to your body as much as you can. Continually practice coming back into your body, staying in your body. 


All right, before I dive into the juice of today's episode. I also want to remind you that I host three monthly community support groups. I host one about body image called Unfck Your Body Image. I host one about nutrition called Make Meals Easy. And I host one about stress relief called Deep Relief. These groups are open to anyone. You can find the information about them at the link in the show notes and also on my website, fullsoulnutrition.com. Really supportive community space capped at around 10 to 15 people would love to have you at the May groups if you're listening to this in real time or at the group of whatever month you happen to be listening to this episode in. And if you're interested in working with me one-on-one, I have about one space open for one-on-one counseling right now. I will help you feed yourself, feel yourself and be yourself in the most customized way possible. I provide a combination of nutrition counseling, body image coaching and self-confidence counseling using a toolkit of nutrition counseling as a registered dietitian and some somatic healing modalities like breath work and energy healing. And if you are interested in that at all, you can book a free consultation. We can hop on a call and see if it feels like a good fit for you. And stay tuned because I'm gonna be announcing my next retreat very, very soon. I am very, very excited. Those are all the announcements I have today. 


Let's dive into the juice of today's episode. Body image as we head into the summer months. Let me start by telling you that I am coming off of the heels of a closet clean out right now. I just went through all of my shorts and a lot of my jean shorts don't fit me anymore. A lot of the jean shorts that I wore last summer do not fit my here and now body. And I am not going to lie to you. It sucks when you try to put those things on those jean shorts that you wore last summer and they're stiff as heck. And also it's like, OK, I really don't want to buy new jeans. And I'm not going to pretend that I don't get annoyed and that I don't feel sticky and that I don't feel this sense of like, I have to go buy new shorts really when that kind of stuff happens. And so I want to open up this episode by just reminding you how not alone you are. So many of my clients have spoken to me about this this week and I've just experienced it in my life. And what helps me when I'm feeling the stickiness of like these shorts that I really enjoyed wearing last summer don't seem like they're gonna be working this summer is validating that it's annoying. 


First of all, it's allowed to suck. It's allowed to be a little unfair and it's allowed to be annoying. We don't have to put a unicorn rainbow bandaid on it and be like, I am beautiful. It's okay. It's all good. you know, the affirmation of clothes are supposed to fit your body. Your body's not supposed to fit your clothes is important. It's really important. And I know it falls flat in the moment of the closet clean out when it's feeling super fiery that your clothes aren't fitting. And so what we can do is validate ourselves and then ask ourselves, what is it that I really need right now? What is it that I really need right now? And that is kind of the main theme that I wanna focus on throughout this episode when we're standing in the fiery fire of a negative body image moment, when we're feeling like our shorts from last summer are not gonna work this summer, when we're just generally feeling self-conscious when we're feeling bleh, when we're feeling off about our bodies and it's causing anxiety about the summer season, it's causing anxiety about wearing a bathing suit, it's causing anxiety about whatever. We need to identify what it is we actually need and how we can give it to ourselves because this is not a lost cause. There is something that we can do about our body image. There is something that we can do about our body image anxiety. This is not a lost cause. 


I know there's some content out there that kind of gives this air of like, throw your hands up in the air, like we're all dealing with this and it sucks. And that is true. Like I just said about the jean shorts, we are all dealing with this. We are all dealing with some degree of body dysmorphia and we live in a very fucked up society that's very fat phobic, very thin-centric, very much Oprah standing on a stage telling us that there's a thinner you inside of all of you. Like we live in a world that is throwing all these messages at us constantly. And so yes, of course, to some extent, there is just gonna be this diet-y culture and this fat-phobic culture that we're all swimming in that doesn't mean that we don't have the capacity to feel confident in our bodies. And that doesn't mean that we don't have the capacity to experience body love. It's okay if you want to actually love your body. It's okay if you want to feel more than neutral about your body. And it's okay if you want to do more than just accept that we live in a society that's a little messed up. We do need to accept that. And we do need to arrive at a place of neutrality before we can go to positivity. We can't skip from feeling really, really negative just to feeling really, really positive all of a sudden, but it is possible to feel confident and feel positive about your body and to feel embodied. 


And let's not confuse what I just said with it is possible for you to lose as much weight as you want to lose, right? Like you feeling sexy and confident and comfortable in your body is not dependent on you being thin. Because we live in a world that is very celebratory of thinness, perhaps you having certain privileges and you being viewed a certain way by certain people is dependent on you being thin. Yeah, perhaps you being viewed in a certain way by certain people is dependent on you losing weight. But I'm here to tell you that your sense of body confidence and embodiment and peace with your body is not dependent on you losing weight. It is dependent on you identifying what you need and giving it to yourself. 


So let's dive into how can we identify what we need in these moments of fiery body image anxiety that are coming up leading into the summer. I will use my not fitting into my shorts thing as an example for illustration and to just, you know, see you eye to eye and be like, yeah, I'm here. I get it too, because this is something that comes up for me as well. Body image anxiety stings way less than it used to and happens way less frequently for me now. And it comes in waves because my relationship with my body is a relationship. And like all relationships, we go through ups and downs and we go through little ruptures and repairs and your relationship with your body is kind of like a relationship with another person. So even as you heal, even as you start to feel more comfortable, cozy and confident in your body, there will be these blips and these ups and downs. But as you go through the ups and downs, the relationship will become deeper, just like your relationship with another person becomes deeper as you go through time and go through ups and downs. So anyway, that's where I'm coming from. 


Let's get into the tools. How can you identify what you need as you go through the sticky body image moments leading up to the summer? We're gonna tune into a three part framework here. We're gonna tune into what we need rationally and intellectually, what we need somatically in our bodies and what we need emotionally. And let's not forget that body image anxiety, like all anxiety in general, is rooted in fear. It's a feeling of fear. We're afraid of being out of control. We're afraid of not being good enough. We're afraid of what people will think. And fear can be such a stunting thing. Fear can be such a stifling thing. Fear can be a thing that prevents us from feeling fully alive. And so we need to do what we can to bring ourselves out of that fear and back into a regulated state. So that's kind of what we're doing here. So we're asking, what do we need rationally? What do we need somatically? And what do we need emotionally?


When I'm standing in the mirror and my shorts from last summer are not fitting and some fiery body image anxiety starts to fire off, first I can go to what do I need rationally? And that can happen in like a notebook, that can happen in my mind, that can happen in a conversation out loud with someone. But rationally what I need is to remember that my body is designed to fluctuate I live in a human body and I can take care of my body through eating balanced meals and exercising and sleeping, drinking water, hydrating, doing skincare, practicing stress relief. I can do all the things and there are genetic and environmental and biological and metabolic factors that are going to prevent me from being able to completely control my body shape and size. I am a human. I am a woman at childbearing age. I am going to go through body fluctuations. My body will change. I will never be able to completely control my body shape or size. And if I were to attempt to try to completely control my body shape and size, I would end up in an unhealthy place. 


Certainly mentally, because I'd be going crazy trying to completely control it and control all the things I ate and control the way I move and just be constantly thinking about my size in the mirror. And I'd probably physically be in an unhealthy state too with blocked digestion and not enough energy and yada yada. So rationally, I can say, all right, I'm in a fluctuating human body and I don't really have a choice to completely control my body shape and size. I'm doing what I can to be in my strongest and healthiest body and I can't completely control or manipulate or decide my body shape and size. 


And on a rational level, I also need to remind myself of the society that I live in. The society that praises thinness, the society where there is a lot of fake photos and then there's a lot of fake bodies because of plastic surgery and I'm standing in the mirror looking at myself in these shorts that no longer fit and comparing myself to a fake world and comparing myself to manipulated photos and manipulated bodies. And then also just all of the hoopla about, about losing weight and prioritizing thinness and demonizing weight gain. And so I'm just swimming in the muck of this diet-y culture that we live in and this fake body culture that we live in. I can't compare my natural body to bodies that are manipulated by plastic surgery or Photoshop. And I can't expect myself to be reflexively thinking positive thoughts about my body that has gained weight when I'm living in the culture that I live in, when I'm living in the world that you and I live in. And so rationally, I can remember, okay, yeah, if that's where I'm coming from, of course I feel this way. So that's the rational piece of what I need. 


And then we go into the somatic piece. What do I need in my body right now? And that usually presents as like, what do I need to feel a little bit safer? Right? Cause maybe I'm feeling tightness in my chest. Maybe I'm feeling tightness in my shoulders. Maybe I'm feeling stress in my body and I need a few deep breaths. Maybe that's it. Maybe that's the extent of what I need somatically. Or maybe I'm hungry. Maybe I have low blood sugar. Maybe I'm really thirsty. Maybe I've been sitting too long today and I need to go for a walk outside and maybe I need to hear the birds and open a window and get some fresh air. I have to ask myself, what do I need somatically? So this isn't a stepwise thing, by the way. It's not like first rationally, then somatically. It's just like, we just need to make sure we're checking in with all three of these things.


So somatically, what do I need to feel safe in my body? I think in the moment when I tried on my shorts earlier, I really just needed a good dance. I needed a good kitchen dance break. I needed to shake off some stress. I actually tried to try on all my clothes after getting back from like a sweaty day outside. I had started to try them on because I was like, I need to start wearing shorts. It's actually getting kind of hot here in Lisbon. So I was sweaty, I was sticky, I was blah. And I just needed to like shake out some stress by putting on a good song and probably drink a glass of water too. Like somatically, that's what I needed. And also my body's been feeling a little bit out of whack lately because I haven't been getting enough sleep. And so that is another thing that I needed. And most of the time when I sleep better, my mood is better and my perception of myself is better. I can't trust the way I see myself when I don't sleep well. So that's the somatic piece. 


And then emotionally, what do you need? And this is the deepest one. And here's how I recommend identifying what you need emotionally. If a child was struggling with what you're struggling with in this moment. How would you speak to that child? And it's really powerful to imagine yourself as a child and put a picture of yourself as a child on your mirror if you can. And imagine she's feeling stressed about not fitting in her shorts from last summer. What would you say to her? What does she need to hear? It might be something related to her body, it might be something like, bodies are meant to change. All bodies are beautiful. Your human body, your fluctuating body is worthy and deserving. It might be like, you are so loved. You are so, so, so loved. Let yourself live. Go play. Let yourself breathe. Let yourself be alive. But that's the essence of what we need emotionally in that moment is like, what would a child who's feeling uncomfortable or unsafe in their body need to hear? And you've got to give yourself that thing. Maybe you say it in the mirror, maybe you write it down in a notebook, maybe you say it out loud to a friend, like, I'm feeling like I just really need to hear this. You're venting about it to a partner or a therapist. Like, that is what we need emotionally.


And I'm not saying necessarily that you're gonna stand in front of the mirror and do like all of these like right then and there like, like rationally, what do I need? Somatically, what do I need? Emotionally, what do I need? But if we're getting to a place where we don't have our needs met on all three of these levels, of course, our body image distress is only gonna get worse. Of course it's gonna feel really difficult to move into the summer. Can you keep taking inventory of rationally and intellectually what do I need to work through this? Somatically what does my body need to feel good through this and what does my body need to feel a little bit safer and a little more anchored? And then emotionally what do I need to hear? 


Because again, body image anxiety, like all anxiety, is rooted in fear. And all fear at the end of the day comes down to like, we're afraid to not be in control and we're afraid to not be good enough. My yoga teacher actually said that the other day. She decided to make fear the theme of class, which I was like, all right, interesting. But I thought it was really brilliant. One of the things she said was like, yeah, all fear, pretty much everything that we fear is related to not being in control and not being a good and not being good enough. We're afraid to not be in control and we're afraid to not be good enough. And yeah, I've kind of been thinking about that ever since class. And I feel like if we're going to try to address this, not being in control thing, it's the stuff that makes us feel safe in our body that helps us make peace with not being in control. 


And it's also like spiritual practices that help us make peace with the things that we can't control. And that's kind of speaks to the emotional piece. And when it comes to not being good enough, I think all these same things apply to like, we do have to rationally remember what is messed up about the world we live in and why we rationally are good enough. And we need to speak to our inner little about why we are good enough. And we need to cultivate an anchor into a somatic sense of safety in our bodies to remember that we are good enough.


I want to keep talking about body image throughout the summer and dealing with body image in the summer. This is just one way to get started on healing. If you're feeling a little bit lost in the sauce with this right now, you are not alone. My shorts do not fit. Can you ask yourself, what do I need? Intellectually, what does my body need and what do I need emotionally? These are kind of the three components of our intuition - our mind, our body, our soul, our instincts, our emotions, our rational thoughts. I think people tend to think of intuition as this magical message or this magical force that like rains down upon you from the universe, but your intuition is actually this peaceful interplay between rationality, emotions, and your gut instincts in your body. We need our brains, we need our bodies, and we need our hearts. And these three things together are going to help us move through fear and conquer fear and operate from a place of intuition rather than from a place of anxiety, make decisions from a place of intuition rather than a place of anxiety. And I really do believe that tapping into your intuition is such a beautiful tool for healing body image and being able to access that real sense of body confidence. 


And whatever you identify you need, rationally, somatically, and emotionally, it's important to take actions that are in alignment with those needs. So I wonder if you do think about what does my body need right now? What do I need intellectually right now? What do I need emotionally right now? If you create a list of habits, a list of rituals, a list of practices, a list of things that help you honor those needs, would you start feeling better in your body? I know for sure what I'm gonna do is make sure I engage with content that supports and recognizes body diversity. I want to make sure that my feed is full of people in all body shapes and sizes to just keep normalizing that in my brain. Somatically, I'm gonna get more sleep. I am definitely going to get more sleep, and I'm also not gonna do a closet clean out when I'm feeling icky and sticky. I'm gonna do a closet clean out when I'm feeling like face masked and bathed and like I've got like some essential oils on and I'm like lighting an incense and playing calming music because that's when I feel like self-compassion is more of a reflex. Self-compassion isn't a reflex when I'm completely burnt out and exhausted for the most part. 


And emotionally based on, you know, what my inner little needs to hear, which is that she is worthy of love. I am going to take actions that remind me that I'm worthy of love and I'm gonna feed myself well. I'm gonna eat balanced meals. I'm gonna have some slow mornings and I'm gonna give myself a break and I'm gonna play. I'm gonna dance in my kitchen. I'm gonna let myself have fun even when I don't feel like all the messes are cleaned up yet. I'm gonna make sure I pull over for a little bit of joy and play and fun and just through taking that action remind myself that I'm worthy of that.


Let me know how this is landing with you and if other questions are popping up as we move into summer body image. I hope you enjoyed this short and sweet solo episode. I hope this episode served you. If it did, please leave a five -star rating on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts, or share this episode with someone, or, and reach out to me and let me know and don't hesitate to send me follow up questions as well. I love that this podcast is a community and that you connect with me and let me know what you're thinking about the episodes. All right, I'll be back here next week with a guest. Until then, I hope you have a peaceful rest of your day. Take some deep breaths and be kind to yourself and talk to yourself the way you would talk to a little one. Or a dog. Or someone else you just want to be super cute and cozy with and affirming for. Alright, bye.


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