ETR 186: How NOT to respond to bad body days (Body Image Series)

SummerBody Image, Eat the Rules, Self-Love, Self-Worth

Podcast on How NOT to respond to bad body days
How NOT to respond to bad body days

In this episode of Eat the Rules, I’m talking about how NOT to respond to bad body days, as part of the Body Image Series.

I also examine the things we’re typically told to do to change our thoughts and why you should avoid them, plus the question to ask yourself to start to work on changing your negative body thoughts.

In This Episode, I Chat About

  • Potential sources of negative body thoughts and bad body days, and how they’re exacerbated during the pandemic,
  • The THREE things we’re typically told to do to change our thoughts and why you should avoid them,
  • A way to visualize how your brain evolves to think about self-doubt and self-compassion,
  • How our negative thoughts tend to stick more than the positive ones,
  • How our inner-critic is an innocent part of us that exists to protect us from threats,
  • The TWO things that need to happen in order for our thoughts to change,
  • The importance of working with your inner-critic,
  • The ONE question to ask yourself to start to work on changing your negative body thoughts,
  • Plus so much more!

Stream it Here

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Links Mentioned in Show


This episode of eat the rules is brought to you by you on fire you on fire is the online group coaching program that I run that gives you a step by step way of building up your self worth beyond your appearance, with personalized coaching from me incredible community support and lifetime access to the program so that you can get free from body shame and live life on your own terms. Get details on what’s included and sign up for the next cycle at summer forward slash you on fire, I’d love to have you in that group. This is eat the rules, a podcast about body image self worth, anti dieting, and intersectional feminism. I am your host summer Innanen, a professionally trained coach specializing in body image self worth and confidence and the best selling author of body image remix. If you’re ready to break free of societal standards and stop living behind the number on your scale, then you have come to the right place.

Welcome to the show. This is episode 186. And this is another segment of the body image series. And I’m talking about how not to respond to negative thoughts about your body. You can find all the links and resources mentioned in this episode at summer, forward slash 186. We’re going to be talking about some great things today, including why a lot of the traditional advice around how to change your thoughts doesn’t really work, why I don’t really advise those things. And what you really need to do to change your thoughts plus some other great stuff. First, I want to give a shout out to Kay Simone who left this awesome review, you have changed my mindset. Finally, after listening to you for a year, even two old episodes while you were on maternity leave, I have a different and more positive thoughts about my body. Regardless of what it looks like. I’m like, Wow, I’m still great because I list all the great things I’m doing in my life and the great things my body is doing. Of course, I sometimes regressed to earlier thinking but your posts and podcasts get me back on track. Love you. Thank you so much. I really, really appreciate that. That’s so kind of you. And I’m so happy that it’s been helpful for you. Before we get into this episode, if you haven’t already done so I would love it. If you left a review for the show, you can do that by going to iTunes, search for eat the rolls, and then click to leave a review or a rating. And you can leave a review. That’s always more appreciated than a rating but our rating is good too. And you can also help out the show by subscribing. You can do that by subscribing via whatever platform you use to listen to podcasts, whether that is Stitcher, Spotify, Apple, podcasts, YouTube, whatever else. And if you haven’t already done so make sure you grab the free 10 Day body confidence makeover at summer Forward slash freebies with 10 steps to take right now to feel better in your body. I am super excited about this episode. And it’s coming at such a good time because I myself was actually having a lot of negative thoughts recently. And you know, I think that the source of it was really twofold for myself. One was just burnout. Actually, I think it can all go under the umbrella of burnout. This is really interesting, I find that for a lot of people, the burnout really leads to a major increase in negative thoughts. This actually wasn’t even what I was gonna talk about in this episode. So it’s a little added bonus piece here. But burnout really leads leads to an increase in negative thoughts. And because we’re living in the pandemic, and even though the circumstances of the pandemic have become normal for us, that’s anything but normal. And you know, a lot of the things that we’re missing out on whether that be social interactions, or travel or, you know, time with family and friends, or being able to have access to your regular coping mechanisms, whether that’s like, I don’t know, like a social group that you’re a part of, or a gym that you go to, or whatever it is not having that really increases the negative thoughts that we have, because we’re missing out on all these things that really fill our cup and fill our, you know, just like our self care and are and the things that honor our values, which all influenced the way that we feel about ourselves. And for me, I was getting really burned out and it was because of the way my schedule was set up. My sleep got really messed up and going through a bit of a existential crisis personally, which maybe I’ll talk about at another point in time. Everything’s fine by the way, it’s just kind of grappling with like major life decisions. All of that was creating a lot of anxiety and it completely disrupted my sleep. And so I was only sleeping maybe like six hours a night if I was lucky. And then I would try to sort of have like a 15 minute lay down during the day. But it just it compounded. And over the course of doing that for about three weeks, I got to the point where like I was, I was so anxious, and my negative thoughts were so loud. And I was literally thinking that, like, everybody hated me, and like, What is wrong with me. And so fortunately, fortunately, I was able to identify that and say, Hey, wait a minute, like, I am not feeling good right now, what is really going on, I’m exhausted. And so I, my husband, and I rearranged my schedule, so that I would be able to sleep longer, and you know, just work slightly different times. And, and over, within, within a matter of like four days, I felt like a new person, because I was just so sleep deprived. And so I don’t, it’s not always like that quick of a fix. But if your sleep is bad, like if you’re not sleeping enough, if you’re exhausted, if you’re burned out, your negative thoughts are going to be really loud. And it doesn’t really matter what you do to try to change them. If you don’t get to the root of that, which is like trying to heal the burnout, it becomes really hard to try to manage them. So I feel like that’s just helpful. That isn’t really what I wanted to talk about here. But it is sort of a segue to what we are talking about today, which is how to not respond to negative thoughts. But the point being is that like, if that’s an issue for you, sometimes you have to make kind of changes that feel that in order to like prioritize your rest and prioritize you just feeling like more like more human in order to then have yourself feel better about yourself and have your anxieties reduce and your negative thoughts go down. And yeah, it was just a huge lesson to me that I just was sort of putting myself on the back burner, because a bunch of stuff that was going on. And in classic summer Innanen style, I waited until I was like totally at rock bottom before I was like, Okay, I need to make a change. But then literally, within a matter of four days, I’m like I’m a new person again, I feel so good. So it makes a huge difference. Okay, let’s get into today’s episode, we’re talking about how not to respond to negative thoughts about your body. This is another episode episode of the body image series. And I’m going to be talking about the three things that we’re typically told to do to change our thoughts and why I generally advise you to avoid avoid those things. We’re going to be talking about the two things that need to happen in order for our thoughts to change. And then the one question you that you need to ask yourself every day to start to work on changing your negative body thoughts. And I wanted to talk about this because so much of what I teach as it relates to helping people accept their body and detach their worth from their appearance is about changing their beliefs, and in particular learning to work through negative thoughts. And when I talk about negative thoughts, I’m talking about the umbrella of all the different ways that manifests whether that is being critical about your body, having that negative chatter in your head all the time, that all or nothing thinking that perfectionist thinking that control freak voice in your head. All of those are characterized as negative thoughts. And when I work with people, I noticed that they’re being told to do various things with their negative thoughts. But they’re not always great solutions. They’re more, they’re more like band aids of toxic positivity. That’s the way I wanted to describe it. So we want to avoid bandaids of toxic positivity. And instead, we want to get to the root of what’s really going on in order to change how we feel and change the beliefs we have. And so what I see is a lot of people putting Band Aid solutions on the issue like trying to say a positive affirmation to your cellulite, that doesn’t work. And so I’m going to talk about the three things that we want to avoid. And I lost him I talked about how negative thoughts about our body are not our fault. And I talked about the reasons why we feel bad in our bodies. But today we’re going to talk about how to change those thoughts and things that don’t really work. And before I dive into those things, I just wanted to give you a bit of a visual to help you understand what’s going on inside your brain. And by the way, this is like not very scientific, but also kind of true. So kind of scientific. So just take it with a it’s just a helpful analogy, but it actually is partially true to the way that our our minds operate, I want you to think about just have a visual right now of your brain split in half. Okay, and I want you to imagine that half of your brain is the voice of your inner critic. So the voice of self doubt, that’s the negative chatter. And then I want you to imagine the other half of your brain as being this compassionate voice and the voice that’s really kind that’s gentle, that’s like, alright, it’s okay. Everything’s gonna be alright, you got this. And when you think about your brain split this way, you know, when you’re born into this world, both the sides are pretty much, you know, empty. And what happens is, is that based on what we’re exposed to based on what we internalize those sides get filled up, or they get deep depleted. And so if you think about it, like when you’re born into this world, the messages that we start to receive about our culture, from the people around us, and just from our environment, start to fill up that that side of our inner critic that that voice of self doubt, you know, we start to learn that like, Oh, you’re not good enough, or oh, you know, thinner bodies are more attractive, that that’s better that as you know, if you’re a woman, that, you know, your, your worth is really about being desirable, and you should kind of, you know, Oh, don’t be too loud. And all that stuff, we start to, we start to learn those things, it fills up the voice of, of self doubt, because we internalize it, and then we start to affirm it in ourselves. That’s where that that negative chatter comes from. Because we’re essentially just regurgitating these, these things that we’ve learned from our culture. And that’s the voice of our sheds of our criticisms of our unrealistic expectations, the perfectionist voice, you know, it’s the voice that says, like, oh, you know, you didn’t get through your to do list, like, what’s wrong with you, you shouldn’t be on the couch right? Now you need to get up and like, keep working, or whatever, you know, your voice manifest says. And if you think about it, like that side is really getting filled up, often all the time. And as we internalize those things, we just strengthen it, and we make it louder. And those thoughts tend to stick a lot more than any kind of positive ones. You know, the, I remember reading a book a long time ago, I think it was called the Buddha’s Brain where they said that negative thoughts are like Velcro, and positive thoughts are like Teflon, so they just slide right off. So if someone says something negative to you, it really sticks like Velcro, whereas if someone says something positive to you, it just slides right off, like Teflon. And so we have to work extra hard to fill up this compassionate and kind side. And so depending on how we were raised, we might have received a lot of, you know, just like affirmation in ourselves and knowing that we aren’t good enough, but a lot of us maybe didn’t and, and for a lot of us, it probably wasn’t enough to kind of offset what was what we were really internalizing from our culture and other experiences. And so when I ask clients, I’m like, you know, who is filling up this compassionate side of your brain, you know, who is giving you these kinds of messages, not our society, you know, we have to be filling that side up. And so when I ask people that they’re usually like, nobody’s filling that side for me, I’m not filling that side for me either. And so so much of the work I do with people is really about learning to work with and reduce that side of the inner critic to to loosen its power, less than its power, I guess, I should say, and pump up the side of your compassionate side, like really strengthen that like a muscle to create a much better balance, where we’re able to be kinder and more gentler to ourselves as a go to response. And that really builds a sense of acceptance and a belief that we’re good enough. And so I just want to give you that visual, because it’s kind of the framework for you know, how those thoughts work, and why it is so hard to change negative thoughts and why we have to really actively work towards it. But let’s talk about the things that don’t work. So when you get a negative thought, let’s say you get a thought, like,

you know, you just look so terrible today, a lot of times, we’re given three different ways to respond to that, you know, most kind of mainstream advice is going to tell you to just ignore that voice. Or it’s going to tell you, Oh, just tell your inner critic to shut up, just tell it to shut up. Or you’ll just put a positive affirmation on it. No, just say the opposite. Like, No, you look beautiful. And most people I know, have tried one of these, they kind of rely on one of these. And I will say that sometimes they do work in the short term. But if that’s all you’re doing, and you’re not really dealing with what’s actually going on what’s actually kind of causing that thought to come to the surface in the first place. And you’re still struggling with the way you feel I’m not surprised, those things don’t typically work. And the reason for that is because there are mostly avoidance tactics. They’re all different ways that we kind of attempt to shut down that negative voice. And we end up avoiding what’s really underneath it, that’s kind of coming to the surface and saying, Hey, I need some attention, which is the most important thing that you want to attend to, when that that’s happening in the moment. And those those three things that I mentioned. So, you know, ignoring your inner critic telling your inner critic to shut up or just slapping a positive affirmation on it. They’re all forms of toxic positivity or spiritual bypassing. And if you’re unfamiliar with those terms, I’ll just give you a quick like Wikipedia type definition. Toxic positivity is like the good vibes only message. So, you know, it suggests that no matter what you’re going through, you need to keep a positive attitude. And like there’s nothing wrong with having an optimistic and positive attitude, but we want to acknowledge when there’s like actual difficult feelings there and make space for those two, and then the and sorry, I meant to mention toxic positivity is really harmful in the content. Excessive weight discrimination because it suggests that like a person just needs to smile and deal with it and just be positive and like, Fuck no, no, you don’t know, that’s not okay. And so usually when we rely on a tactic like that, it causes us to feel bad for feeling bad, it causes us to minimize and push away our feelings. And that doesn’t help it because then our feelings just build up and become this big dumpster fire. And then spiritual bypassing is when we use spiritual tactics to kind of bypass and push away our real feelings. Like it’s kind of like this idea that like anger is toxic, or like, you just need love and light. You know, that’s, again, just kind of minimizing, avoiding pushing away your feelings. And so let me tell you why we don’t want to avoid those things. And why those tactics of avoidance are problematic. Our inner critic is actually a very innocent part of us, that exists to protect us from threats. So we all have it. And when we try to shut it down, we ended up shutting down how we’re feeling. And we lose the opportunity to explore how, why we might be feeling this way and try to heal that part of ourselves. So instead of asking, like, hey, inner critic, why are you here? Like, why are you telling me that I look terrible? Today, we tell we were just like, hey, just ignore it shut up, shut up. But really, like, there’s a lot of really good information there that we might want to that we do want to explore. And and I’m not going to go like too too much into this right now, I’m kind of talking about it at a very high level. But when I work with people like we really go deep into that, to really identify like the source of that, to be able to heal that part of ourselves. Because usually it’s coming from a part of ourselves that is more sensitive, that really needs some tending to that needs to heal, and it’s coming from a place of fear. But what we want to do is try to see the innocence of that negative voice because it really is just trying to protect us. And when we can understand the reason that our inner critic is showing up and make space for those feelings, it becomes a lot easier to respond to it versus ignoring it and hoping that it’ll just go away. And every time that we respond to it, it really gives us the opportunity to strengthen that compassionate side of our brain, right? That is what we want to be actively working on and strengthening in order to be better equipped to care for ourselves in moments of struggle. And so when we tell that part of the our inner critic to shut up, or we ignore it, we’re kind of like hating on a part of ourselves. Like, it’s like dismissing this internal cry for help. It’s like kind of like telling a child like, Hey, you’re fine, you’re fine, you’re fine, when like, they’re not fine, and they need their feelings to be heard. And it’s reinforcing this message of like, okay, your feelings don’t matter, you’re fine. And that’s, that’s just not helpful because your feelings do matter. Your feelings are so important. And, you know, when we’re walking around in our heads all the time, we have to start to acknowledge our feelings and to become in order to become really more embodied and truly, like, accept all of who we are. And so the two things that need to happen in order for our thoughts to change is, number one, we have to acknowledge how we’re feeling and be curious about why we’re feeling that way. Okay, like, Hey, I’m feeling really ashamed right now, like, why am I feeling this way. And then the second thing we want to do is actively feed the compassionate side of our brain, like that is so critical, we want to be working, you know, with the voice of our inner critic, not trying to eliminate it, knowing that it’s always going to be there and aiming for balance versus trying to eliminate it. And we want to accept that there’s difficult emotion sometimes versus trying to force ourselves to be positive. And then we want to, like, actively work on really being compassionate to ourselves and feeding that side of our brain that is like, so I cannot highlight that enough. I think I said it 14 times there. But it’s true. And there’s a lot of different ways that you can do that. When I work with people, it’s pretty individual, depending on what really resonates in response to them. Because some people it comes more naturally and other people it feels kind of forced, and there’s ways that you can do it. And it’s really about like thoughts and behaviors that you can do to strengthen that compassionate side. And then I wanted to talk about the one question that you can ask yourself to really start to change your negative thoughts. And that is, you know, what am I actually doing to respond to these negative thoughts? You know, what am I doing to respond to these negative thoughts today? And is it helping is a sub question? That’s just it’s a simple question. Because if your answer is like, well, I don’t really do anything to respond to them, then, then there’s an opportunity there for you to start to do some stuff to actually, you know, work with that voice and start to build up that compassionate side. So that’s just a question to ask yourself, like, what am I what, what am I doing to respond to these thoughts? And I’ll tell you, I don’t tell you this to make you feel ashamed. If you’re not doing anything. That’s usually what I hear from people. When I meet with them. I’m like, and how do you respond to that negative thought and they’re like, whoa, I don’t I just tried to kind of ignore it. But that, like I said that that’s not super helpful. Sometimes it works. But if that’s all you’re doing, and you’re not really getting to, like the root of why you’re feeling that way, and what the kind of feelings and fears are underneath that, then it doesn’t actually help that much in the long term. And so that is a wrap on this episode, it’s a little shorter, because I did this one as a live video. And I wanted to keep it a little more succinct than some of the other body image series episodes and there’s a couple more coming up that are going to be really awesome, including what to do if you intellectually get this intellectually get this stuff, but don’t embody it, and why acceptance can feel so scary and counterintuitive, and why we might kind of resist that is the idea of accepting our bodies. And so that’s, that’s all I wanted to cover today. You know, feel free to DM me or on you know, on Instagram or whatever. If you have more questions or head on over to the video on on my Facebook Live, which you would have got a link to if you are on my email list, or if you just go to my Facebook business page, which is Innanen. Coach, then you’ll see the video there and you can watch it again and ask some questions and I’ll loop around make sure I answer them all. And if you want you can go to summer Innanen Duck comm forward slash 185 to get Sorry 186186 to get all the links and resources mentioned in this episode, and I will be back with another one soon. Thank you so much for being here today and listening rock on.

I’m Summer Innanen And I want to thank you for listening today. You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook at summer Innanen. And if you haven’t yet, go to Apple podcasts search eat the rules and subscribe rate and review this show. I would be so grateful. Until next time, rock on

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