By Jennifer Rollin, MSW, LCSW-C
‘Wow. I can’t believe I really look that bad. I’ve been fooling myself this whole time. I look disgusting.’
Sound familiar? Photos can be really triggering for people in eating disorder recovery.
Here’s a few tips on how to cope when you can’t stand a photo of yourself.
1. Recognize that it’s just one perspective of a moment in time.
There was a gorgeous sunset outside of my apartment. The sky was filled with pink and orange hues. I took out my iPhone to capture the moment. When I looked at the photo, it hardly looked like the same sky.
You couldn’t really see any colors in the sky. It looked kind of washed out. The picture was simply not able to capture the beauty of the sunset.
This is the same thing that happens with photos of you!
A photo is just a moment in time-not the full perspective of how you look, and more importantly doesn’t capture the beautiful soul which lies beneath.
2. Refocus on the memory being made.
Your eyes are hijacked by an eating disorder and will zoom in on any areas that you’ve deemed as ‘problems.’
Try to zoom out and think about the memory that you made in that moment.
When you look back on your life at age 90, it’s unlikely that you’ll be judging the size of your arm in the photo. Rather, you’re gonna be reflecting on the memories that you made and the fun times that you had.
Remember that a photo is to capture a memory-not a modeling contest or some kind of arbitrary beauty award.
What’s most important is that you were there.
3. Remind yourself that you are SO much more than your appearance.
Diet culture and eating disorders love to fixate on your body and appearance, but this is actually the least interesting thing about you.
You were put on this earth for a far greater purpose than ‘being thin’ or adhering to some BS societal standard of beauty.
I told a client once, ‘I don’t need you to fall in love with your body. I want you to fall in love with your life.’
The reality is that all of our bodies will change as we age and chasing after some illusive beauty standard is a recipe for unhappiness.
Instead, chase after your passions, strengthen your relationships, focus on being more present and joyful in the moment.
The Bottom Line
At the end of your life you can’t get back the time wasted spent bashing photos of yourself.
Think about some more self-accepting mantras that you can tell yourself when your inner critic starts picking apart your appearance in photos.
It does NOT matter how you look in photos. It matters that you were there to make a memory.
Are you ready to find freedom?
Book a free 15 min consultation.
The Eating Disorder Center is a premier outpatient eating disorder therapy center founded by Jennifer Rollin. We specialize in helping teens and adults struggling with anorexia, binge eating disorder, bulimia, OSFED, and body image issues. We provide eating disorder therapy in Rockville, MD, easily accessible to individuals in Potomac, North Potomac, Bethesda, Olney, Silver Spring, Germantown, and Washington D.C. We also offer eating disorder therapy virtually throughout California and New York (NYC) serving those in cities including Palo Alto, San Francisco, Newport Beach, Los Angeles, Woodland Hills, San Jose, and Beverly Hills. We provide eating disorder recovery coaching via Zoom to people worldwide. Connect with us through our website at www.theeatingdisordercenter.com
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The Eating Disorder Center
We are a premier outpatient eating disorder therapy center in Rockville, Maryland.