8 Habits to Drop for a Better Body Image

body image breaking the rules embodiment habits inner critic podcast Jan 31, 2023

I’m excited to share this week’s podcast with you!


I help you identify and break free from 8 habits that can be holding us back from truly experiencing the freedom of our body.


Habits are a natural part of life, but they become unconscious and we don’t always see the harm they are causing us.


Here’s your sneak perk:


The 8 habits to drop for a better body image are ⤵️


  1.  Comparing your body to others
  2.  Negative self-talk
  3.  Feeling guilty for eating certain foods
  4.  Striving for an ideal body type
  5.  Unrealistic beauty standards
  6.  Judging your worth on your looks
  7.  Feeling ashamed of your body
  8.  Neglecting your body



Listen HERE and learn the question I use to pivot away from these habits and find liberation along the way. 



Hello everyone and welcome to the 9th episode of season 1 of SELF guided: 

8 Habits to Drop for a Better Body Image


This episode is being released just before February and I have so many fun things lined up for you all. The first is that if you missed the first Body Image Reset Workshop that I am hosting another one really really soon. It’s going to be Feb 9th at 6pm ET. All you have to do is register for the event and you’ll find the link at my website or at the trusty link in my instagram bio if that’s where you keep up with me.


The second is that I am bringing the foundations of the Full Body Image Reset to you all in a bite-size, mini group setting. It’s called the Kick-Starter program and it’s a great way for you to see if my approach and style is for you while getting everything you need to hit the ground running on your body image journey. I’ve taken the foundations of my one-on-one program and made them even more accessible in both price and commitment. We meet for 1 hour per week for 6 weeks in a small group where I teach you the concepts and we apply them in real time which means coaching and mentoring on the spot with additional support in-between via Slack.


You can check out both offers on my website: dominiquevandal.com or message me on the socials.


Back to today’s episode!


If what we want going forward is a healthier body image then we can look at what our current experience of our body image is and decide from there where we add a little more tenderness and acceptance. 


There’s a difference between believing that how you see and experience your body is an identity like I am weak or I am a nervous person AND seeing that so much of how you see and experience your body is habitual.


When I think of something as being habitual, I also see it as malleable, something that can be changed. When I see something as who I am, I find that much harder to wiggle free from.


While I recognize that habits need a little bit of work and attention (ok maybe a lot) to change them, I know it’s much more possible than to change my identity.


With that in mind, I also think it’s super useful to look at removing habits instead of adding habits into our lives. In my experience, it’s been liberating to just not have certain habits. What I will offer is a pivot whenever you find yourself in one of these habits, a simple pivot to replace them all.


Here are the 8 habits to drop like a hot potato to help us get started: 


1. Goodbye to comparing our bodies to others 


We have no idea how someone else sees their own body. We may think that they feel great about themselves but as someone who others thought she had a great body growing up, I can tell you that I never much liked it. Comparing your body to someone else’s won’t help you appreciate yours.


The brain is supposed to always be judging if things are safe and sometimes it does this by doing a comparison so if these bodies are accepted as safe to have in my group, culture, community, how does mine compare? It’s a habit of the mind, it’s probably really good at it but it’s not the most useful. It’s not actually using objective data to make it’s comparison and I’ve yet to see how this can be useful. Sure it’s a normal part of development but we don’t have to allow this habit to continue. So bye!


2. Goodbye to negative self-talk 


This is so very linked to comparing our bodies to other people because it’s typically what happens next. Once your brain has identified a supposed issue it will apply whatever programming it has that it thinks will save you from impending doom of being ostracized from the group. I’m guessing not everyone experiences negative self-talk but as someone all-too familiar with it I can say that it leaves me feeling shaken and  desperate like a parent just screamed at me. The only time it doesn’t feel this way is when I’ve adopted a “I’ll show you!” Attitude but it’s not real it’s to make myself feel bigger than I think I am in that moment.


If being bullies to ourselves worked to create the changes we want, it would have worked by now! Consider being kind to yourself (not permissive) and let me know how that goes 😊 Next!




3. Goodbye to feeling guilty for eating certain foods 


Guilt is not an emotion that’s going to help you make decisions that will pivot how you think about your body, it’s only going to drive you to do more things that you’ll feel guilty about. 


This feeling guilty for eating certain foods became a habit for many of us because of what we read in magazines and what we were told were healthy foods vs junk foods and what that means. It can also just be from what you’ve heard those around you say whenever they ate the food and made commentaries. What’s that ridiculous one? A minute on the lips and eternity on the hips? Whatever it is, not true, not useful. Maybe you were even made to feel guilty for eating a certain food instead of supported. The more you believed it to be true, that you should feel guilty, the more you experience it, it is known to your system and will be offered out of habit. 


4. Goodbye to striving for an ideal body shape and perfection 


It doesn’t exist! You are giving yourself an impossible task. What is possible to strive for more body awareness, you’re body will tell you what it needs.


Here’s my question to you why do you want to be that ideal body shape? Do you believe you will like your body and experience your body differently? Sometimes the answer here is yes, maybe you’ll have more mobility and range of motion so you’ll better be able to do an activity you crave to do. Sometimes, the answer is no. Here’s an example, I know a lot of women who decided to get breast augmentations to fit a body ideal, not one of them has a better relationship with their body today. Then if you’re an Enneagram One for instance and your main mental habit is to improve then you’ll always find something else to improve on your body unless you recognize it for what it is, a mental habit, interrupt the habit. 


All of these habit interruptions they won’t be fun, they’ll take some getting used to, it’s be a little uncomfortable. If you are working on your body image then you’re already uncomfortable but it’s not getting better. Doing this, going through this discomfort will actually make it better.


5. Goodbye to unrealistic beauty standards 


Everyone’s body is different, one standard could never do justice to the beauty that can be found through diversity. When you look at what the standards have been in the past they’ve changed drastically and who’s to say if any of the standards at any given time were useful for us? We now know that beauty standards do not and cannot represent each and every one of us which leaves us feeling unseen, often not valued. That’s not to mention the increased risk of body dysmorphia, eating disorders and other serious mental health conditions due to those beauty standards.


6. Goodbye to judging our own worth based on our physical appearance 


Your worth is in no way based on how you look, you are worthy simply because you exist. Let that sink in. 


Your body will change over time, your experience of your body will change over time, what your body is capable of will change over time. Do you want your self worth to keep fluctuating along side it? You don’t have to believe like I do that your worth always was and always will be infinite. 


If you’re going to chose to base your worth on something, you may want to spend some time really thinking of something that isn’t fully out of your control, something that no one can take away from you, something that is untouchable, something that can’t be judged. If you find something, let me know, I’d love to see what was revealed to you. But worth and physical appearance don’t belong together, let’s drop that habit to put mash them together.


7. Goodbye to feeling ashamed of our bodies 


Shame is part of that endless cycle along with guilt. Shame drives us to hide, and behave in ways we would then judge as shameful. You don’t have to go from being ashamed of your body to loving it but there’s lots of room in between those two emotions. 


Bodies are bodies are bodies. Their’s nothing shameful about them until we think that their is. If you’ve listened to some past episodes you’ll have heard me say this before. The brain will go for the programming that is most practiced because it’s easier, and takes less energy. Just because it’s known doesn’t mean you have to keep it. 


The habit of the brain is to offer you recycled thoughts that recreate a known state of being such as ashamed or guilt from number 3. That habit was learned and a new habit of the brain can replace it. Is there more to it than a simple pivot, yes, 100%, but this pivot that I will share after the next habit is going to give you some momentum, some relief. It’s worth a try for sure.


8. Goodbye to neglecting our bodies


If you find yourself in this category, it’s likely that you’ve experienced all or most of the previous habits and that it was painful, painful to the point that you did interrupt those habits with dissociating from your body.


It’s a coping mechanism, and it is useful while it’s necessary. It’s possible you chose to not think of your body and it’s also possible that you didn’t actually make a conscious decision here. 


What can happen with neglecting your body is that it’s fine until it’s not, right. That next time you want to do something and you’re just about to book your ticket for an amazing vacation but now, seemingly out of the blue, you’re reminded that you don’t like how you look or how you anything fits, whatever that is for you. Then you don’t purchase the ticket, you return to status quo but there’s always this low hum of discontent. 


Paying attention to your body is how you’ll find out how you can better take care of it with compassion and grace.


Alright now’s when you sing you’re favorite goodbye song, envision these habits dissipating and making room for the pivot.


The pivot to each of these habits is going to be “what else is also possible here”. Let’s try a few examples.


When you notice yourself comparing your body to other bodies, ask yourself, what else is also possible here? When I answer this question, I recognize that there are some really good benefits to being in my body ie whenever I’ve compared the size of my chest I remember that I’ve never experienced under boob sweat. There’s just as many great reasons to have every shape and size breasts.


When you notice yourself feeling guilty for eating certain foods, ask yourself, what else is also possible here? When I answer this question, I recognize that I fulfilled a need I had and that other emotions are available to me such as satiated. 


So go ahead, try the pivot for any of the 8 habits and share with me over on the socials some of what you come up with. I’ll share them with my followers whom I am sure will benefit as well. 


Here's to embracing our unique bodies and loving them for what they are!


Until next time,


Love to each and everyone!

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