Have you ever had days where you felt happy with your body and then a few days later you look at yourself in the mirror and completely spiral? Maybe you look at old pictures from when you were in your sport and compare your then body to your now body? As a former athlete, I understand the struggle of accepting body changes after sport. It’s also completely human and normal to have negative body image days.
If you can relate to this, I want to share with you 31 journal prompts you can use for those negative body image days. These journal prompts will help you find the root cause of why you feel negatively towards your body, overcome the emotion in the moment and build body respect and acceptance moving forward.
Why can journaling be beneficial?
Journaling is a great way to clarify your actual thoughts and feelings. Often, when we are feeling negatively towards our bodies, there are many thoughts and feelings we are experiencing all at once. It can be difficult to calm down and think clearly. Taking a moment to calm down and reflect through actual written words can allow you to dive into the root of what you are feeling and come up with realistic and effective solutions.
31 journal prompts for negative body image and self esteem
Journal prompts to understand why you feel negative towards your body
- When is the first time you can remember feeling negatively towards your body? How old were you? What made you feel that way?
- Have you ever experienced a friend, family member or someone you were close to making comments about your body? What did they say? How did that make you feel? Write this experience out in detail.
- Have you ever experienced a friend, family member or someone you were close to making comments about their own body? What did they say? How did it make you feel? Write this experience out in detail.
- Has someone ever commented on what you were eating because of your body? What did they say? How did this make you feel?
- Has someone ever commented on what they were eating because of their own body? What did they say? How did this make you feel?
- Has someone you were close to ever compared your body to someone else’s, like a sister? What did they say? How did this make you feel?
- Have you ever compared your body to someone else? What did you compare? How did this make you feel?
- Have you ever wished you could change aspects about your body? What were they? Where did this thought stem from?
- Have you ever compared your body to someone on social media? What thoughts came up when you did this?
- Have you ever chosen to miss an event or activity because you felt uncomfortable in your body? What happened? What made you choose that decision? How did this make you feel?
- Have you experienced body changes since retiring from sport? What has changed? How does that make you feel? Has this impacted your relationship with your body?
Journal prompts for when you have negative body image thoughts
- What were you doing when you started feeling negatively towards your body? What prompted you to feel this way?
- What thoughts came up when you started feeling this way? Are these thoughts realistic for you and the goals you have for yourself?
- What emotions can you describe that you’re feeling in this moment?
- Where do you feel these emotions in your body?
- What was your first reaction to these feelings?
- Does this reaction lead you in a positive direction towards body acceptance and gratitude? If yes, how will this improve your body image? If no, how will this impact your body image?
- What do you hope changing your body will provide for you? Happiness? Confidence? Describe it in detail.
- Are you comparing your body to a past body you lived in? What thoughts are coming up?
- What is your DREAM nutrition/fitness life here and now? If you could craft your nutrition and fitness to look absolutely any way, what would it look like? Be specific.
- Identify your priorities: what are your priorities now? How do they differ from when you were an athlete?
- What is getting in your way? What is stopping you from having this dream scenario? Maybe it’s time, resources, knowledge. Is it realistic?
Journal prompts for body gratitude
- Write down at least 3 things that you appreciate your body for allowing you to do.
- In what ways would your life change if you held respect and gratitude for your body?
- What personal strengths has your body provided and how have they helped you?
- If you have a younger child, sister, niece, etc in your life and they felt negatively towards their body, what would you say to them? Write it out in detail.
- Write your inner child a letter about their views on body image. What would you tell them? How would you want them to view their bodies differently?
- What can you do today to nurture a health, more positive relationship with your body?
- How can you invite more acceptance or forgiveness for your body today?
- Write a letter to your here and now body expressing positive feelings and gratitude for everything you have accomplished or experienced in life because of it.
- What experiences are you able to have now that you’re no longer in sport? Describe a few that you have enjoyed since retiring that you wouldn’t have been able to experience during sport.
Dealing with negative thoughts, feelings and emotions towards your body can impact your self-esteem and how you choose to take care of your body after sport. It is completely normal and even human to have days like this, but these journal prompts should help you get to the root of why you feel this way and come up with realistic solutions to express more respect and gratitude towards your body. If you want more support for healing your relationship with food and making peace with your body after sport, check out the Fueled Former Athlete Academy!