3 Steps To Break Free From Body Checking From A Licensed Therapist

Break Free from Body Checking

Written By:


Ryann Nicole

Do you often spend too much time looking at yourself in the mirror, comparing your body to others, or measuring your body parts? If you do, you’re not alone. This is body checking. Although it may seem like a harmless act, below, you will learn why body checking doesn’t serve you, and, most importantly, how to stop doing it. Say goodbye to body checking, and ironically, you will instantly start feeling better about your body.

Understanding Body Checking

Body checking means using different ways to see how big, heavy, or “good” your body looks. At first, it may seem harmless, but it can quickly become an obsession that is difficult to break. Here are some examples of body checking:

  1. Measuring body parts: This means using things like measuring tape or your fingers to measure different parts of your body to see if they’re changing.
  2. Looking in mirrors: This is when you keep checking yourself out in mirrors to see how your body looks every time you see your reflection.
  3. Comparing yourself to others: It’s when you always compare your body to famous people, friends, or how you used to look.
  4. Pinching yourself: This means squeezing different parts of your body to guess how much fat you have.
  5. Posing in front of mirrors: It’s when you stand in front of the mirror and try different positions to see your body from different angles.
  6. Taking lots of pictures or videos of your body: You take a ton of photos or videos of yourself all the time.
  7. Weighing yourself regularly: You step on the scale many times a day to check if your weight changes even a little bit.
  8. Always asking others what they think about your body: You keep asking people if they think you’re skinny or attractive.

The Consequences of Regular Body Checks

The harm caused by body checking extends beyond superficial concerns about physical appearance. It can lead to anxiety, self-esteem issues, and an unhealthy fixation on body image. Fortunately, you can break free from this destructive habit with determination and effort.

How to Cease Body Checking

Breaking this habit might take some time, but it’s possible with commitment. Understand that body checking is often a way to cope with fear and anxiety. To change this, you need to convince yourself that you can feel safe and happy without doing it. Here are three steps to help you stop this habit:

Recognize When You’re Body Checking

The first step is to notice when you’re checking your body. It may take a while to realize because it often happens automatically. Being aware of this behavior is important because you can’t change something you don’t know you’re doing.

Shift Your Focus

Understand that body checking comes from a deeper need, like comfort, security, managing anxiety, or even punishing yourself. Identify what you’re looking for when you do it, and then focus on healthier ways to fulfill those needs.

  • Need comfort? Spend time with a loved one or a pet.
  • Seeking security?
  • Repeat positive thoughts to yourself. Dealing with anxiety? Talk to a friend or your support network.
  • If you’re being too hard on yourself, practice self-love by giving yourself a hug.

Interrupt the Behavior

When you catch yourself body checking, immediately stop. Tell yourself to STOP, either in your mind or out loud. Continuing to do it only makes the habit stronger. Remember, you don’t have to be perfect; the goal is to interrupt it repeatedly to show yourself that you can be okay without it

Choose To Break The Cycle

Breaking free from the body checking cycle is like embarking on a quest for self-acceptance and body positivity. It might require a dash of patience, but with your superhero-like awareness, a fun shift in focus, and a trusty interruption tool, you can wave goodbye to this pesky habit. Embrace the journey towards a more cheerful and body-loving you. It’s time to bid adieu to body checking and welcome a happier, more confident, and totally awesome version of yourself!

Want more on body image? Check these out!

Must Read Books To Improve Body Image

Just so you know, I do review everything I recommend. When you buy through links on this page, we may earn a commission.

The Body Is Not An Apology By Sonya Renee Taylor 

The Body Is Not an Apology offers radical self-love as the balm to heal the wounds inflicted by these violent systems. World-renowned activist and poet Sonya Renee Taylor invites us to reconnect with the radical origins of our minds and bodies and celebrate our collective, enduring strength. As we awaken to our own indoctrinated body shame, we feel inspired to awaken others and to interrupt the systems that perpetuate body shame and oppression against all bodies. When we act from this truth on a global scale, we usher in the transformative opportunity of radical self-love, which is the opportunity for a more just, equitable, and compassionate world–for us all.

What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat by Aubrey Gordon

Advancing fat justice and changing prejudicial structures and attitudes will require work from all people. What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat is a crucial tool to create a tectonic shift in the way we see, talk about, and treat our bodies, fat and thin alike.

Body Talk by Katie Sturino

With Body Talk, an illustrated guide-meets-workbook, Sturino is here to help you stop obsessing about your body issues, focus on self-love, and free up space in your brain for creative and productive energy. Complete with empowering affirmations, relatable anecdotes, and actionable takeaways, as well as space to answer prompts and jot down feelings and inspirations, Body Talk encourages you to spend less time thinking about how you look and what you eat and more time discovering your inner fierceness.

More Than A Body by Lindsay and Lexie Kite

From media consumption to health and fitness to self-reflection and self-compassion, Lindsay and Lexie share powerful and practical advice that goes beyond “body positivity” to help readers develop body image resilience—all while cutting through the empty promises sold by media, advertisers, and the beauty and weight-loss industries. In the process, they show how facing your feelings of body shame or embarrassment can become a catalyst for personal growth.

The Body Of Truth by Harriet Brown 

The quest for health and wellness has never been more urgent, yet most of us continue to buy into fad diets and unattainable body ideals, unaware of the damage we’re doing to ourselves. Through interviews, research, and her own experience, Brown not only gives us the real story on weight, health, and beauty, but also offers concrete suggestions for how each of us can sort through the lies and misconceptions and make peace with and for ourselves.

Landwhale by Jes Baker

A deeply personal take, Landwhale is a glimpse at life as a fat woman today, but it’s also a reflection of the unforgiving ways our culture still treats fatness, all with Jes’s biting voice as the guide.

Ryann Nicole

Licensed Therapist, Certified Nutritionist, and Virtual Wellness Coach

Ryann is a licensed therapist and virtual wellness coach who has assisted individuals worldwide in establishing a healthier relationship with food and their bodies.

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Ryann is a licensed therapist and virtual wellness coach who has assisted individuals worldwide in establishing a healthier relationship with food and their bodies.