How to Battle Negative Body Image: Lessons from a Breast Cancer Survivor

I happily indulge in using movie quotes to drive home a point, so here’s a favorite. “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t slow down and take a look around once in awhile, you might miss it.” I’m not going to tell you who said that or what movie it’s from, because you should KNOW.


Anyway, your body image is the same way. Things change quickly from one day to the next. If you’re not appreciating what you have today, in this moment, it might be taken away from you.


Fighting a negative body image is hard enough without appreciating the positives. So I invited my big sister, Sarah Browne, on the show with me today.


She got her diagnosis when she was 27, breast cancer. I’m serious. No family history to speak of and definitely no warning sign it was coming. She felt a lump and went in, and now she’s cancer free. But not without a hell of an ordeal…


Going through chemotherapy and radiation took a toll on her body…and her body image. Listen now to hear her story and how she handled the sudden changes in her body.

Check in With Your Intentions

Your body changes are a personal experience. Set intentions with yourself around what you’re doing to adjust and why. If you catch yourself putting the preferences of others above your own comfort, it’s a sign you need to rethink what you’re doing.


For example, you might choose to wear long sleeved shirts to hide your scars so other people won’t see them. If those clothes make you too hot or uncomfortable, wear what makes you feel best. Your body doesn’t exist to make other people comfortable.

Adjust Your Attitude


Sarah wasn’t expecting to have breast cancer at age 27. None of us think it will happen to us. When it does, control how you view the situation.


See it as something you can’t control anyway, so why bother worrying about it. Yes, you will have good body image days and bad body image days. One bad day doesn’t have to undo all the work you’ve done to improve your self image.

Give Energy to Your Emotional and Mental State

Recognize the work that goes into healing your emotional and mental health. Whether your body image has always been in the toilet or it recently plummeted because of some medical diagnosis, it takes energy to improve your body image.

Challenge yourself to return to the way your life was before. Remember a time when you felt happy and satisfied with your body and recreate that environment for yourself.

This mental self image work takes energy and focus, but you’d be surprised how much can change in only a few weeks.


I created a body confidence affirmation guide to help you write a mantra around your self worth. Click below to download your copy!


December 4, 2017


Rebekah Buege is a body confidence coach helping strong women process critical thoughts and heal insecurities.

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