Body Image / Eating Disorders
“When you no longer believe that eating will save your life when you feel exhausted or overwhelmed or lonely, you will stop. When you believe in yourself more than you believe in food, you will stop using food as if it were your only chance at not falling apart. When the shape of your body no longer matches the shape of your beliefs, the weight disappears.” Gineen Roth
Body Image is described as the way a person feels about their physical self, and the thoughts and feelings that a person has because of this. These feelings can be positive or negative or both positive and negative.
Often when a person is unhappy with the way they look they may engage in destructive behaviours such as excessive exercising or binging or starving as a means to control or change their appearance. Sometime someone might avoid contact with friends and family as they feel ashamed of the way they look.
Body Image issues can develop for a multiple of reasons. Some of which may include:
Age – Issues with body image often begin in childhood and adolescence.
Gender – Historically adolescent girls have been more prone to body image dissatisfaction, however body issues with adolescent boys are now almost at the same level to that seen in females.
Low self esteem / depression: Those who experience low self esteem and /or depression are more likely to experience dissatisfaction with their body image
Personality Types: People who struggle with perfectionism, or who are black and white in their thinking often have unattainable goals for their body, resulting in feelings of dissatisfaction and not being good enough.
Sexual orientation in males: often homosexual men are vulnerable to eating disorders and body dysmorphia or body dissatisfaction.
Some ways to improve your body image
- Focus on your positive qualities, skills and interests. This may help you to accept and love your whole self, not just your physical self
- Focus on what your body can achieve. When we appreciate and respect what our body can achieve we often feel more positive about it
- Set health related goals. Engage in practices that promote our physicial as well as our emotional wellbeing. Find a sport or physical activity that you enjoy rather than using exercise as a tool to control your body.
- Talk to a psychotherapist about your feelings of insecurity and dissatisfaction. By doing this you can trace back where these feelings originated and together make a plan so that you can feel confident and joyful about who you are.