What is Body Image?
Body image is how you see yourself when you look in the mirror or when you picture yourself in your mind. It’s:
- What you believe about your own appearance (including your memories, assumptions, and generalizations).
- How you feel about your body (weight, shape, and height).
- How you sense and control your body as you move.
- How you feel in your body, not just about your body.
Our worldview on body image has changed dramatically over the years and it has brought up misconceptions of the “Perfect Body.” We see these paper-thin models in commercials, magazines and all over TV and think that they have the ideal body that everyone wants.
The truth is: everyBODY is different. You don’t have to strive to be like these models, we’re all unique in our own way. We all have different genes, traits and qualities that separate us from one another
If seeking change, rather than trying to look like a model you should strive to be your “best-self.” What this means is that you should eat right, exercise regularly and get the recommended amount of sleep. By doing these 3 things you will begin to transform your body in an all natural – healthy way.
You should learn to accept and appreciate your body, be able to be comfortable with yourself and develop a healthy positive body image.
Positive Body image
- A clear, true perception of your shape–you see the various parts of your body as they really are.
- You celebrate and appreciate your natural body shape and you understand that a person’s physical appearance says very little about their character and value as a person.
- You feel proud and accepting of your unique body and refuse to spend an unreasonable amount of time worrying about food, weight, and calories.
- You feel comfortable and confident in your body.
Negative Body Image
- A distorted perception of your shape–you perceive parts of your body unlike they really are.
- You are convinced that only other people are attractive and that your body size or shape is a sign of personal failure.
- You feel ashamed, self-conscious, and anxious about your body.
- You feel uncomfortable and awkward in your body.
A negative body image is associated with common feelings of depression, isolation, low self-esteem and obsession with weight loss. It can also lead to severe eating disorders.
Eating disorders are serious emotional and physical problems that can have life-threatening consequences affecting both men and women. There are 4 common eating disorders associated with body image: anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa and an eating disorder not otherwise specified.
Anorexia Nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss
Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is a type of eating disorder not otherwise specified and is characterized by recurrent binge eating without the regular use of compensatory measures to counter the binge eating
Bulimia Nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by a cycle of binging and compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting designed to undo or compensate for the effects of binge eating.
A person does not have to be diagnosed with Anorexia, Bulimia or BED to have an eating disorder. An eating disorder can include a combination of signs and symptoms but not meet the full criteria
Common Warning Signs
- A marked increase or decrease in weight not related to a medical condition
- The development of abnormal eating habits such as severe dieting, preference for strange foods, withdrawn or ritualized behavior at mealtime, or secretive bingeing
- An intense preoccupation with weight and body image
- Compulsive or excessive exercising
- Self-induced vomiting, periods of fasting, or laxative, diet pill, or diuretic abuse
- Feelings of isolation, depression, or irritability
Information provided by: