March is Eating Disorder Awareness Month. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States suffer from a “clinically significant eating disorder” at some point in their life. One of the life-long relationships that we develop, from a very early age, is the relationship with our own body. It’s also one of the most challenging things to do. According to a Brown University study of college students, 74.4 percent of the normal-weight women thought about their weight or appearance “all the time” or “frequently.” But women aren’t the only ones — 46 percent of the normal-weight men surveyed responded the same way.
Brown University experts say that body image is defined by the following:
Body image can be negatively or positively affected by what people say about our bodies, especially people who are close to us like friends, family, peers, teachers. It can also be shaped by what ideals and standards we have about physical appearance, whether by comparing ourselves to other people or what we see in the media. Body image can also be affected by trauma (physical or psychological) or illness.
One of the most common negative feelings associated with body image is feeling “fat.” Some experts argue that we can have feelings of body dissatisfaction that may have nothing to do with the actual state of our bodies — and these negative feelings come up whether our bodies change significantly or not. When we focus on our bodies, we may be trying to escape from other struggles or challenges in our lives that we don’t want to deal with.
So every time we try to “fix” our bodies, we may damage our relationship with eating food, activity and body image. Second-guessing the “I feel fat” thoughts and finding ways to look at your body beyond the numbers of pounds, Body Mass Index, body fat, etc. may help you feel better about our bodies and can help us make transformational changes.
Here’s what experts from University of Illinois McKinley Health Center suggest we do to maintain a good relationship with our bodies:
I think eating healthier will make my body image better
I am twelve years old. I had an Eating Disorder last summer, and I am proud to say that I am healthy again.
i need to gain weight by a little
Thank You, Channel One News! This was very helpful!
-Progreso West Elementary, Miss R. Alvarado’s 4th grade class
I want to here the pro’s and con’s of this situation.
Cons: it can kill you, you may not be able to have kids later, you get addicted to this really easily, etc.
It is very important to have a good self-body image. I think the reason why we may have such bad ones, is because of social media. People believe that to be “pretty ” you need to be skinny. Those pictures in magazines and advertizements are most likely photoshopped. So why do we want to be fake? Simple, everybody else does too. Be original, be you.
I sometimes feel fat. I sometimes think that it is because of those photoshopped pictures in magazines and stuff.
I have feelings in my body about being fat how do I fix it.
Working on “talking back” to those thoughts when they come up is what I usually do. Therapy helps also.