Understanding Body Image
We know that bodies are not “one size fits all,” so our approach to understanding and addressing body image struggles isn’t either. Our goal is to provide you with a better understanding of the factors that impact your unique body image struggles while promoting body acceptance and self-compassion for individuals of all shapes and sizes.
Is it Really an Eating Disorder?
We live in a culture that rewards rigid ideas about health, weight, shape and size, so it can be difficult to recognize when your thoughts and behaviors have become dangerous. Take a quiz and find out.
What Is Body Image?
Body image begins to form in infancy and is impacted by sociocultural influences, life experiences and the beliefs and behaviors of those closest to us—our parents, caregivers and community. It is a complex and multifaceted dynamic, shifting and adapting as we age and as the world changes around us. The development of self-worth, a strong sense of identity, the capacity for pleasure, and the ability to connect emotionally to one’s self and others are all linked to body acceptance. When beliefs about weight, shape and size do not align with our perception of self, we can experience distress and difficult emotions that can drive and maintain eating disorder behaviors.
What to Look For
Body image problems occur along a continuum that ranges from mild dissatisfaction to severe body-hatred. Body image disturbance is generally seen in conjunction with self-esteem and self-compassion issues, depression, eating disorders, and/or sexual abuse. An individual may have poor body image if they:
- Call themself disparaging names
- Believe attaining a specific weight, shape or size will change their life or bring happiness
- Constantly compare themself to others
- Experience an overriding sense of shame about their body and self
- Perceive a mismatch between what they think they look like and how others see them
- Feel disconnected from their body and the emotions it holds
- Use dieting and exercise to control the weight, shape and size of their body
How to Help Someone with a Body Image Issue
No matter their size or shape, individuals can learn to make peace with their bodies through self-compassion and self-acceptance. Let them know they are loved and valued no matter their size. Base your compliments on attributes other than size, weight or shape. No matter how critical they are of themselves, respond with empathy and let them know they have your support. Finally, reach out to a Renfrew Program Information Specialist to schedule a FREE assessment or to learn more about our services.
Effectively Treating Body Image Issues
Early intervention provides the best chance for recovery from body image issues. Pay attention to the warning signs – a destructive cycle may eventually lead to irreversible medical problems. If you are struggling, embrace yourself – you need love, not “fixing.”
Talk with a Program Information Specialist at the number above to learn more about our
services and to schedule an assessment. Or, fill out the information below and we will contact you.