On Wednesday I was joined by other positive body image activitists to talk with Dr. Ashley Solomon of @nourishthesoul about Body Image for the #ended twitter chat. We discussed a lot of key things, and some great points were made. I couldn’t not share them with you! (If you are not familiar with Twitter, the @ followed by a name is our Twitter username.)
Q1 How is body image defined?
@laurenlazarster: Those who love themselves seem to be proud of their bodies. The body is more of a sacred temple for those who feel whole
@marcird Q1 It’s about how you feel in your body, not just how you feel about it.
NEDA provides an excellent handout here: http://bit.ly/jZAZlM
@marcird: Body image is influenced by your self-esteem and self-worth and it in turn, influences your self-esteem and self-worth.
Q2a. What factors influence the degree to which a person struggles with their own body image?
@nourishthesoul: Brains. Perceptions of body require complex process. Some are wired to misperceive: http://bit.ly/j76iuk #endED
DrBeckerSchutte I’d say family of origin, cultural exposure, self-relationship, and self-talk. #endED
@marcird Being prone to perfection, control, order, and detail may also be another risk to struggling with #bodyimage.
Q2b. What role does media play in shaping our body image?
ValerieKusler Media helps SET the unrealistic expectations we try to live up to, gives us more reasons to feel not good enough.
@nourishthesoul Media also teaches us that our worth and value is derived from our appearance and sexuality: http://bit.ly/fAcm8e #endED
@marcird Media glamorizes “skinny” giving the impression that EVERYTHING is better if you’re thin.
Q3. How does our society’s focus on obesity impact body image?
@nourishthesoul These efforts then create more hostile environment where weight bias more prevalent & acceptable & ppl turn the shame on selves.
@MarshaHudnall: Q3: Societal focus on obesity ignores that we come in diff sizes. Creates rather than solves health problems #endED
@nourishthesoul Most of the anti-obesity initiatives take an individual approach, putting “blame” on the person. And many are very shaming.
@laurenlazarster: I think focusing on the body keeps one from focusing on the real issues!
Q4. How do struggles with body image affect a person’s ability to recover from an eating disorder?
@mmgarza: A big part if my recovery is realizing that I don’t have to love every part of my body. It made it more realistic.
@marcird Judgment is a component of negative body image. Judgment, rather than curiosity or acceptance delays the recovery process.
@VoiceinRecovery I think body image is a consistent lesson 4 ppl in recovery; It is a journey. Progress not perfection
Q5. What can society/parents/friends/partners, etc do to help us/loved ones feel positively about our bodies?
@VoiceinRecovery Stop negative talk and criticism to self and others. Be careful with compliments to what you see as a healthy weight. Not helpful
@nourishthesoul Compliment each other on our efforts, strengths, and personal values rather than our accomplishments and appearance. #endED
Q6. What practical things can we do to improve our body image? Do you have any resources you’d recommend?
@ValerieKusler Keep a before/after Photoshopped pic nearby to remind you JUST how fake that crap all is!
@nourishthesoul Engage in movement that makes you feel excited and joyful. Practice mindful exercise: http://bit.ly/fMdjkq
@susangweiner: Learn to listen 2 selves & respect bodies. Not believing everything media tells us what we “should” be.
@nourishthesoul Exercise and eat nutritious food to feel strong healthy and let your body weight set itself accordingly.
@nourishthesoul Experiment with what weight feels comfortable physically, emotionally, and even spiritually rather than focusing on a number.
For further websites on body image check out http://www.adiosbarbie.com, http://blogs.psychcentral.com/weightless, http://www.bodyoutlaws.com , www.voiceinrecovery.com, http://www.nourishing-the-soul.com/
The goal of #endED is to bring anyone and everyone together who care about ending eating disorders. My hope is to end the silence and myths about eating disorders, create a place for honest and informed discussion, while offering hope and encouragement.