Addressing Negative Body Image

As the month of August draws in, summer is winding down, but there is still plenty of time left to get out there and enjoy what’s left of the warm weather months. Our #EDIncludeMe  spotlight has been addressing ways to navigate your physical and emotional wellness in the summertime. To wrap up, we will take a look at the role that body image plays in summer months and we will encourage you to embrace your body.

When Body Image Goes Bad

NEDA defines body image as “how you see yourself when you look in the mirror or when you picture yourself in your mind.” The summer season may be the most brutal time for one’s body image. We are constantly bombarded with messages, some beginning at the start of the new year, encouraging us to get “bikini body ready”. To most folks, this means getting into good physical shape so that you look good in your bathing suit. But,who or what are we trying to look good for? Our friends? Potential suitors? Ourselves? While media may not always intend to make you feel ashamed of your body, it happens. You see models & celebrities going to extremes with trendy workouts and diets and it’s hard to not feel bad about yourself. We become our own worst critics.

Negative thoughts and negative self talk  can creep in so easily. We turn to “fitspiration” and “thinspiration”  to inspire and motivate ourselves into a workout and diet regimen. We fail to remember that the models we see simply have a DIFFERENT body than we do, not a BETTER body. Breaking the negative body image habit can be a hard one to break. You don’t need to silence your inner critic, you need to change their idea of what is right for you.

Improving Your Body Image

Working to improve your body image and decreasing the negative thoughts you may have can take practice. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Talking to a professional about your negative body image, preoccupation with your body/weight or to work on your confidence & self-esteem is a great place to start
  • Exercise and proper diet are always encouraged to live a long healthy life, but make sure to not over do it. Talk with your doctor to determine what is appropriate for you, your body and your lifestyle
  • Remember that people have fat, cellulite and not are not photoshopped in real life
  • Utilize affirmations- leave yourself body positive notes around your house to encourage you to love every part of yourself
  • Make an agreement with yourself to ban negative self talk, not only about yourself, but about others
  • For more tips, we found this article helpful

Stay tuned! Our August #EDIncludesMe spotlight will be on the stressors of heading back to school and what you can do to prepare for stress-free semesters.

If you know someone who is struggling with an eating disorder, or know someone that you may think has disordered eating, The Bella Vita is here to help you. The Bella Vita offers treatment for men, women and adolescents struggling with eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, disordered eating and other co-occurring conditions. For more information on our programs or services, please contact us.