Do You Have a Body Image Problem? Can you identify with the situation below?
Jane is 21 years old, a perfect size 8, and a wiz on the dance floor. But when Jane goes to her dance class, begins her jazz ballet warm-up and studies herself in the dance studio mirror, she sees a pudgy blob with fat thighs - not the well-conditioned body of a talented dancer. Jane doesn't consider that she has a body image problem, certainly doesn't recognise that this is a mental isssue, and just works harder trying to address what she sees as a 'physical' problem.
Although a 'distorted' body image is most frequently associated with people (predominantly females) who are 'thin' but see themselves as overweight or ugly, it is also an issue for people who are overweight. Their own mental picture of themselves as either too too fat or too thin either drives them to lose weight or actually keeps them from losing weight. There are two seperate issues here.
For example, it is easy to see that a woman who has a healthy body (or is dangerously thin) but sees herself as being overweight has a distorted body image. But not so easy when she IS overweight, sees herself as overweight, and no matter what she does, she can't lose weight for various reasons. Both people have a body image issue but it affects them in different ways and requires different approaches to address the issues.
We have found that there are different emotional drivers involved in keeping the image in place with both of the above situations. Using our approaches of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and the Sedona Method we have frequently been successful in eliminating these emotions and achieving weight loss or weight gain to a healthier level.
For most women, self-esteem and social value are closely connected to physical appearance. But for women like Jane it's even worse.
Women with anorexia nervosa may over-exercise (do 500 sit-ups a day, for instance) and abuse it just as they would abuse laxatives. Some doctors say there are women like Jane who are at risk of going from a regimen of healthy intensive training to anorexia; some experts are calling it 'anorexia athletica'.
Professionals at the Women's College Hospital's Sport C.A.R.E. clinic in the US say "the female athlete triad" is a condition that includes disordered eating, ammenorhea (the loss of menstrual periods due to lower than normal body fat) and, eventually, osteoporosis.
For some of these women, disordered eating stems from a poor selection of the foods they consume. They may concentrate on fruits and vegetables, but may not get enough dairy or proteins, or even enough fluids.
They may see themselves as having to lose weight in order to perform better, so they drink and eat less."
Sports which tax the body -- running, for example -- may put women at risk if they don't replace the phenomenal amount of calories consumed by these high endurance sports. "Then there are the weigh-in sports like rowing and wrestling," Alleyne explains. "If they don't weigh what they should in their class, they just don't get to compete."
Female athletes and dancers have high expectations put on them on how they should manage their bodies.
"What is thin and fine for most women is not thin or fine in their world," says Lauren Goldhamer, a psychotherapist who runs a Body Image Group for dancers, athletes and fitness professionals.
Often these womens' friends have no clue that they're overly concerned with their body image. "You look great!" their friends tell them, but that's not how they feel.
Unfortunately many women judge themselves on the body image they see in a uni-dimensional mirror when a healthy body image should take in how they feel in movement, in clothes, and not just how they look in the mirror.
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