Posts Tagged “Body Image”
The Impact of Social Media on Eating Disorders: A Closer Look
Social media has woven itself into the fabric of our lives, connecting us with people and information across the globe. While social platforms offer numerous benefits, it is essential to acknowledge their potentially negative impact on mental health, including how they can contribute to the development or worsening of eating disorders.
In this blog, we delve into the relationship between eating disorders and social media, shedding light on the challenges people with eating disorders may face online and how all of us can work toward a healthier digital environment.
How to Help Children Build a Healthy Relationship with Food
Diet culture is so ingrained in our society that we sometimes can’t even see it. It’s in media messages that tell us that being thin will make us attractive, popular, and successful. It’s on grocery store labels that say foods are “guilt-free” or “sinful.” It’s in conversations about the latest diet or the food someone is “being so bad” for eating.
In a culture that regards some bodies and foods as good––and others “bad”––it’s no surprise that children might start to develop unhealthy relationships with both. Unfortunately, a negative relationship with food and one’s body can play a part in the development of an eating disorder. Although a child’s environment alone cannot cause a biopsychosocial illness like an eating disorder, it is the factor we can work together to change. Parents have the opportunity to create a healthy environment around food and body image in their home, which can have an incredibly positive impact on their child’s development.
In this blog, we will delve into how parents can help their children develop a healthy relationship with food and body image.
Being You: The Body Image Book for Boys: A Q&A with Charlotte Markey
Charlotte Markey, PhD, is a world-leading expert in body image research, having studied all things body image and eating behaviors for her entire adult life (25 years!). She is passionate about understanding what makes us feel good about our bodies and helping people to develop a healthy body image. Charlotte loves to share her body image wisdom with others and is an experienced book author, blogger, and professor at Rutgers University, Camden. She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her son Charlie, daughter Grace, husband Dan, and their dog, Lexi.
Here Charlotte tells us about her new book, Being You: The Body Image Book for Boys, why discussions of body image and mental health need to become more normalized for boys, how parents can help their sons build a positive body image, and more.
The Difference Between Eating Disorders and Disordered Eating
In any individual, eating disorders can be tough to notice or diagnose, especially because they are so common. Diet culture and the glorification of over-exercise may leave many warning signs of eating disorders unnoticed and are sometimes mistakenly seen as positive instead of worrisome.
It can be confusing to distinguish the difference between disordered eating and eating disorders. There is a gray area which disordered eating sits because of the potential less severe or less frequent restricting, purging, overeating, or irregular eating patterns. These patterns are usually much more frequent, and sometimes obsessive, in eating disorders. In this blog, we will dive into the differences between disordered eating and eating disorders.
Halloween with an Eating Disorder Can Be Scary
Along with cozy sweaters and pumpkin patches, fall also brings Halloween, which, like many other holidays, can be triggering for individuals struggling with an eating disorder. Food that is considered by diet culture to be “bad,” like candy and cookies, are often a huge part of celebrations, and choosing a costume may be fraught with body image concerns and the pressure to look a certain way.
In this post, we’ll discuss why Halloween can be difficult for anyone actively coping with an eating disorder as well as those in recovery. We’ll also cover how to navigate those anxious feelings and how to find alternative ways to enjoy the holiday if you’re not feeling up to traditional activities.
Weight Stigma and Weight-Based Bullying
We are completely entrenched in diet culture, a society obsessed with thinness and dieting. Weight and food bias are so commonplace, contributing to our thoughts and actions in ways that they are hard to even recognize. No one is immune to these biases, and if they’re left unchecked, they can manifest in interactions that play a part in the development of an eating disorder.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month, an awareness event created to prevent childhood bullying and promote kindness, acceptance, and inclusion. The best-known environmental contributor to the development of eating disorders may be the sociocultural idealization of thinness, but weight-based bullying or even just appearance-based comments is another important environmental contributor. In this article, we will cover weight stigma and weight-based bullying, their impact, and what we can do to make a difference.
Episode 61: The Intersection of Faith and Mental Health with Kelsey
Kelsey is a pediatric registered nurse working on her master’s degree in psychiatric nursing. In this episode of Peace Meal, she shares her eating disorder and recovery story, including the impact of her faith and her college environment on her experiences of illness and recovery.
Though Kelsey had seen many medical providers growing up, she says her relationship with food long went unquestioned. She had concerns about her eating but struggled in silence for years. She didn’t yet have the language to name her disordered eating, often describing her anxiety and stress more generally instead. She faced barriers getting help in college—a stressful environment already—but only found lasting support after an interaction at church. A person of faith, Kelsey turned to her pastor, who told her that her illness required professional support. Prayers alone would not heal her. After being connected with new resources, she says she became honest with her secrets with her family and made a “no more lying” rule with her parents. Her sister and niece were also strong motivations to help her recover and to model and practice body positivity. Kelsey leaves us with insight and hope for college students, people of faith, or anyone struggling with an eating disorder.
How to Help Children Develop Positive Body Image
While the United States is making strides in eating disorder representation, education, and advocacy, there is still so much work to be done. Educating ourselves on eating disorders is essential in spotting the signs in ourselves and in others. Because of this, it is of the utmost importance that parents understand the environmental risks for eating disorders in their children, including the unrealistic body ideals that are often pushed in the media.
There are three factors that contribute to an individual getting an eating disorder: biological, psychological, and environmental. Although environmental factors are not the only factors contributing to the development of an eating disorder, it is one type we can protect against. While we cannot shield our children from the negative messages they may receive or the impossible beauty standards idealized in our culture, we can create a home environment that includes education on eating disorders, the celebration of body diversity, and praising each other for our traits and our accomplishments unrelated to appearance. Below are five ways to help protect the next generation against the environmental factors that contribute to eating disorders.
The Challenges of Clothes Shopping in a Larger Body
Clothes shopping in eating disorder recovery is tough. Eating disorders are frequently accompanied by negative body image, including general body dissatisfaction, body image distortion, overvaluation of weight and shape, excessive body comparisons, and body checking behaviors. The negative body image that is often paired with eating disorders can naturally make clothes shopping difficult. The challenges of shopping can be compounded for those shopping for clothes labeled as “plus-size” by the fashion industry, as our society is often not as accommodating to people in larger bodies.
Although there are many people in larger bodies who are on a journey to body acceptance, not everyone is at the same point in their journey and very few journeys are a straight line. Therefore, shopping in a culture with weight bias and stigma is not always an easy task, no matter how far you’ve come in your recovery journey. One step toward embracing body acceptance is to be aware of the challenges of clothes shopping in recovery and to identify strategies for navigating the task.
Episode 54: Building Body Trust with Holly Toronto
Holly Toronto is a Certified Master Level Coach who specializes in body image. She has five years of experience helping people stop prioritizing other people’s expectations of beauty, belief, or behavior so that they can live their life from a place of wholeness, fully aligned with the truth of who they are. Holly joins us in this episode of Peace Meal to explore factors that impact our relationship with our bodies, as well as some strategies to improve it.
Episode 47: Body Image in Adolescents with Charlotte Markey
Charlotte Markey, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology and Health Sciences at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey. She has researched body image and eating behaviors for nearly 25 years, and is the author of The Body Image Book for Girls: Love Yourself and Grow Up Fearless.
Charlotte joins us in this episode of Peace Meal to discuss adolescent body image. Offering research and practical insight into the multifaceted topic, she notes that body image encompasses far more than whether we like our bodies. She touches on its various dimensions and implications in the everyday lives of adolescents and teens.
Episode 10: Binge Eating Disorder and Weight Bias
Weight bias is the negative attitudes, beliefs, assumptions, and judgments toward individuals because of their weight. Abbie Scott and Maggie Meyers of The Emily Program join Peace Meal to discuss the reality of weight stigma in relation to individuals with binge eating disorder (BED)—and what we can do to break the stigma and better help individuals who are struggling with BED.