There is no escaping the mass marketing that surrounds us. No matter where you turn, there’s a company plastering images of the perfect body on billboards, internet pop-ups, and magazines. There is a big debate that has been raging on about how mass marketing is setting unrealistically high expectations for men and women to achieve when it comes to their bodies. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be healthy and looking good but many people are taking this to the extreme without realizing it. Let’s take a look at 3 major signs to see if you have a body image disorder and what you can do to fight it.
Thinking about getting in shape and becoming healthy is a normal, natural response. You know you feel your best when you are at a healthy weight so why not think about it? However, when someone has a body image disorder, this is ALL they think about. From when the day starts to when it ends, an individual with a body image disorder is going to obsessively consider each decision and how it will impact their physical appearance.
Again, turning down fast food with friends to help you stay on track is okay and encouraged. Avoiding a social life altogether to ensure you can exercise twice per day is not okay.
If you’re out of shape yet comfortable with your body as you perform a normal exercise routine, this is healthy. It’s okay to be a self-motivator using some positive self talk about your body to help you reach your goals. Those with a body image disorder have long since achieved what is considered a healthy weight and body composition and yet they are never satisfied with their results.
What’s more, those with a body image disorder see their body in a way that is unrealistic. For example, women may perceive themselves as too fat when they have a perfect weight, BMI, and body composition. When it comes to men, some guys may think they are too small, needing to increase their muscle mass. In reality, these guys may already have plenty of muscle mass, making them far bigger than most of their peers.
Those with a body image disorder have already attained health and fitness success but they do not see it.
Those who have a body image disorder may result to extreme measures in order to achieve what they perceive as the perfect body. Chances are, you’ve heard about these extreme measures time and time again in the news. Women may develop eating disorders so that they can achieve the perfect weight while men may turn towards illegal performance-enhancing supplements. If there is something that you’re considering doing to attain that perfect look and it directly impacts your health in a negative way, this is a serious cause for concern.
What Can You Do?
There is a clear-cut difference between striving towards your dream physique in a healthy manner and doing whatever it takes to reach your goal. One of the first things that can be done when someone has a body image disorder is to realize the reality of advertising: it’s all photoshopped. The only people who reach that level of fitness are the ones getting paid to do it as a full-time job. Even then, extreme measures may be taken by these same people.
It’s important to understand the difference between a healthy perception and distorted perception of your body image. Check out the following resources from the website, Eating Disorders Hope for more information, including phone resources to help those who are suffering from a distorted body image.
Distorted Body Image Information
Eating Disorders Center
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