Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses and can be caused by a number of different factors such as the individual’s history, environment, and genetics. Those with eating disorders can develop a negative body image, which can invoke intense shame, anxiety and self-consciousness about their body and form. Unfortunately, individuals with a negative body image are more likely to suffer from feelings of depression, isolation, low self-esteem, and eating disorders.
By changing your thoughts and feelings about your body from negative to positive, you can regain your self-confidence and overcome body image issues. The more you practice these new thought patterns, the better you will feel about yourself as a person and the body you currently have regardless of weight gain, weight loss, or other physical changes. Discover how a negative body image can impact your self esteem and take a look at our steps to regain your self-confidence.
The Effects of Negative Body Image and Self Esteem
The effects of poor body image can be dangerous. Studies show that teenagers with low self esteem are at a higher risk to develop depression in young adulthood. Low self esteem can contribute to other mental health problems such as OCD, social anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and body dysmorphia.
Body image concerns and negative thoughts can affect us all. There are different triggers and appearance-related pressures depending on an individual’s gender, environment, and other factors. It seems like we are constantly bombarded with messages about weight loss, diet culture, and display unrealistic expectations. In recent years, social media has fueled this fire as it pushes the need and desires to be thin and skinny.
Despite messages from Hollywood and social media, it’s important that we continue to embrace body diversity by recognizing all bodies are good bodies. We may have our days of discomfort, however, the key to developing positive body image is to recognize and respect our bodies in their natural shape. Learning to overpower negative thoughts with positive affirmations will help individuals develop a positive body image and self esteem.
What is a Positive Body Image?
How do you see yourself when you look in the mirror? What does your internal monologue sound like? Imagine what life would be like if we spoke nicely to ourselves, just like we do with our loved ones.
Body image is defined as one’s thoughts, perceptions, and attitudes about their physical appearance. A positive body image is a clear, true perception and acceptance of your shape. Individuals with a positive body image can see the various parts of their body as they really are and feel comfortable and confident in general. That is not to say you have to love everything all the time – but you do accept yourself. It’s about accepting your appearance as is, which is key to a positive body image and self esteem.
Overcoming Body Image Issues and Regaining Self Confidence
It’s no surprise that regaining self confidence and improving your self esteem takes hard work. However, there are many things you can do to build yourself up and repair low self esteem. Here are some key steps to overcoming body image issues and regaining self confidence:
- Practice Positive Affirmations: Keep a list of things that you like about yourself that aren’t related to how much you weigh or what you look like. Read this list often , and daily, to remind yourself that true beauty is not simply skin-deep.
- Appreciate your Body: Thank your body for all that it can do — from running to biking, breathing, laughing, and socializing. Every day your body is along for a new adventure.
- Rethink your Activity: When we’re not careful, exercise can be used as a form of punishment. Train your brain to think of exercise as a physical activity that makes you feel good, gives you energy, and relieves stress. Not just a way to achieve any cosmetic physical changes that may be a by product of exercising.
- Replace Negative thoughts with Positive Thoughts: Every day, you can choose to be positive and overpower negative thoughts with positive ones. Next time your inner voice tries to tear you down, build yourself back up with positive affirmations.
- Moderation is Key: Don’t villainize “junk foods” and categorize foods as “good” or “bad.” When it comes to food, it really isn’t black or white. Remember that everything is healthy in moderation and balance is key to your overall well being.
- Practice Self Care: In our crazy, hectic lives, it can be easy to put everyone first, but what about our own needs? Do something nice for yourself and take a bath, enjoy some alone time, get a pedicure, or go for a walk.
- Ignore Social and Media Messages: Social and media messages can be intense. Not only are models thin to begin with, these images are often computer enhanced and airbrushed. Many individuals will feel compelled to “live up” to these unrealistic standards of beauty and thinness. Pay attention to the images that make yourself feel bad or sad. It may be helpful to limit your social media use or do a digital detox for a few weeks. When you find yourself comparing your body to others, shift your mindset to something positive that you like about yourself.
- Take up a New Hobby: What is something you’ve always wanted to try, but were too afraid to? Whether it’s piano lessons, dancing, signing, or sewing, by trying new things and taking up a new hobby, you can regain your self confidence, which leads to a healthy body image and self esteem.
- Recognize the Influence of Body Misperception: Your body image is central to how you feel about yourself. Unfortunately, many individuals with eating disorders have a larger percentage of their esteem invested in their bodies. They may misperceive the size of part or their entire body. When you feel down on your body, remind yourself that you misperceive your shape.
- Befriend your Body: Your body is not your enemy. It’s time for men and women to stop judging their bodies harshly and learn to appreciate their inner being, soul, and spirit. Understand that your worth is not dependent on how closely you fit unrealistic images and standard set by the media. Be your body’s ally and advocate and love the person inside.
Building a Healthy Body Image and Self Esteem with Eating Disorder Solutions
Regaining your self confidence and a positive body image can be hard work because it takes time to become confident. As you work to improve your body image, you will experience self-acceptance and learn to recognize that qualities that make you unique.
If you are struggling with a poor body image and self esteem, and it has spiraled into an eating disorder, Eating Disorder Solutions in Dallas, TX can help. Get in touch with our team to learn more about our four treatment programs as we guide you towards a healthy mind, body, and spirit.