Fit vs. Fiction's Blog


Body Image and Eating Disorder issues are really no big deal

I’m frustrated.

Fact: There are still so many people who believe that body issues are really no big deal and that eating disorders only affect a few, troubled, teenage girls and aren’t anything that most parents have to be concerned.

Fact: These people are WRONG.

Sadly, we’re getting to a point where no age is too young or too old to be struggling with body image issues and yet they are still so misunderstood. I’m not sure why it is that we diminish body image and eating disorder issues but I have a theory:

Hating our bodies has become NORMAL and even expected. It’s a heck of a lot more likely that you’ll hear a woman bemoan her belly for being flabby than praise it for being healthy. It’s become perfectly acceptable to insult our own bodies and we seem to be taking full advantage of it. Glamour magazine once challenged their readers to write down everytime they had a negative thought about their bodies throughout the day. The results showed that 97% of women admitted to having at least one,”I hate my body moment” in a day. On average, women had 13 negative body thoughts throughout the day!http://www.glamour.com/health-fitness/2011/02/shocking-body-image-news-97-percent-of-women-will-be-cruel-to-their-bodies-today

This reminds me of a conversation I had with a woman a few years ago when I was starting my Fit sv Fiction body image workshops at schools. I was talking about my fear and frustration around the number of kids struggling with how they look. I remember being floored when the woman said, ” What’s the problem? My daughter’s 5 and she always rubs her belly and says she’s fat. We ALL do it. It’s no big deal.”

YES IT IS.

It is a very big deal.

What a lot of people don’t understand is that hating our bodies can become so ingrained who we are that it starts to control every thought we have and every action we take. Feeling that our physical appearance is somehow inadequate can keep us from living our lives the way we should be. The really scary part is that until we get help and can stop abusing ourselves the way we do, our feelings of self-hate will just get deeper and grow stronger.

I am working my butt off  to help people start appreciating themselves for who they are instead of judging who they think they’re not and in the process am hearing from so many men and women who are battling against their own negative thinking and want desperately to be free from it once and for all.

Anyone who still thinks this is just a teen girl issue would be surprised to hear about the people who contacted me JUST LAST WEEK about their body image battles: A mom worried about her 6 year old son’s fear of being fat, a 14 year old girl who says none of the girls in her school eat breakfast or lunch, a new mom in her 30s stressed over the changes to her body, a 57 year old woman dealing with menapausal weight gain and the mother of three girls who actually said, ” My daughters are fat! I wouldn’t mind them catching a little of that Anorexia.”

Oh Lord.

We need to start showing ourselves the same love, kindness and respect we show our closest friends and STOP berating ourselves for our perceived imperfections. We need to STOP making it okay to put ourselves down in front of other people and when we’re alone. It is NOT okay.

We also need to understand that this negative behavior won’t stop until we acknowledge the fact that body image and eating disorders are, indeed, a BIG DEAL and need to be taken seriously.

Step 1: Stop judging yourself

Step 2: Stop judging others

Step 3: Stop allowing friends and family to put themselves down in front of you. Be clear that it’s not the kind of talk you want to be a part of.

Step 4: If you notice that someone you care about is engaging in negative talk or behavior around their bodies, don’t ignore it. Step in. Find out what’s driving the behavior and when neccessary search out resources where they can get the support and help they may need.

My eating disorder hijacked my life from my teens through my thirties and every dream it crushed, every relationship it destroyed, every time it put my health and life at risk was, most certainly, a very big deal.

Self-Worth shouldn’t be measured in pounds.

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2 Responses to 'Body Image and Eating Disorder issues are really no big deal'

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  1. sandraeamor said,

    Exactly what I needed to hear today. And what everyone needs to remember everyday.

    • fitvsfiction said,

      Thanks Sandra!
      I get so annoyed when people minimize the dangers related to this.
      So happy you could relate. :o)


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