Body Image and Eating Disorders

Body Image & Eating Disorders Understanding the Connections

Castlewood is committed to client and community education. Understanding body image and eating disorders is not only important for our clients and their families, but also for the general public. While there are many underlying reasons for the development of an eating disorder, negative body image has been correlated with disordered eating behaviors. The clinical definition of body image is the mental image that a person forms of their body as a whole. Body image can relate to both physical aspects, functioning aspects, and the psychological and behavioral attitudes related to these facets of the body. Body image perception is extremely complicated, and is very different for each person. Problems with body image and eating disorders have been on the rise in the United States.  New research is being done on the relationships between body image, media and eating disorders. Castlewood, along with many eating disorder professionals, is concerned about the effects of the media on children and adolescents.

Eating Disorders and Body Image: Summer Stressors

Summer is a particularly difficult time for those who struggle with a negative body image. Minimized clothing, often combined with outdoor summer activities, create stress for many people, not just those with eating disorders. Many people worry or obsess about how to create in themselves the looks and body shapes found in advertising media. To help educate the public on the relationship between eating disorders and body image, Castlewood has created a unique infographic. Please explore the messages sent by the media in our summer body image issue infographic, and see how the messages must be changed to positive, more realistic ones. Please use these facts and suggestions as talking points for both yourself, and to those around you.

Body Image, Media and Eating Disorders

The public of all ages is visually bombarded each day with television, billboard and magazine advertisements. YouTube and the internet also add to the visual volley of information that mandates an ideal body type. There are increasing studies that support the relationship between negative body image, media and eating disorders. The messages sent through media are often completely unrealistic, and cause people to create unhealthy goals for body shape, weight, and other physical features. Photos are manipulated, and empty promises made about looking a certain way, and the potential for happiness and success.

Changing the Messages

When these messages begin early in life, and aren’t recognized as product advertising (and not reality), they are often mentally and emotionally taken into adolescence and young adulthood. These messages create our internal ideals of beauty and happiness. Adults who struggle with positive body image also influence how their children may accept their own bodies. Reduced self-esteem and over-exercising have also been connected to negative body image and eating disorders. An important message is learning to understand, accept and celebrate the physical beauty that comes in many shapes and sizes. Positive body image, the internal mental view of oneself, is a critical part of health and well-being. Castlewood is here to help change those messages, and provide help to those who struggle with eating disorders and related issues, regardless of underlying cause.
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