Castlewood Eating Disorder Treatment Center Blog

Category Archives: Body Image

News, ideas, research, personal experiences. This is what Castlewood’s Body Image Blog is all about! “Image” and “imagine” aren’t that far apart. Imagine yourself being powerful, strong, and uniquely graceful. Imagine a life where public pressures and private fears about body image aren’t the painful and destructive focus of daily life. Share your reactions and your concerns about the powerful force of body image.

Your voice is important, so feel free to comment!

Summer Body Image Concerns

Body image is a struggle for countless Americans—including men and women, boys and girls, people from all age groups, ethnicities, and walks of life. Of course, body image struggles can be especially intense and harmful for those who have an eating disorder. The summer months—bathing suit season, that is—can pose the greatest challenges of all. What makes body image such a big problem? A big part of it is media saturation. As our summer body image infographic shows, an overwhelming number of magazines and blogs regularly publish articles devoted to weight loss. “Summer body” articles are some of the most…

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What is Normalized Eating? Balancing Nourishment and Pleasure

There is a term that we often use in eating disorder recovery—normalized eating. It certainly sounds good, but what does it mean? The first thing to understand is that, for those who struggle with an eating disorder, the experience of eating is attended by intense shame and anxiety. It is a normal, everyday thing for most of us, but for those who have an eating disorder, eating a meal can be imprisoning. That is what makes it so important to provide a new relationship to food and to eating—what we call normalized. Normalized eating means you get to enjoy your…

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Men and Body Image Struggles

A common misconception is that body image is primarily a female struggle—that men do not also wrestle with perceptions about their own body and how they are supposed to look. Of course, this line of thinking is false. Men struggle with body image issues too, often tied up in cultural ideals about masculinity and muscularity. Some of the statistics about men and body image are deeply troubling. For example, a quarter of all men who are within a normal, healthy weight range believe themselves to be underweight. Meanwhile, a staggering 90 percent of teenage boys exercise for the sole purpose…

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Changing How I See Myself: Body Image Edition 

Guest Post by A.W., Castlewood Alumnus I think it’s safe to say that this time of year can be particularly difficult for people in recovery from an eating disorder, especially when it comes to grappling with body image. For some of us it may be talk of spring break approaching, or chatter about the weather warming up that sends our ED thoughts into overdrive. “Do I dare wear a bikini to a pool? Should I wear that dress that shows my thighs? What will my mom/ dad/ boyfriend/ girlfriend/ friend/ stranger on the street think of me when they see…

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A New Reflection in the Rear View Mirror

How you see your body and how you think others see your body greatly affects how you feel about yourself.  And how you feel about your body cannot be separated from how you treat that very same body…the fuel you give it and the things you ask it to do. When you look in the mirror, does it reflect the real you or is the image distorted?  It may be time to clean your mirror to improve your reflection. When you drive your car, you depend on your rear view mirror to see behind you, in order to drive safely…

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How Do Eating Disorders Affect Athletes?

There is no group of people exempt from the risk of eating disorders—and that includes athletes. At first, this may seem a bit surprising. After all, participation in an organized sport can offer many benefits—benefits like positive self-esteem, body image, and a general sense of empowerment—that can combat eating disorders. But there’s another side of the coin, and for some individuals, athletics can contribute significant levels of physical and psychological stress, which can, in turn, either exacerbate eating disorder tendencies or aide in the develop of an eating disorder. In fact, there are many eating disorder risk factors for athletes.…

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How Transgender Identity May Compound Eating Disorder Symptoms

Contrary to popular perception, eating disorders are not fundamentally about food, or even about weight. They have more to do with distorted self-image. This is something that can often be compounded for those in the LGBT community, and for transgender individuals in particular. A lot of this pertains to lingering social stigma concerning transgender identity. For example, those in the LGBT community may have deep fears about coming out—fears that they will not be accepted by their friends and loved ones. This can play into their self-image and compound issues with eating. Additionally, it is hardly uncommon for those with…

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The History of Transgender Awareness Week

You could argue that transgender awareness has increased significantly in recent years; between the largely positive press received by Caitlyn Jenner and the advocacy of shows like Orange is the New Black, there is certainly a case to be made. And yet, there is still much work to be done in raising awareness for the transgender community and the issues this community faces—which is what makes Transgender Awareness Week so vital. This year’s Transgender Awareness Week is in full swing, lasting from November 14 through November 20. Its purpose is simple—to provide a spotlight for people who do not conform…

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The-Perfectly-Imperfect-Road-of-Recovery

The Perfectly Imperfect Road of Recovery

We often hear recovery stories once the battle is over and in the best possible light. It’s inspiring to see strong men and women who have struggled with an eating disorder and have come through their experience with hope and insight. Still, while it’s phenomenal to see the changes that take place with a good program, it’s equally important to remember recovery doesn’t always mean everything is always perfect or that is comes without stumbling. Undefeated MMA champ, Ronda Rousey, is an excellent example of this. She recently described her own struggles with an eating disorder. When she dropped out…

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Eating-Disorders-Among-Minorities

Eating Disorders Among Minorities

Eating disorders come with a stereotype, and that is the image of a young white girl. A primary reason why eating disorders appeared to be restricted to white women seems to be that white women were the only people participating in the studies. The landscape of eating disorders is changing as more minorities are being studied and the common misperception that minority women have a cultural immunity to developing eating disorders is dispelled. African American women struggle with eating disorders.  Patricia, a 26-year-old student, struggles with daily binging followed by vomiting and laxative abuse. She is not unique. “Nearly 8…

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