Our body image is our perception of our body and simultaneously our measure of our own attractiveness. It is very closely linked to our self-esteem and how much we value ourselves or believe we are valued by others. Our body image is a product of our personal, social and cultural experiences, and often emerges as desire to adhere to an “ideal” body shape. Unfortunately, very few, if any, can achieve the airbrushed perfection portrayed in the media. In addition, research suggests that women tend to inaccurate perception of their appearance, often believing themselves to be larger and fatter than they actually are. The combined consequence is that many women feel trapped in a cycle of dieting and continual feelings of failure and guilt. In some cases this may lead to disordered eating patterns, eating disorders and negative impacts on general physical health.
Body image issues can be a long-term challenge for some women, but they can also emerge at certain specific times. For example, at times the stresses and strains of life, work and family can find expression in altered or lower than usual body image. The slowing of the metabolism with age, physical and hormonal changes after pregnancy and childbirth, and the onset of the menopause, can all have a huge effect on our perception of and attitude towards our body.
It can take time and work to effectively change self-perception, but healthy lifestyle choices and taking time to talk through feelings can be immensely beneficial.
- You worry continually about changes in body shape or weight , and may diet or exercise excessively.
- You prefer to wear baggy clothes.
- You compare your body unfavourably with others.
- You set yourself unrealistic goals and aspire to the body shapes you see in fashion magazines.
HOW WEIGHTMATTERS CAN HELP
Our doctor will assess the impacts of any unhealthy dieting, such as purging or cycles of fasting and binging, and give advice or make referrals where necessary.
Our dietician will help manage healthy weight loss with a programme designed to your specific needs of the individual, and can provide advice about nutritional supplements to combat any particular concerns
Our therapists will support you in working through and understanding the negative feelings you have about your body. You will explore any hidden issues that may underlie your feelings, and together build an effective toolkit to change the way you perceive your body