The perception you have of your physical self, and the thoughts and emotions that result from this perception is known as body image. With age, women’s metabolism slows down that might result to weight gain, together with changes in aging skin. This can often lead to feelings of anxiety and fear as women observe changes in their body shapes.

A negative body image can also have a negative impact on potential romantic relationships, as there is a strong association between body image and romantic attachment.

What is Body Image?

There are 4 important factors that can determine body image:

  • Perceptual body image (how you perceive your body)
  • Affective body image (how you feel about your body)
  • Cognitive body image (how you think about you body image)
  • Behavioural body image (how you behave as a result of your body image)

Physical and hormonal changes

After pregnancy and onset of the menopause, women might experience physical and hormonal changes in their bodies, such as weight gain that can negatively impact women’s body image and promote feelings of distress and shame.

In addition to this, some might also experience gastrointestinal problems like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and/or and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). These gastrointestinal problems produce hormonal and physical imbalances, and can cause a great impact on women’s perception and attitude towards their bodies.

A study indicates that most women over the age of 50 are not satisfied with their appearance. Only, 12% of the participants emphasised that they feel satisfied with their body image. Importantly, the other women highlighted that they are mostly concerned with certain body parts including their skin, stomachs and faces, which is also the reason for their dissatisfaction.

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How negative body image impact romantic relationships?

According to evolutionary psychology of physical attractiveness, when looking for a romantic partner, women compare and compete with other women. This involves comparing body shapes and signs of youthfulness such as low waist-hip ratios.

This is reflected in media when treatments and medications are advertised in response to the natural progress of aging. Research shows that marketing of these treatments and medications have increased. Women have been consumers of industries that target women’s increasing insecurities with age such as wrinkle preventing creams and collagen powders.

Poor body image can a have negative impact on many areas in a middle-aged woman’s life. Importantly, if you are single and looking for a relationship, negative body image can negatively influence your self-esteem and confidence that can also affect intimacy in relationships.

Research shows that there is strong association between body image and romantic attachment. Negative body image is linked to poor quality-and frequency of intimacy. Moreover, obese women are more likely to have experienced depression than average weight women.

Treatment for Negative Body Image

We offer counselling & psychotherapy for people who present with weight issues, disordered eating, negative body image and eating disorders. We also support clients who struggle with anxiety, depression or any aspect of mental health.

Our team have received special training on how to work with disordered eating, eating disorders, weight-related health conditions and body image issues.

We can support you with anxiety, depression and other psychological issues that are maintaining your eating behaviour, and other mental health conditions that you may be struggling with.