Thursday, November 11, 2010

Body Image Distortions

The struggle with body image is common between both men and women and can have a huge impact on someone's self esteem and confidence. The truth is is that worth is not found in appearance but rather who we are in Christ. Most of the times, negative body image is the result of a deeper issue. Its really easy to avoid whats going on internally by focusing on something external like your body/appearance.  There are different types of body image distortions:
1. Beauty or Beast: Polarized thinking. All or nothing, black or white. You think about your appearance in absolutes and/or extremes: "Either I am skinny or fat", "perfect or a failure". A bad hair day equals a bad day, a good hair day means everything is wonderful...until it gets messed up. 

2. Unfair-to-Compare: Perfectionism. You place your appearance up against some unrealistic or extreme standard. When you compare yourself to these standards, you end up feeling worthless or unattractive. There are three common unfair comparisons: 
     1. comparisons with your own standards of beauty
     2. comparisons to media 
     3. comparisons to real people 

3. Magnifying Glass: Selective Attention/Magnification. You focus on one specific aspect of your appearance or body part and exaggerate it -- As if you were putting your body under a magnifying glass. All you see is one huge flaw but your misery/dissatisfaction with it extends to your whole appearance 

4. The Blame Game: Scapegoat your appearance. You assume that some disliked physical feature is responsible for certain disappointments and difficulties that you've experienced. "If my legs were thinner, he would have asked me out!" "If I were better looking I would have gotten that job." 

5. Mind Misreading: Projection onto current situations. You assume that if you look fat/bad/discusting/ugly,, so is everyone else. "Everyone is looking at how gross my stomach is" when in fact maybe they are looking at you because you're talking to them. 

6. Misfortune Telling: Projection with  a future situation. You predict how your appearance will negatively affect future events. "No matter how good I've been in practice, once the cheerleaders see me in that short skirt in tryouts, i'll never get picked. I'm too fat." "I can't go talk to that group of people because they're just going to reject me because I am ugly." 

7. Moody Mirror: Emotional Reasoning. You let your mood/emotions dictate the way you feel about your body -- If you feel depressed, angry, lonely, you feel bad about your body too. If your mood changes, it may then change the way you perceive your body of the way you feel about yourself. "I feel fat therefore I am fat." 

8. Beauty Bound: Negative Thinking/Self-Doubt. You believe that you cannot do certain things due to your appearance and body. "I am not going to even apply for that job because of the way I look" or "I am not even going to leave the house today because I am ashamed." 

I know some of these examples are extreme and may seem over the top heck no thats not me.  Personally I can relate to some of these whether its related to my body, what I'm wearing or even other things not related to appearance. Thankfully, there is hope! 

"But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not look on his outward appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

"Do not let your adorning be external -- the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothing -- but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentler and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. " 1 Peter 3:3-4

Monday, November 1, 2010


I haven't posted in a while and I think its because I've lacked inspiration on something to write about. So many great great things have happened in the past few months, I am so blessed and am loving life. Boyfriend, new friends, rekindling old friendships, new roomies, travels home, school, new job, etc....I couldn't be more content. No, every thing's not perfect, there has been the rough moments, but I can't complain...The bad always challenges and pushes me to be a better person. So, whats brought this new post?! I've been inspired.

Eating disorders. They're everywhere. An estimated 10 million women and 1 million men in the United States struggle with an eating disorder. 42% of 1-3rd grade girls want to be thinner and 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat. Eating disorders have the highest premature fatality rate out of all mental illnesses. Four out of ten Americans have either suffered or have known someone who has suffered from an eating disorder. ( It never fails that when I tell someone I've struggled with an eating disorder, the person I'm talking to reveals that they have also or that they know someone who has/still does. It blows my mind that such a terrible disease is so common and has almost become a normal acceptable behavior/addiction. But then again, its not too shocking with society's emphasis on image and false definition of beauty, the 100's of diets and exercise programs, media, etc. There's also the huge fact that most eating disorders are used as a way to cope, control, an identity, a way to find security, avoid, numb out, find a voice, make a statement.
Struggling with an eating disorder myself, I can relate to all these factors and am so thankful I've found truth and a healthier way to live. I have years of therapy, treatment facilities, friends, family and most importantly God to thank for my recovery. Yes, that's so great, but what about the people who don't have the opportunity to go to therapy and don't have a circle of support? I take for granted of the knowledge and tools that 8 years of counseling has ingrained in my head. I want to share the truth that others shared to me, I want to help, I want to make a difference! Here's the humbling part, its not about me and what I can do, its about God and what He's doing. I am merely a human full of sin. Any good comes from Him.

So, whether it's eating disorder related or not, future posts will be truth related : )!
 I painted this after the first time I got out of treatment in 2006. I think it shows just how emotionally, physically, and mentally consuming eating disorders really are.