Negative Body Image
A distorted (negative) body image is an unrealistic view of how someone sees themselves and their bodies. Our perceptions of our bodies are molded through multiple means and over a long period of time beginning in childhood, through peers, parents, coaches, teammates, and society.
Negative Body Image and Eating Disorders
Body image concerns and eating disorders can connect with one another. It can be the early dissatisfaction with a young person's appearance, a triggering event that occurs, statements or teasing from others that can lead them to believe losing weight will fix the dissatisfaction with their appearance. They believe this will help them feel better about themselves and their bodies. Thus, restrictive eating and/or over exercising are sometimes the result. Patterns of disordered eating and weight obsession can develop into anorexia, bulimia, compulsive overeating or binge eating disorder.
Athletes and Body Image
As athletes, we are often told to put on muscle, lose weight, get fit, put on weight, and/or make a weight class, these messages can be overwhelming and all consuming. It can be hard to separate these thoughts from what your body needs to function at a high level as an athlete.
Signs & Symptoms of Disordered Eating
Someone suffering from an eating disorder may reveal several signs and symptoms, some which are:
- Chronic dieting despite being hazardously underweight
- Constant weight fluctuations
- Obsession with calories and fat contents of food
- Engaging in ritualistic eating patterns, such as cutting food into tiny pieces, eating alone, and/or hiding food
- Continued fixation with food, recipes, or cooking; the individual may cook intricate meals for others but refrain from partaking
- Depression or lethargic stage
- Avoidance of social functions, family and friends. May become isolated and withdrawn
- Switching between periods of overeating and fasting