Find peace with food and overcome disordered eating.
Eating Disorder Therapist
Overcome disordered eating and find peace with food
Self-esteem and perfect media bodies
by Harriet Frew on July 22nd, 2015

Browsing through a random selection of magazines recently waiting for my appointment at the Doctor’s, I was reminded of the body and weight loss focus that saturates this material. There were tips on the brand new diet with the celeb endorsement and details of the miraculous body transformation. Then, right the way through the magazine, were the conflicted and confusing messages scrutinising beach bodies generally at more extreme weights and the judgemental critique and comment on each one. It felt very uncomfortable reading.
Coming home that day, I opened the health and beauty website mailing in my ‘inbox’. This is my personal choice to subscribe; and I do enjoy many of the articles and stories. However, I am aware that a part of this does present and emphasise the view of perfect bodies and super-healthy eating regimes as its main ethos. I am aware of the impact this can have.
Later on, I noticed adverts on television tending to use the slim, young and beautiful to promote most items from perfume to cars to food stuffs.
One study on media impact suggests that we are exposed to 247 media images per day, even though we are unable to process and absorb all of these. Therefore, it is difficult to dispute the fact that the media has a significant impact on our thinking and behaviour. Undoubtedly, there is much more potential for it to influence us than in days gone by, before the Internet, social media and the widespread access to the numerous TV channels now so freely available.
Some people are clearly more affected by the media than others. For some, it doesn’t really penetrate very deeply and possibly people hold a more cynical or objective view of the images. For these people, the torrent of information might be likened to water off a duck’s back. The messages are not really sinking in or being absorbed.
But for many, these images have a profound impact daily on how they feel. Comparisons are rife. They might feel inferior, inadequate, down or not good enough.
I think a major contributing factor in this is levels of self-esteem. If you are feeling generally quite good about yourself, with high levels of self-worth, you are possibly less likely to take the images at face value or even consider that these are standards that you need to strive for. Also, looks may factor as one way in which you judge your worth, but it is more likely that you will maintain a sense of esteem from many other things in your life also.
5 ways to maintain healthy self-esteem when exposed to perfect media images: -
1. Keep perspective. Remember that these images are: airbrushed; photo shopped; taken in fantastic and flattering light; manipulated; make-up artists are involved and the best images are selected. It is unfair to judge yourself against these glowing images of perfection. The models themselves do not look like this in real life. Remind yourself of this daily. 

2. You do have some control over how much you expose yourself to media images. If you realise you are vulnerable to comparisons, then take responsibility and reduce your exposure. Don’t buy the magazines that are triggering. Avoid obsessively looking at someone’s Instagram if it displays perfect eating habits or exercise. Remember that people post the images that present their glossiest selves. You will feel better when you take charge of this. 
3. Look around yourself regularly and see real bodies. If you walk down the high street of your local neighbourhood, you will notice that people do not look like the airbrushed beauties in the adverts.  In real life, people are different shapes and sizes; they have flaws; they are imperfect; they are human! 

4. If you enjoy reading and perusing magazines and websites, then maybe think about choosing ones that will boost self-esteem and help you feel more positive in your mindset. There is a wealth of information out there now to be embraced to help boost your self-worth and to challenge negative body image. 
5. Value yourself for all your skills; attributes and personality strengths rather than basing a disproportionate amount of your worth on your looks. 

Posted in Bikini body, Body image, Comparing self, Confidence, Motivation and change, Perfectionism, Self-esteem, Thoughts, Values    Tagged with Perfectionism, body image, media, comparisons, anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, Eating Disorder, beach body


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Find peace with food and overcome disordered eating.