Body Image Distortions-Why So Difficult To Resolve?
Body Image…nearly every woman at some point in her life struggles with how she feels about her body. With society’s obsession with perfection, and such a huge emphasis on “outer beauty”, it’s no wonder that so many women AND men get caught up in wanting to change the way they look….to make themselves more “perfect”. Although there are many things that can contribute to the development of an eating disorder, this is almost always one of the issues involved.
While an eating disorder has control over a person’s life, it also has control over their mind. Distortions of reality are prominent in many areas, but mostly concerning food, weight and body perception. The physiological affects of starvation exacerbate the distortions, and increase the anxiety pertaining to weight gain and changes in the body. While in recovery, starvation must be reversed, whether that be in terms of weight gain, or weight stabilization for those who are bulimic. Once the body has had time to stabilize at a healthy weight, thinking patterns will most likely also stabilize and be more realistic.
If you have been in recovery, are recovered, or know someone who has been through the process of recovery, you are probably aware that body image issues seem to be the longest lasting distortions, and are often the hardest to normalize. Accepting the added weight as “normal” or “healthy” is complex. The “rules” that dominate the person’s mind are being broken. Society preaches weight loss and smaller sizes everywhere you look.
I believe that one of the reasons it takes more time to resolve body image issues is because when a person has an eating disorder, they often rate their worth on how successful they have been at losing weight, or controlling their weight. They often have no concept of themselves outside of having an eating disorder. Discovering and accepting one’s identity outside of having an eating disorder is very difficult. It takes time to be able to find confidence and pride in yourself in other areas of your life. It even takes time to accept that working to recovery is something to be proud of.
You have to accept and like who you are on the inside, before you can be at peace with who you are, or what you look like on the outside. Anything in reverse of that is false and insincere. You have to embrace your life and your unique talents as who you are, and in truth, when you do that, your joy and confidence will show in the way you present to others. There is peace when this happens. Peace that you are “perfect” the way you are, without giving in to the pressures that this world puts on all of us. This is hard to do. Everyone wants to be accepted, and unfortunately, in many arenas, a person is judged by how they look.
Freedom can only come when you stand up and be proud of who you are, and “just say no” to the outside pressures that are so cheap and fake. Embrace the strength and power you have as a woman or a man of this amazing world we live in!!