These two words are frightening. To some, they may even sound foreign, yet chances are that you or someone you know struggles with body image. More specifically, an estimated 20 million women in the United States suffer from a clinical eating disorder.
From self-induced vomiting to starvation, many women privately punish themselves to helplessly pursue the body image they want. Feelings of guilt, self-loathing, pain and anxiety are what fuel eating and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia nervosa become an escape, a welcomed distraction to self-criticism.
If left untreated, an eating disorder can lead to excessive drug use and drug addiction. Eating and addiction disorders are similar in that victims of both experience anxiety, OCD, lack of the ability to self-manage and more. In severe cases, disordered eating can lead to health complications including death.
BODY IMAGE TIPS: HOW TO EMBRACE YOUR BEAUTIFUL UNIQUENESS
Learning to love your body is key to an improved emotional, physical and spiritual self. At Voyage JourneyPure, our therapists and counselors understand the importance of positive body image in overcoming an eating disorder.
HERE ARE 7 TIPS TO LOVE AND ACCEPT YOUR BODY:
1. Stop avoiding your body.Constantly avoiding your body and visualizing what you think it looks like can actually make negative body image worse. Instead, break this cycle by facing up to your body and getting to know it. Acknowledge every perfection and imperfection. The more you connect and get in contact with your body, the more likely you will develop a positive body image.
2. Become your biggest advocate. Would you tell your coworker, boss or friend that she looks fat in a bathing suit? Probably not, so why would you tell yourself that? Treat yourself the way that you would treat others, and you will naturally find that negative thoughts dissipate over time. Embrace a fat-talk-free policy and remember to compliment yourself as you would compliment your friends.
3. Count your blessings, not your blemishes. By focusing on the things in your life that are going right, you’ll become more grateful and thankful for the body you have. It’s easy to criticize, but it takes courage to give thanks. Your born with one body, so get comfortable and count the things about yourself that make you unique and beautiful.
4. Get real. Stop comparing yourself to the images you see on television, movies and fashion magazines. Remember that these media outlets are creating a fantasy through airbrushing and computer retouching. No one naturally “glows” the way that models do, so don’t beat yourself up by comparing yourself to today’s beauty “standard.”
5. Take care of your body. Learn about nutrition and healthy exercise habits. You’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel after eating healthily and following a workout routine. Beauty comes from your actions, and there are many things you can do to keep your body healthy!
6. Help and inspire others. To be beautiful means to help, inspire and encourage others. Beauty isn’t skin-deep. It’s more powerful and meaningful than the genetic make-up we were born with. Your spirit, demeanor and personality are what make you beautiful. Learn to love yourself, and then extend that love to others.
7. Accept that there’s no such thing as perfection. No one has the perfect body. Even models, actors and fitness buffs can name things they wish they could change about their body. Instead, strive to be healthy and strong, achieving the best you that you can be. Remember that you have one life and that the body you’ve been blessed with is what allows you to do some amazing things!
At Voyage JourneyPure, we understand the complexity of eating and addiction disorders. Our dual diagnosis treatment programs are proven to help women overcome their body image struggles.