Negative body image is known to negatively impact self-esteem, mood, and relationships . For some people, negative body image can lead to developing an eating disorder.
Sadie Robertson’s Experience with Eating Disorder
This was the case for Sadie Robertson, a Duck Dynasty star . Robertson shared about how the body shaming she received as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars lead her to obsess about her weight. This obsession caused Robertson to develop an eating disorder.
Robertson’s story shines a light on the struggles that millions of people deal with. American culture is obsessed with appearance. It doesn’t take long to come across advertisements about dieting or weight loss while watching TV, going on social media, or reading a magazine.
Robertson discussed how the pressure to have a smaller body led to her development of disordered behaviors to have a smaller body. The pressure to have a thin body shows the harmful way that the thin ideal impacts people.
Pressures of the Thin Ideal
The thin ideal is a societal idea that exists in American culture. This ideal says that thin is the only shape and size viewed as attractive and acceptable. It leaves no space for the different body shapes and sizes that are healthy and normal. Not everyone’s body is meant to look the same way.
We learn about this through media. This pressure to be thin is also harmful because the bodies shown in media are unattainable for most people. This can create a cycle of dieting, disordered behaviors, and weight loss techniques to try to achieve an unattainable and unhealthy weight.
While the pressure to be thin is likely not going to disappear anytime soon, there are ways to have a better relationship with your body despite negative cultural influences. Robertson mentioned that one way she began to heal the relationship with food and her body was to practice gratitude .
The pressure to look a certain way can set us up to only value our body for what it looks like. If someone only appreciates their body when it lives up to society’s expectations, it’s unlikely that this person is going to have a good relationship with their body.
They are more likely to struggle with negative body image and low self-esteem . To challenge this, it can be helpful to focus on the things that your body allows you to do. For example, maybe you appreciate that your ears let you listen to music or that your arms make it possible for you to hug your loved ones.
Make a list of the things that your body does for you. Appreciation for your body’s functions is a good way to challenge negative ways of thinking about your body. Every body is a good body and deserves to be celebrated.
Resources: National Eating Disorders Association. (n.d) Weight stigma. https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/weight-stigma  Wright, T. (2020, October 1). Duck dynasty star sadie robertson developed an eating disorder after being body shamed following dancing with the stars. Mail Online. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-8795837/Duck-Dynasty-star-Sadie-Robertson-developed-eating-disorder-Dancing-Stars.html
About the Author:
Samantha Bothwell, LMFT, is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, writer, explorer, and lipstick aficionado. She became a therapist after doing her own healing work so she could become whole after spending many years living with her mind and body disconnected. She has focused her clinical work to support the healing process of survivors of sexual violence and eating disorders. She is passionate about guiding people in their return to their truest Self so they can live their most authentic, peaceful life.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective on eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Published November 16, 2020, on EatingDisorderHope.com
Reviewed & Approved on November 16, 2020, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC