This Blog on Unhealthy Body Image Contributed by Canopy Cove
Body image is how you perceive your body when you look in the mirror or when you picture yourself in your mind. Unfortunately, many people have an unhealthy body image. There are at least five signs and symptoms that are exhibited when someone is struggling with a negative image of themselves.
Body image includes: 
- What you believe about your own appearance (including your memories, assumptions, and generalizations).
- How you feel about your body – including your height, shape, and weight.
- How you sense and control your body as you move.
- How you physically experience or feel in your body.
At a young age, we can begin to internalize messages we hear from our society, media, and those around us. In our western culture, these messages often revolve around an “ideal” body – for females, this is usually a thin yet curvaceous body type, and for males, this is often a lean yet muscular body type. These messages can powerfully impact our body image in an unhealthy way. [1, 2]
Having a healthy body image is an integral part of mental wellbeing and eating disorders prevention. Individuals who struggle with unhealthy or negative body image have a higher likelihood of developing an eating disorder and are more likely to suffer from feelings of depression, isolation, low self-esteem, and obsessions with weight loss. 
Here are five signs and symptoms of unhealthy body image: 
- Experiencing body dissatisfaction and being preoccupied with your body’s weight, shape, or appearance
- Having feelings of shame, anxiety, and self-consciousness about your body
- Frequently comparing your body to others’ and feeling that your body is flawed in comparison to others’
- Struggling with feelings of depression, isolation, low self-esteem, and/or disordered eating due to body dissatisfaction
- Using unhealthy behaviors as a means to change your weight or shape, such as dieting, skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and/or taking laxatives
The body positive and health at every size (HAES) movements are making great strides to promote size diversity, body acceptance, and a healthier body image for all ages, genders, races, abilities, etc.
Get help now from Canopy Cove.
As individuals and as a society, it is important that we embrace body diversity by recognizing all bodies as good bodies. While we all may have our days when we feel awkward or uncomfortable in our bodies, the key to developing positive body image is to recognize and respect our natural shape and learn to overpower those negative thoughts and feelings with positive, affirming, respectful, and accepting ones. 
- National Eating Disorder Association. Learn: Body Image. Retrieved from https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/body-image-0 on Dec 3, 2018.
- National Eating Disorder Association. Learn: Body Image and Eating Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/body-image-eating-disorderson Dec 3, 2018.
About Our Sponsor:
Canopy Cove Eating Disorder Treatment Center is a leading residential Eating Disorder Treatment Center with 25 years’ experience treating adults and teens who are seeking lasting recovery from Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder and other related eating disorders.
We are a licensed rehabilitative provider accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. Trusted and recommended by doctors and therapists throughout the country, our program provides clients with clinical excellence and compassionate care.
As one of the most experienced Eating Disorder Centers in the nation, we’ve developed a highly effective program that incorporates solid evidence-based therapies which have been shown to increase recovery rates.
- Each person we treat receives a customized treatment plan tailored to their specific needs.
- We increase recovery rates by simultaneously treating co-existing conditions such as anxiety, depression. (We also accept clients with an Eating Disorder and co-existing Diabetes).
- We provide family education and family therapy throughout the recovery process. (Offered by phone for out of town families).
Our Christian-based eating disorder treatment program warmly accepts all clients from various belief systems.
About the Author:
Chelsea Fielder-Jenks is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice in Austin, Texas. Chelsea works with individuals, families, and groups primarily from a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) framework.
She has extensive experience working with adolescents, families, and adults who struggle with eating, substance use, and various co-occurring mental health disorders. You can learn more about Chelsea and her private practice at ThriveCounselingAustin.com.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of 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 on December 5, 2018.
Reviewed & Approved on December 5, 2018, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com