If the strategies you’re using to feel better about your body haven’t worked, why are you still using them?
More than 60% of American women ages 25-45 say that they are currently trying to lose weight. 75% have disordered eating patterns. (Note that the second link is to a popular press article that describes the study in the first link.)
Is dieting a strategy you have tried? Have you engaged in other strategies to change your body to make it more appealing or acceptable?
- Eating disordered behaviors?
Even if you realized a long time ago that none of these strategies worked in a long-term way, you may have continued to engage in them. Even if these strategies don’t change your body, they may offer other benefits.
It’s interesting that the reasons people give for dieting are similar whether they are:
- normal weight adolescent girls on their first diets,
- underweight women with Anorexia Nervosa,
- or fat men or women seeking medical treatment for weight loss.
Losing weight “for health reasons” is sometimes given as a reason for dieting, especially among fat people seeking weight loss treatment. But health isn’t the only reason people give. For many people, the most important reasons to diet have to do with pleasing others, looking better (in order to feel better about themselves), and improving unhappy moods. Teenage girls beginning their first diets say they did it “because I was depressed” or “unhappy with myself.” Women with Anorexia say that the eating disorder “makes me feel good about myself” or “makes me feel accomplished.” 15% of overweight or obese people seeking weight loss treatment in one study reported that the major reason they sought to lose weight was not health or appearance, but to improve their mood.
Is your mood state linked to your body shape? Why?
What motivated your first efforts to change your body?
- Was it being teased by peers?
- Negative body comments by the people you loved about themselves?
- Negative body comments by the people you loved about you?
- Being told to lose weight, by a parent, a peer, a lover, a doctor?
- Noticing that your body looked different from someone else?
- Or is the link between “feeling bad” and “feeling fat” less obvious to you?
What are your reasons for engaging in strategies to change your body and eating?