How To Avoid A Thinness Obsession

How To Avoid A Thinness
In Today’s World
Prevention # 1:
Question and Fight Media
Am I really supposed to look like that?
Influence of the Media
 Central to the development of eating disorders
 Powerful messages to girls & young women that
certain physical attributes are unacceptable
 Ultra-slender ideal-body image portrayed in the
media has contributed significantly to the increase
of eating disorders
 APA (2007)
Be a Critical Consumer
 Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American
women (Smolak, 1996)
The average American woman is 5’4” tall and weighs 154
The average American model is 5’11” tall and weighs 117
pounds (
All media images and messages are constructions; they are
NOT reflections of reality
Advertisements and other media messages have been carefully
crafted with an intent to send a very specific message
To convince you to buy a specific product or service,
advertisers will often construct an emotional experience that
looks like reality
Models Can’t Even Match Up
 Majority of images presented in the media have
been airbrushed or manipulated
 Average magazine cover costs $60,000 to produce &
6 months of airbrushing
 56% of girls believe models have “perfect bodies”
 40% of girls only see their flaws when they look in
the mirror
 Teen Ideal- 5’7” and 100 lbs, size 2, blonde hair and
blue eyes
 Dove Self-Esteem/Seventeen Survey
The Truth about Modeling
 Typically 15% below the average weight of
 Unrealistic standard of thinness
 tall,
with narrow hips, long legs, and
thin thighs
 Slimness, youth and androgyny
 Biogenetically difficult, if not impossible, for
the majority of women
Fiji Study (Becker)
 1995- Intro of TV: 3% of girls reported
vomiting to control weight
 1998- 38 months post TV, 15% reported
vomiting to control weight
 50% of girls that watched TV 3 or more
nights per week described themselves as “too
fat” compared to non TV watchers
French Parliament
 France launches aggressive assault on the ultra-thinness by
fashion industry, advertisers, web sites
 2 year prison/$47,000 fines
 40,000 French people suffer from anorexia
 “It may mean that we won’t be able to publish anything; I
wonder how this bill will be implemented and interpreted. If
they decide to strictly implement it, it could mean that every
fashion show and magazine will be banned or charged.”
(Isabelle Maury, editor of France’s Elle magazine)
Dove Initiative
 Evolution
Prevention #2
Own your own body
Healthy Body Image
 Body image is constant and does not fluctuate with mood or
external events
Body image is realistic and consistent with the perceptions
of others
Body image owns and accepts all parts. Body is seen as a
unified whole
Body image is based on realistic expectations, not unrealistic
ideals. Biological inheritance is understood and accepted
Beauty can be recognized in multiple body types
Negative Body Image
 Distorted perception of body shape
 perceiving
parts of body unlike they really are
 Convinced that only other people are attractive &
that your body size or shape is a sign of personal
 Feeling ashamed, self-conscious, and anxious about
 Feeling uncomfortable & awkward in body
10 Appearance Assumptions
 Physically attractive people have it all
 The first thing that people will notice about me is what’s wrong with my
One’s outward physical appearance is a sign of the inner person
If I could look just as I wish, my life would be much happier
If people knew how I really look, they would like me less
By controlling my appearance, I can control my social and emotional life
My appearance is responsible for much of what has happened to me in my life
I should always do whatever I can to look my best
The media’s messages make it impossible for me to be satisfied with my
The only way I would ever like my looks would be to change them
Size Acceptance
 Educate yourself on your biases
 Do
you make jokes about your own fatness
 Admire or approve of someone for losing
 Admire rigidly controlled eating
 Talk about being good/bad in reference to
eating behaviors
 Say or assume someone is looking good
because they have lost weight
Ways to Love Your Body
Don’t compare
Focus on your accomplishments
Learn to take a compliment
Think of your body as a tool/instrument, not as an ornament
Affirmations—“I’m beautiful inside & out”
Watch infants enjoying their bodies
Focus on the positives
Look at family photos
If you had one year to live, how important would your appearance
 Enjoy your body: stretch, dance, sing, get a massage, take a bubble
The Uniqueness of You
 Take less time to look in the mirror; obsess
less about the body
 Appreciate the part of the body for what it
does, not how it looks
 Body awareness- explore the qualities of your
body; which parts are ticklish, soft, firm
Prevention #3
Develop Your Identity
Improving Self-Esteem
 Celebrate You! Reward yourself for
 Surround yourself with positive people
 Challenge yourself to try new things
 Be good to your body. Sleep, eat & exercise
 Find and express the real you
 Positive attitude- it is contagious
Improving Self-Esteem
 Identity from inner strengths
 Affirmations for body “My body has the strength to
heal me”
 Focus on passions- de-junk the inappropriate media
 Use meditation/spirituality daily
Self-Esteem & Identity
 Internal Characteristics
 Know
your heart
 Develop your inner qualities
 Honor your uniqueness
 Accomplishments
 What
you are capable of
 Don’t compare
 Don’t judge what you can’t do
You Are More than What You Weigh
 Separate your identity from your body size
 Danger of Comparing: “Compare and Despair”
 If you believe your identity comes from your body
size you could struggle with aging, pregnancy, injury,
or illness
 Spend time being your own best friend, identify
what your interests are, what are your preferences
for movies, arts, music, dance, etc
Prevention #4
Strengthen Spirituality
 Meditate
Find your meaning
Understand strengths
Don’t judge weaknesses
 Pray
Ask for help with struggles
Pray for guidance
Understand your relationship/worth
 Service
Focus on others less fortunate
Know your needs and ask for help
Help others who need you
The Body And The Soul
 “Your body really is the instrument of your mind and the
foundation of your character” (Packer, 2001)
 “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost
which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your
own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in
your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor 6: 19-20)
 “Happiness comes from accepting the bodies we have been
given as divine gifts and enhancing our natural attributes, not
from remaking our bodies after the image of the world. The
Lord wants us to be made over—but in His image, not in the
image of the world, by receiving His image in our
countenances” (Tanner, 2005)
 “For the dead had looked upon the long absence of their spirits
from their bodies as a bondage” (D&C 138:50)
To Each Part A Purpose
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of
that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews
or be Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to
drink into one Spirit.
For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because
I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body;
is it therefore not of the body?
If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole
were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the
members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him (1
Corinthians 12)
Eating Disorders are not “cured” with just a
spiritual approach. It takes more than prayer and
scripture reading to understand and deal with the
complex issues of an eating disorder
Prevention #5
Practice Positive Coping Skills
Understanding Emotions Are Skin
 Discover the emotions and feelings that underlie negative body image
and negative self-talk
The statement “I feel fat” is never about “fat” even if you are overweight
The statement really says “There is something wrong with me or with
what I’m feeling”
When we don’t know how to deal with our emotions we blame our
This is a betrayal to our bodies and our emotional well-being
“Fat” is not a feeling, seek the real issue and ask yourself, what can I do
to deal with this
Emotional Regulation
 Find ways to cope with emotions without using food or
extreme exercise
Go on a walk
Take a bubble bath
Call a friend
Write in your journal
Hit the batting cages
Listen to music
Read your scriptures
Look at photos of friends and family
Cultivate Positive Self-Talk
 I don’t need to prove myself to anyone—not even to myself—for I
know that I am perfectly fine as I am
 I make my own decisions and assume responsibility for any
mistakes. However, I refuse to feel shame or guilt about them. I
do the best I can, and that is 100% good enough
 I am not my actions. I am the actor. My actions may be good or
bad. That doesn’t make me good or bad
 Whenever I am tempted to punish myself, I remember to be kind
and gentle instead. I know that in order to be the best I can be, I
need forgiveness and understanding
Cultivate Positive Self-Talk (cont.)
 I know that it is okay to need. I try to keep in touch with my
needs so that I can respond to them
 I know that others cannot be expected to read my mind or to
guess my needs. In fairness to them and me, I ask for what I
 I deserve to be appreciated. When others show their
appreciation, I embrace it with open arms. I never try to
deny or diminish my value
 I live one day at a time and do first things first
Prevention #6
Cultivate a Healthy
Relationship with Food
Diets, Diets, everywhere…
 We are surrounded by fad
Low-carb diets (Atkins,
South Beach, Zone)
Low- fat diets
Liquid Diets
Grapefruit diet
Detox Diet
Cabbage Soup Diet
Macrobiotic Diet
The juice diet
The Dieting Myth
 90% of women diet regularly
 90% of diets fail after 1 year
 98% of diets fail after 5 years
 Dieters regain all weight lost, plus another
 Diets Don’t Work!
Overview of Intuitive Eating
 No “good” or “bad” foods; all foods can be part
of healthy eating
All foods must be seen as equals
 Learn to honor your hunger and your fullness
Eat when hungry, stop when satisfied
 Satisfaction
Eat what looks good, smells good, etc.
 Emotions
Learn to cope with emotions without using food
Make Peace With Food
 Write down your food rules/fear foods
 The KEY is giving yourself unconditional
permission to eat
Allowing ALL foods in your diet
 No one food has the power to make you fat or
help you become slim
 Eat what you really want. Don’t eat what you
don’t want.
 No thinking “I’ll eat this today and diet
Tips for Emotional Eating
 Ask “Am I biologically hungry, or just eating
because food is here?”
 Plan times for meals and snacks (don’t get too
 Don’t use food as a “pick me up”
 When you feel anxious or nervous, do something
nice for yourself
 Rely on people, not food for companionship
 Celebrate without food
 Be prepared. Stock cupboards with a variety of
food choices
Normal Eating
 Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating
until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose food
you like and eat it and truly get enough of it—not just
stop eating because you think you should.
 being able to give some thought to your food selection
so you get nutritious food, but not being so wary and
restrictive that you miss out on enjoyable food
 giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because
you are happy, sad or bored, or just because it feels
 mostly three meals a day, or four or five, or it can be
choosing to munch along the way.
Normal Eating
 Normal eating is trusting your body to make
up for your mistakes in eating.
 Normal eating takes up some of your time
and attention, but keeps its place as only one
important area of your life
 In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in
response to your hunger, your schedule, your
proximity to food and your feelings.
Prevention #7
Be Moderate with Exercise
Signs of Compulsive Exercise
 Scheduling life around exercise
 Missing class, work, parties or other appointments to
 Working out with an injury or while sick
 Significant guilt or depression if unable to exercise
 Working out for hours at a time each day
 No rest or recovery days
 Lack of enjoyment in exercise
Danger of Excessive Exercise
 Injuries such as stress fractures, strains and sprains
 Low body fat
 Amenorrhea
 Fatigue
 Dehydration
 Osteoporosis
 Arthritis
 Reproductive problems
 Heart problems
Exercise as Eating Disorder
 Exercise as form of purging
 Exercise to compensate for calories consumed
 Exercise to relieve guilt from eating
 Exercise in order to “give permission” to eat
 Exercise to meet underlying needs: power, control, self-
respect, avoidance of emotional needs or stress
 Exercise as punishment
 Exercise as addictive process
Moderate Exercise
 Exercise for health & enjoyment
 Average individual: 20 to 30 minutes of athletic activity
(walking, slow jogging, weight training, aerobics, bicycling,
etc.) 4 or 5 times per week
 Non-athlete: more than 45-60 minutes of these types of
activites at a time, for more than 5 days a week can be
 Athlete: unhealthy exercise depends on sport, level of
activity, personal achievement goal, & overall fitness
 Athlete: regular medical check ups; caloric & fluid intake
should reflect activity level & age
Prevention #8
Eating Disorder Proof Your
Eating Disorder Proof Your Life
 Have food in your house that you enjoy eating
 Enjoy positive books, music, magazines that encourage your
 Do talk about emotions, especially ones that revolve around
food or body
 Become aware of your own biases towards body image and
 Buy products that encourage unconditional love for self
(Dove, Nike)
Eating Disorder Proof Your Life
 Don’t keep scales in the house
 Get rid of all clothing that is too small
 Eliminate diet talk from your conversations
 Do not buy supermarket tabloid magazines or
fashion magazines
 Don’t talk about others’ bodies or your own
 Don’t look up internet sites that encourage eating
Fat Talk
 Video