If Barbie were an actual woman, she would be six feet tall, and would weigh only 101 pounds? Or that her measurements would be 38-19!-34? Barbie is just one example of the unrealistic body ideals which bombard children and adolescents in American culture. Additionally, the average print model is a size three, while the average woman is a size 12. Further, over the last fifteen years, on average, Miss America winners have a body weight that is 15-20% below normal. This is the same weight criteria which is an element of the diagnosis of anorexia.
Although research has not shown that these cultural forces single-handedly cause eating disorders, body image and perfectionistic standards for appearance are shown to be significant sources of distress for eating disorder sufferers. In addition, depression, anxiety and low-self-esteem are frequently the hidden forces that keep an eating disorder operating.
Recovery is Possible
Understanding the needs for acceptance, purpose, self-respect and building healthier relationships allow the eating disorder sufferer to let go of the obsession for thinness and/or food. Medical treatment and monitoring is important to ensure physical wellness. Nutritionists can be a valuable part of recovery, as well, in providing correct information about what to eat to maintain health. Psychotherapy is essential, to restore emotional wholeness and psychological well-being. This often includes the following:
• Learning strategies to handle emotional triggers that can lead to overeating
• Developing a more positive body image
• Getting support as you move from self-anger to self-care
• Identifying negative patterns in relationships with others, and learning new strategies for developing respectful, mutual interactions.
Contact Dr. Sandra Varley at Integrus Counseling Associates to schedule your eating disorder assessment. This assessment will give you the information you need about the nature of your struggle and the path forward to wellness.