Unfortunately, many woman (and increasingly men, as well as people of all genders) struggle with negative body image.
On the surface, this may not seem to be “a big deal.” However, as an eating disorder and body image therapist, I see firsthand the truly tragic ways in which body hate can negatively impact people’s lives.
The Impact Of Body Hate
If you struggle with disliking or even hating your body, I’d ask you to reflect on the following questions:
- How many events or get-togethers have I skipped out on due to negative thoughts about my body or appearance.
- How many events or occasions have I attended and spent a significant portion of my time there thinking about how much I dislike my body or overall appearance?
- What percentage of my day do I spend thinking about food or my body?
Body Hate Shrinks People’s Lives
I’ve worked with clients who have shared with me that they dropped classes, canceled dates, stopped having sex with their spouse, avoided the beach with their kids (or went and spent the whole time hating their body), all because of how they were feeling about their body. Body hate can truly keep people trapped in their own lives.
This isn’t their fault. We live in a society, which teaches us that “our bodies are projects,” and our appearance is the most valuable thing about us. If you struggle with an eating disorder, you also have a life-threatening mental illness, which causes you to focus on these things.
This is all incredibly sad. What keeps me going though, is things like the email that I got today from a client who wore a tank top in public for the first time and felt confident, because in the past she’d avoided doing so due to feeling shame about her arms. Or the person who started dating again, or the people who are now pursuing their passions because they aren’t spending so much time dwelling in negative thoughts about their body.
We all have a limited amount of mental energy, and when we pour a lot of it into fixating on food and our bodies-our lives suffer.
When you look back on your life in your 90’s will you truly be reminiscing about your weight or your pants size? Body hate can keep you from pursuing your passions, strengthening your relationships, and simply enjoying your life.
You deserve to find freedom from body hatred. You deserve to have a joyful and meaningful life.
Take The First Step
If you are struggling with negative body image, take the first step and reach out for help from a professional in your area. Reaching out when you are struggling is a sign of strength-not weakness.
I also wanted to find a way to reach more people who are struggling, as well as professionals who don’t have training in this area. So I’m excited to announce that I created two trainings:
The first course is for people who are struggling with negative body-image:
The second is for professionals who want to enhance their skills in treating clients with negative body image.
Jennifer Rollin, MSW, LCSW-C: is an eating disorder therapist in private practice in Rockville, Maryland. Jennifer specializes in helping teens and adults struggling with anorexia, binge eating disorder, and bulimia, and body image issues. Jennifer provides eating disorder therapy in Rockville, MD, easily accessible to individuals in Potomac, North Potomac, Bethesda, Olney, Germantown, and Washington D.C. Connect with Jennifer through her website: www.jenniferrollin.com