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Body Image

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Lise Griffiths

on 6 July 2015

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Transcript of Body Image

Body Image
Obesity and BMI
Eating Disorders and Body Dysmorphia
Body Image and History
Our body image is the way we see our own body and how we feel about it
A visual perception is our brain's interpretation of what we see
When we look in the mirror, what we see or 'perceive' isn't always exactly what is there
Some people actually perceive aspects of their own body very differently to how they look
Most people at least exaggerate certain features or aspects and feel paranoid about how they look
What is Body Image?
Body Mass Index
The BMI is a basic measure which medical staff use to determine whether you are overweight or underweight in relation to your height
Mass' is how much stuff you're made of, regardless of what that 'stuff' is
If it is muscle or fat, the BMI treats it the same
What do you think that means?
How do you think the BMI would see a person like this, compared to a rugby player of the same height?
We all have different bone structures and some of us are naturally broader or naturally more skinny
Using the BMI
The BMI is useful to determine if someone is obese or very underweight
However it is important to take into account other factors
For example cholesterol levels
When we loose weight, we only lose fat and sometimes muscle. We don't lose bone!
For example if our hips or shoulders are wide because of our bones, that is the way we are made
It looks much more natural and beautiful to have the normal amount of muscle and fat on our bodies, so our bones don't stick out
Obesity is a growing problem in the UK
This could be due to the availability and low cost of sugary and fatty foods
This can also be due to the over-use of technology like computer games and facebook which involve sitting still!
To avoid obesity: Fill yourself up with more nutritious food, and burn off at least the amount you put in
Use the BMI as a guide - it is ideal to stay within the normal weight, however take into consideration your personal characteristics (e.g. muscle) when considering whether your are overweight or underweight
Before we begin, think about your own body. Is there anything you don't like or that you feel you need to change?
Why do you feel this way? is it because of someone else, or your wardrobe?
Is it because of the way other people look? Your friends, family or even famous people?
Anorexia Nervosa
Anorexia is Greek for 'loss of apetite' and Anorexia Nervosa means loss of apetite due to anxiety
It is a serious psychological condition. People with anorexia strictly control their diet or do not want to eat at all
This is because they have a fear of putting on weight, want to be thinner, or think they are fat when they are not (body dysmorphia)
Anorexic people become obsessed with their weight and want to carry on losing more and more weight
Men and women can suffer from this, although women are seen to suffer with it more due to the emphasis placed on women's appearance in society
You may have heard people using the word 'anorexia' for anyone who is very thin (you may even have used it yourself)
Some people are thin naturally, or through a different illness and this is not caused by a phobia of putting on weight, or body dysmorphia and therefore that person is not 'anorexic'
What Might Be Going Through Her Mind?
Anorexic people might actually mis-perceive their body shape and size
They may place so much importance on a part of their body and start to see it differently
No matter how much weight they lose, they still can't stand their shape
They become obsessed with an image they have in mind of how they fear they look, or how they desperately want to look
What's Going On Inside?
Bulimia Nervosa
Bulimia is another eating disorder
It is similar to anorexia in that the sufferer is obsessive about their weight, however the relationship with food is different
Bulimia involves an erratic pattern of eating including binge eating suddenly, then feeling guilty or depressed about it and doing drastic things to stop the possibility of putting on weight
The sufferer often makes themselves sick or uses laxatives after binge-eating (this is called purging)
Someone with bulimia might have a very unhealthy attitude towards food
They may consume abnormal amounts of food as a stress reliever
They have an intense fear of putting on weight so they might starve themselves Then when they are under stress they give in and eat unhealthy amounts and lose control
Body Dysmorphia
This is another psychological disorder affecting how we see ourselves physically
A person with body dysmorphia becomes obsessed with a part or aspect of their body which they feel uncomfortable with
They start to lose perspective and develop an exaggerated perception of this
It affects their behaviour and they are always very conscious of how they look. They might want to hide behind extreme amounts of make-up
People with body dysmorphia are very insecure about how they look. They might take comments about how they look very seriously and very personally
The disorder can also lead to obsessive compulsive disorder
What could these people be seeing that we can't see?
What Happens to People with These Disorders?
People with body dysmorphia can become so obsessed that they seek plastic surgery, or even attempt it themselves
The sad thing is that to other people, the person has nothing wrong with them
Therapy is usually the best option, and for this to work, the sufferer needs to understand that they have a problem
People with severe anorexia can be put in hospital and fed intravenously, they may even be sectioned as refusing to eat significantly is self-harm
What Can I do to Prevent Myself From Suffering?
If you are usually preoccupied with neurotic or worried thoughts about your image, you need to try and work out what is making you feel so insecure.

There are people who can help you with this
If there is anyone in your life putting you down, tell someone. This can really damage your self-esteem and confidence
If you really do need to lose weight, put on weight or look after your health in any way, remind yourself of why you're doing this and do not get carried away. Make sure you have someone supportive who can encourage you
You can ring mental health helplines such as Mind on 0300 123 3393
"I'm confident and my friends tell me I'm fun. I just hate my skin. No one would go out if they had skin like mine. If I don't have a tan I can't be myself and I feel and act miserable, it's all I think about"
"I started hating my hair when I made friends with a girl at school who was really into hair and make-up. She always had the latest style. She told me my hair looked frumpy when it was left curly. Ever since then I''ve straightened it every day and it's really damaged, but I can't stop. It's getting to the point where don't want to go out because of the frizzy broken bits on top. My friends have stopped asking me out in the evenings now because they know I won't come and if I do I'll be miserable."
During the renaissance (around 1400 - over 600 years ago) and even in Victorian times (around 100 years ago) a full, voluptuous figure was the best figure a woman could have
Bigger thighs, rounded stomachs and wide hips were seen as ideal
A figure like this showed that you were maternal, feminine and healthy
It was even much more fashionable to be pale, not tanned!
Bigger is Better
Raphael's 'Venus' is a good example of how women wanted to look
After the war women became more active outside the home
They played more sport and danced more
Women could also join in with the olympics which gave more emphasis to the sporty active lifestyle
This made it more fashionable to be slim and athletic-looking
After the women's rights movement, women were allowed to vote and became much more active in society
It was trendy for women to be more rebellious
This also meant rebelling against the normal way of dressing and the femininity of the past times
Women stopped wearing corsets to enhance their hips and breasts, and instead wore clothing with a straight cut, and also cut their hair short
It was even fashionable to bind the breasts to the body!
Curves were back!

Marilyn Monroe's infamous hourglass figure encouraged women everywhere to embrace their femininity and natural curves
This time it was all about sexuality
Marilyn Monroe was the first playboy cover girl in 1954
1960s & 1970s
Twiggy was the supermodel of the time
Hers (and other model's) stick-thin figures set a trend for women to be thin again, but this time even more
Above all, it is important to keep a realistic perspective of how we look and how others see us

It helps to remember that everyone is insecure in some way, and we need to learn to make the best of what we have got, not spend our time wishing we had something else

We are are only young for a small part of our lives - it's important to enjoy it!

When we are old we will look back and see ourselves in a totally different way, desperately wishing we looked like that again!
What Do You Think?
The following information is centred a bit more around women because of the emphasis on women's body shape, fashion and looks throughout history.
Because of this, women often feel much more pressured than men to look good, although there is evidence to suggest this is changing and men are becoming more vain!
In most cultures the emphasis on visual display is on women, however in the animal kingdom it is often the men, especially in the bird world!
There is still a bodyweight image problem in today's high fashion - the catwalks still often favours slender and skinny figures
However there have been successful campaigns by companies like Evans, to embrace a diverse range of body shapes and to make clothes which are realisitc sizes for everyday, natural people
"I'm a guy and sure, physical attraction matters a little bit just like it matters when a girl is a attracted to a guy but personality matters a whole a lot more. Guys are going to stick around because of who you are not what you look like. So don't be discouraged if you don't look exactly how you want to - the guy you wanna be with won't care if your thighs are too big or your hips are too wide. Just take pride in the fact that your a good person and guys won't be able to resist you."
"You make the haircut; the haircut does not make you."
"The irony of it is that I think all the people I have seen on TV suffering from Body Dysmorphic Disorder are very beautiful."
"Can you imagine how this models and celebs feel when their photographers feel the "need" to Photoshop them because they are not beautiful enough?"
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