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Living Body Positive — Online and In Real Life

Published in Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Eating Disorders, For the Health of It Author: Stephanie Born,LP,PsyD

Mass communications. Social media. The ability to text instantly with friends and family. Our modern world feels so advanced. But, sadly, it also leaves so many feeling inadequate.

This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, an opportunity to recognize that eating disorders are more common than we realize. At least one in 10 Americans develops an eating disorder during one’s life.

It’s also a time to acknowledge the amount of messaging that goes against body positivity — and our own role in contributing to it.

The National Eating Disorders Association lists 10 steps for feeling better about yourself and your body. Among their suggestions include:

  • Remind yourself to view yourself as a whole person. You are not just some specific body parts.
  • Surround yourself with people who like you as you are. Know that someone who leaves you constantly feeling down or bad about yourself isn’t being a friend.
  • Wear clothes that are comfortable and make you feel good. Keep in mind all of the things your body does for you, like running, dancing and laughing.
  • Be critical of the messaging you see online and in the media. Question the amount of time you spend on apps or programs that leave you feeling worse about yourself.
  • Recognize when you see content that goes against body positivity and don’t contribute to it. Is the messaging you see realistic? Who is profiting from it? And ask yourself before you post on social media if your comments are helping or hurting.

To learn more, view the NEDA’s full 10 steps to positive body image and tips for becoming a critical viewer of the media.

If you are a loved one are in need of support, find out how to contact the NEDA Helpline by phone, text or an online chat.

Learn more about the warning signs and symptoms of an eating disorder and how to get started with seeking help.