Distorted Views

A common occurrence happens when girls go out; we end up standing in front of the mirror and scrutinizing ourselves. We don�t like how our hair looks, the way our eye makeup appears or how that new dress fits. And in every group of friends there is that one girl who starts in on body-bashing herself. �Gosh, I�m so fat� or �Look at that jiggle.� The worst part is that this girl is usually your 90-pound friend who has no jiggle to speak of. You think, �Wow, if she thinks she�s fat, I wonder what she must think of me.� As much as we tire of this friend, she may actually be suffering from a disorder called body-image distortion.

According to an article in Science Daily, body-image distortion is a huge factor leading to unsafe behaviors to lose weight. Those who usually suffer from body-image distortion are girls who aren’t overweight but see themselves that way. Janet M. Liechty, a professor of social work and medicine at the University of Illinois, contributed her research to the article. She says that body-image distortion goes beyond body dissatisfaction.

�Body image distortion appears to be a more discriminatory indicator of distress than body dissatisfaction, but it�s not something that�s typically screened for by health-care providers,� she said.

Those who suffer from body-image distortion are more likely to revert to extreme measures to lose the excess weight they believe they have. This includes eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, extreme dieting, too much exercise, or diet loss aids such as laxatives or pills. These unhealthy practices can lead to more severe problems down the road.

Liechty says that to combat body-image distortion we must start inundating young people, especially young girls, with positive body talk. “The key is to cultivate a positive, realistic and appreciative relationship with your body regardless of your weight.”

This includes a healthy relationship with food and exercise. Food is there to nourish, while exercise keeps our bodies healthy and strong. We can’t overdo it, but we also shouldn’t under-do it. Balance is what will keep our bodies happy and healthy.

We all have things we wish we could change about ourselves. Mostly they’re small things that we try not to obsess over. The media with all of its airbrushing and attempts for perfection have distorted our own views of what real beauty is and what real girls look like. So the next time that 90-pound friend starts in on herself, ask her to stop. She’s beautiful, and so are you. Battling negative body image starts with every girl on an individual level. Once we love ourselves, we can help others do the same. Let’s end the pursuit of perfection and instead move toward the pursuit of body happiness.Images courtesy of Cleo.msn.co.nz, Mypinkytoes.wordpress.com

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