By Briana Hayes
According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), body image is the way in which you see yourself.
This includes perception of your body not only in terms of appearance but also the way you inhabit it.
Last week was National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. This week is meant to celebrate the acceptance of your body, feeling of comfort, and a sense of pride in yourself. In addition, this week is dedicated to offering support to those who are still suffering from eating disorders.
Many individuals have struggled and are still struggling with the acceptance of their bodies and being able to feel comfortable in their own skin. Due to outside factors such as the media, individuals, especially women as well as trans and gender nonconforming people are faced with the challenge of overcoming unrealistic expectations for what an acceptable appearance is.
While outside factors play a role in the development of eating disorders, internal factors can contribute as well. When you perceive yourself in a negative way, it is difficult to see yourself in a positive light. This is where body image comes in.
A person who has positive body image sees their body how it is, not the distorted perception that negative body image entails. An individual who has an eating disorder usually experiences negative body image.
While eating disorders are neither a cause nor symptom of negative body image, the two often are paired together.
The fight to overcome eating disorders often starts with accepting your body and seeing yourself how you truly are.
The idea of the perfect body has transformed so many times. Whether it be model thin, curvy, lean, or athletic, the “ideal body” has shifted from one end of the spectrum to the other.
Individuals who deal with negative body image have a tendency to form their opinion of their own body based upon what the idea of the perfect body is during the time period. In other words, body image can change based on the perception of perfection.
The fact that the idea of what makes a good body has altered so many times brings the actual idea of the perfect body into question.
With so many changes of one perception of a human figure, how can every version be perfect?
There is no such thing as an ideal body, but only the body in which an individual feels most comfortable and healthy. Every person has their own perfect body because no one is the same as anyone else.
Body image is based off the idea of how you feel about yourself. The internal opinions are difficult to change.
However, when individuals focus on what makes them happy and feel good about them then they will begin to change their negative views into positive ones.
While the perfect body can change based on society at the time, what should remain constant is the goal to allow everyone to feel comfortable in their own skin.
National Eating Disorder Awareness week may have ended but that shouldn’t mean the fight to allow people to feel secure and confident with their bodies should.