Counseling Center

Disordered Eating & Body Image

American media is obsessed with a very specific standard of beauty that pivots on being thin, so it is no surprise that on any given day 25% of American men and 45% of American women are on a diet.  While many diets are moderate and provide balanced nutrition, some can be unhealthy or even dangerous.  In addition, one third of normal dieters progress to pathological dieting. Of those, one quarter go on to develop partial or full-syndrome eating disorders.  Dieting has many risks and few benefits over the long term: 95% of all dieters regain their lost weight in 1-5 years.  We are duped into believing that being thin will make us happy, but research doesn’t bear this out.  In fact, learning self-acceptance and developing healthy eating and exercise habits is a far more reliable route to happiness and confidence.  It can take time and effort to recover from disordered eating, and the support of professional help is often crucial.

Recognize

  • Chronic or severe dieting
  • Recent weight loss/underweight
  • Perfectionism and self-criticism
  • Skipping meals or restricting intake
  • Depression/anxiety/irritability/moodiness
  • Change in attitude/performance
  • Fatigue or dizziness
  • Engaging in food rituals, hiding food, eating alone
  • Excessive or compulsive exercise
  • Unable to accept a compliment
  • Mood is affected by how you think you look
  • Constantly comparing yourself to others
  • Self-disparaging
  • Attempting to create a “perfect” image
  • Need constant reassurance from others that your looks are acceptable
  • Distorted body image- how you believe you look doesn’t match how others see you

Resources

On Campus (413-542-extension):

Off Campus: