What do you think you look like? Body image is the mental representation one creates, but it may or may not bear close relation to how others actually see you. Body image is subject to all kinds of distortion from internal elements like our emotions, moods, early experiences, attitudes of our parents, and much more. Nevertheless, it strongly influences behavior. Preoccupation with and distortions of body image are widespread among American women (and, to a lesser extent, among males), but they are driving forces in eating disorders, feeding severe anxiety than can be assuaged only by dieting.

Recent Posts on Body Image

The Meaning of Size

With the average American model meeting the criteria for anorexia nervosa and the average American female being classified as overweight, no wonder we are seeing a rise in body dissatisfaction and eating disorders as women hit middle age (40s to 60s).

4 Shocking Lies About Weight: Part 2

Does obesity take years off your life?

Why the "Eat Less, Move More" Approach Often Fails

Why the "Eat Less, Move More" Approach Often Fails. Not all calories are the same, By Susan Kolod, Ph.D.

Does Science Really Say That Hot Guys Are Jerks?

There have been many recent media stories—with titles like "Science Says: Hot Guys Are A-Holes"—about a new study on attractiveness and behavior. I was lead author on this study, and I'll clarify here what our study really showed.

Eating Disorders in the Orthodox Jewish Community

Eating Disorders: What Does Being an Orthodox Jew Have to do With It? Contradictory demands on women may result in disordered eating. By Caryn Gordon, Psy. D.

Mothers, Daughters and Food

By Zanthe Taylor M.F.A. on February 25, 2015 in A Million Meals
It seems especially cruel and strange that mothers often pass down a legacy of self-hatred, guilt and shame to the very children for whom they would otherwise lay down their own lives.

3 Myths About Eating Disorders Debunked

By Nicole Avena Ph.D. on February 24, 2015 in Food Junkie
Eating disorders can be very difficult to understand. In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, take some time to learn a bit more about these disorders and the truth behind a handful of myths that surround them.

The 'Journey' of Psychotherapy

The “Journey” of Psychotherapy: On a voyage with an eating disordered patient. By Hilary Maddux, LCSW

I Had No Idea

By Harriet Brown on February 21, 2015 in The Truth About Your Health
I had no idea how our obsession with thinness was bad for everyone's health.

Mindfulness for Chronic Pain

By Michael Hogan Ph.D on February 20, 2015 in In One Lifespan
There is a strong emerging body of evidence for the effectiveness of mindfulness- and acceptance-based approaches for a range of difficulties, including chronic pain. We tried to take mindfulness for chonic pain online. We called our programme Mindfulness in Action (MIA). The results of our MIA trial were interesting.

Feeling Stuck in Your Battle Against an Eating Disorder?

By Nancy Matsumoto on February 20, 2015 in Eating Disorders News
"At some point we made pain a problem to be solved like a math problem. Pain can't be solved any more than a sunset can be solved."

Four Reasons You're Not Having Sex

Women want sex as much as men do, but sometimes life gets in the way.

Body Language

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on February 17, 2015 in In Excess
Muscle Dysmorphia describes a condition characterised by a misconstrued body image in individuals interpret their body size as both small and weak even though they may look normal or even be highly muscular. But could it be classed as an addiction to body image?

One Simple Mood-Boosting Trick

Harnessing the mind-body connection can instantly change your mood. Here's how in 5 simple steps.

Therapy and Weight Loss

How can mental health providers assist in your weight loss goals? Read on to learn more...

Feeling Exercise Guilt?

By Pirkko Markula Ph.D. on February 09, 2015 in Fit Femininity
Confessions of feeling guilty about eating too much but exercising too little are particularly common among women and particularly after holidays. But do these feelings always motivate us to start working out or to sustain an exercise program beyond January? Is it possible to think about exercise without automatically feeling guilty?

Meditate Your Way to Better Sex

By Alexis Conason Psy.D. on February 09, 2015 in Eating Mindfully
As Valentine’s Day approaches--along with the much anticipated release of the steamy 50 Shades of Grey film-- sex is on the forefront of our cultural psyche. What is the magic to having better sex? Read this article to find out.

Ashley Graham's Curves versus James Brown's Moves

By Mark Borigini M.D. on February 05, 2015 in Overcoming Pain
We, men and women, boys and girls, should not feel compelled to strive for perfection, but we should care about our bodies. My concern is that the embracing of curves will be a substitute for taking care of oneself, for fighting the sedentary life that seems to envelop so many of us, and for not giving up on the effort it takes to exercise.

Well Hung and Happy, Right?

By Rick Miller LICSW on February 05, 2015 in Unwrapped
The media tells us who we are – and are not. The vast majority of us are too this, and not enough that. And for gay men, one message certainly is clear: “size does matter.”

Leaving Junior High Behind

By Rick Miller LICSW on February 05, 2015 in Unwrapped
Though we may have left junior high school a long time ago, the scars from the shame, humiliation, and fear we experienced in those years may still be with us.

Your Relationship with You

By Donna Flagg on February 04, 2015 in Honestly
It explains why people choose relationships that are far from happy, healthy or fulfilling?

Raising Gender Atypical Children

By Nadia Hashimi M.D. on February 03, 2015 in Of Girls and Boys
Raising Gender Atypical Children

10 Tips to Stop The Diet-Binge Cycle and Re-claim Your Body

It ‘s not easy to consciously choose to ignore the images and messages that tell you what you should and should not eat or how much you should weigh. But there are important steps you can take to help break the starve-binge cycle, re-claim your body, and achieve a true sense of self-worth.

What Motivates People to Make Healthier Lifestyle Choices?

By Christopher Bergland on January 30, 2015 in The Athlete's Way
A Cornell University study released yesterday offers new insights that can help you create a personalized inner-dialogue and messaging strategy that will motivate you to make healthier lifestyle choices every day.

Do 'Ugly Duckling' Stories About Beauty Harm Women?

By Melissa Burkley Ph.D. on January 26, 2015 in The Social Thinker
Many beloved stories and movies communicate the message that "beauty is malleable." But a new set of studies show how this message sets women up for future appearance issues.

Five Research-based Tips for Improving Your Body Image

By Shawn M. Burn Ph.D. on January 18, 2015 in Presence of Mind
Body image dissatisfaction is relatively common. Many women and men internalize unrealistic physical standards and base their self-worth on their bodies. A negative body image is bad for our mental and physical health. Fortunately, there are things you can do to feel better about your body. Here are five research-based practical tips for improving your body image.

Healing the Shame of Childhood Abuse Through Self-Compassion

Shame can be the most damaging effect of child abuse--compassion is its anecdote.

Is Your Self Worth Up for Sale?

By Alexis Conason Psy.D. on January 12, 2015 in Eating Mindfully
You could say that owning both diet food and junk food companies sounds like a conflict of interest. The success of one business may mean losses for another. But on the contrary, this is a successful and profitable business practice, with damaging effects for our self-esteem. The worse we feel, the more money they make.

Circumcision’s Psychological Damage

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on January 11, 2015 in Moral Landscapes
The CDC’s new recommendations for genital cutting of boys of all ages ignored the research on psychological harm. We review the evidence.

How to Improve Your Body Image

Millions of Americans struggle with body image. This year, learn to love yourself, be comfortable in your own skin, and focus on what matters; health over aesthetics!