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Body Image

Becca and I recently started a BRAVE  Ed Group for our Eating Disorder Patients. The goal is to provide education about the Eating Disorder recovery process in a group format to decrease feelings of isolation and offer an opportunity for all to share positive affirmations, approaches etc.

Last week we talked about Body Image. We completed an activity in The Body Image Workbook for Teens by Julia V Taylor PhD which was very insightful. In this activity all the different body parts were labelled and you were supposed to jot down your first thought. Once completed you then determined if the initial thought was a judgement or truth statement. This sounds a lot easier than it really is.

In the last week I've really been thinking about this.  Negative body image is often the first symptom that precipitates the action to make a change to your body. If the action, reducing calories or over exercising for example, becomes compulsive and irrational this exacerbates the negative body image thoughts into an Eating Disorder.

We discussed that many people, even without an Eating Disorder, have a negative body image thought throughout the day but that your ability to turn that negative thought into a positive mantra or affirmation, your ability to accept the thought and move forward in a healthy manner, or your ability to give yourself grace allows you to move on.

It's amazing to me how that initial negative thought (JUDGEMENT) plays a role in everyone's overall mind and actions and I've started to really listen for the judgement or truth thoughts in ALL of my clients, regardless of the diagnosis.

Judgement thoughts I have heard in the last week:

"I'm so fat and there's nothing I can do about it."
"My thighs are so huge."
"I don't do what I'm supposed to so I don't really deserve to feel better."
"I don't train as hard as she does so I'll never be as good."

None of the statements above provided any truth, but what they did do was put a negative tone towards the process which will eventually halt progress.

I just know though that if we could change the judgement thoughts to TRUTHS and create a positive affirmation we may just come up with the motivation you need to get to that goal.

"I'm currently at the largest weight I've ever been. My health is important and I am worthy of the help I need to become healthier"
"My thighs are muscular. Because of this they can support the exercise I want to integrate into my daily life."
"I'm having trouble following our plan. Let's tweak it so I can become more compliant and see progress."
"My training regimen is different than hers. I am driven to become as strong as an athlete as my body and mind will allow me to."

The judgement and truth thoughts aren't just aligned with negative body image. I hear it every day, all day.  I can only imagine what our world would be like though if everyone could cut the judgement out.

If you are working towards any goal deciphering judgement or truth thoughts is a great technique to practice. Who's with me?

Be well,

Amy



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