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Body image, self image, self esteem: Articles and research related to binge eating

Fat Bias Starts Early and Takes a Serious Toll   New York Times (Aug 21, 2017) by Jane E. Brody –  A very slender friend recently admitted to me that she “can’t stand to be around fat people.” Her reaction is almost visceral, and it prompts her to avoid social and professional contact with people who are seriously overweight. Although she can’t pinpoint the source of her feelings, she said they go back as far as she can remember. And she is hardly alone. Decades ago, researchers found that weight-based bias, which is often accompanied by overt discrimination and bullying, can date back to childhood, sometimes as early as age 3. The prejudiced feelings may not be apparent to those who hold them, yet they can strongly influence someone’s behavior. A new study by researchers at Duke University, for example, found that “implicit weight bias” in children ages 9 to 11 was as common as “implicit racial bias” is among adults. … more

France bans extremely thin models  BBC News (May 6, 2017) — A law in France banning the use of unhealthily thin fashion models has come into effect. Models will need to provide a doctor’s certificate attesting to their overall physical health, with special regard to their body mass index (BMI) – a measure of weight in relation to height. The health ministry says the aim is to fight eating disorders and inaccessible ideals of beauty. … more

Males more likely to suffer psychologically when dissatisfied with their body image  MNT Medical News Today (July 8, 2016) – Society might lead us to believe body image concerns should be reserved for females but research published today from The University of Sydney has suggested that men are more likely to suffer psychologically when dissatisfied with their image. Dr Scott Griffiths, lead researcher, suggested that the phenomenon is a growing public health issue as the research found that men with body image issues are up to four times more likely than females to be undiagnosed. … more

Body image strongly linked to overall life satisfaction  ScienceDaily (May 10, 2016) – U.S. researchers have just completed a national study on the factors linked to satisfaction with appearance and weight. In a survey of more than 12,000 Americans adults, the questions focused on personality, beliefs about romantic relationships, self-esteem, television viewing, and personal characteristics. “Our study shows that men’s and women’s feelings about their weight and appearance play a major role in how satisfied they are with their lives overall” … more

Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment  MNT Medical News Today  (Apr 21, 2016) by Kathleen Davis – Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), formerly referred to as dysmorphophobia, is a severe psychiatric disorder that involves a preoccupation with an imagined defect in one’s physical appearance. … more

Television exposure directly linked to a thin body ideal in women  ScienceDaily (Feb 22, 2016) – For the first time experts have been able to eliminate external factors and specifically pinpoint television as having a direct link with female body ideals. … more

Project HEAL Launches Social Campaign To Make A Statement About Self-Worth And Beauty  The Huffington Post Canada (Feb 22, 2016) by Monika Markovinovic –  National Eating Disorder Awareness Week takes place this week, and with that comes a new campaign to raise awareness of recovery and the conversation of beauty standards surrounding it. Project HEAL, a nonprofit organization, is launching #WhatMakesMeBeautiful, a social media campaign featuring a diverse set of women who each offer their own individual statements on personal beauty and self-affirmation. … more

Self-weighing may be a hazardous behavior among young women. Researchers found an association between frequent self-weighing and psychological state ScienceDaily (Nov 9, 2015) – Self-weighing can be a useful tool to help adults control their weight, but for adolescents and young adults this behavior may have negative psychological outcomes. Researchers tracked the self-weighing behaviors of more than 1,900 young adults and found increases in self-weighing to be significantly related to increases in weight concern and depression and decreases in body satisfaction and self-esteem among females. … more

Bodybuilding supplement overuse ‘an eating disorder‘ MNT-Medical News Today (Aug 7, 2015) – Among men who regularly work out, a desire toward looking lean and muscular leads some to use over-the-counter supplements to improve their chances of attaining their ideal image. Researchers assessing the use of these supplements now say that some men are using these supplements to such an extent that it qualifies as an eating disorder. … more

If we know idealising thinness is silly, why do we keep on slating fat people? The Guardian (July 31, 2015) by Zoe Williams — Shoppers at the mall where Topshop’s unnaturally skinny mannequins sparked a social media furore earlier this week reflect on all the fuss. The story of the Topshop mannequin is a body image one, sure: mainly that. But it carries some social media messages, too: viz, that if you want to have a Facebook page, and invite your shoppers to “engage” with you there, then sometimes they may say things that don’t suit you at all. So it was on Monday, when Laura Berry took a picture of a mannequin in the Cribbs Causeway store outside Bristol: she put it on their Facebook page, with the message: “I’m calling you out, on your lack of concern for a generation of extremely body-conscious youth.” more …

Sweet fat acceptance? Online fat acceptance and the body beautiful ScienceDaily (May 11, 2015) – Media and healthcare institutions have long commanded that the ideal and desirable body shape should be thin. If you are fat are you irresponsibly risking your health? Will you ever be able to look or feel beautiful? Will you truly enjoy citizenship? New research explores the cultural and political marginalization of fat women and their perceived moral failure to be healthy. It follows the rising tide of the online fat acceptance movement and their strategies for challenging societal conventions of body image and beauty. more …

The problem with ‘Fat talk.”   NYTimes.com (Mar 13, 2015) by Renee Engeln — On Tuesday, in the wake of an online petition signed by thousands of people, Facebook announced that it was removing “feeling fat” from its list of status update emoticons. The petition argued that the offending emoticon, with its chubby cheeks and double chin, reinforced negative body images, and Facebook seemed to agree. Is it really such a big deal if you tell everyone how fat you feel? more …

Debate heats up over Photoshopped fashion models   CBS News (Feb 17, 2015) — The unaltered photo of 48-year-old Cindy Crawford is sparking a new discussion. The picture, taken in 2013, focuses attention on Photoshopped images, and whether we can embrace natural beauty. Now, the issue is making its way to Capitol Hill, reports CBS News correspondent Vinita Nair. more …

It’s a Shame Body Shaming Is Part of American Culture   Huffington Post (Dec 11, 2014) by Dr. Peggy Drexler — Body shaming is a part of American culture, at once abhorrent and everywhere. Women are shamed for being fat, skinny, tall, short, flat chested, busty, too plain, too sexy. But lately, there seems to be a different response from women — frustration followed by acceptance and moving on.   more …

Pushing Back Against Fat-Shaming Is in Fashion   Huffington Post (Oct 15, 2014) by Bill Bogart — The lives of fat women are not easy. (Fat, rather than obese, is the preferred term for some in the overweight community. I use both.) The chances of getting a job and progressing in a career are significantly diminished for obese women … But there are hopeful signs that fat people and their allies are pushing back against the prejudice that surrounds them.   more …

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Start Loving My 185 Pound Body  Huffington Post (July 16, 2014) by Nikki Gloudeman — Like many women, I’ve often distilled body image into a series of cold hard numbers: pounds, dress size, calories, carbs. But it wasn’t always this way. In fact, the first time I realized weight would be an issue in my life, it was all about words. I was in grade school, age 10, and heavy. On the playground at recess, the barbs began. They weren’t clever — “Whale,” “Fatso,” “Cow” — but they worked.   more …

Body image negativity can start at 3-years-old, researcher says: Children often start mimicking parents who are critical of their own body image or size   CBC News (Apr 7, 2014) – A study in Sudbury has found children as young as three are unhappy with their bodies — and a Laurentian University psychologist says that’s the age when efforts to cultivate healthy attitudes about bodies need to start.   more …

Bulimia and the brain: responses to body image and food    Medical News Today (Nov 18, 2013) – Brains of women with bulimia respond differently to women without bulimia when shown images of slim women. Both groups responded similarly to pictures of food, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Psychiatry. The work suggests that treatments for bulimia should have a strong focus on self image rather than solely or primarily on issues with food.   Link

Let’s talk about thin privilege  Everyday feminism (Oct 25, 2013) by Melissa A. Fabello – I am five-foot-four, 125 pounds. My measurements are 36-28-38. I wear size medium shirts, size seven jeans, and (in case you were wondering) size eight shoes.  I have never walked into a clothing store unable to find items in my size.  I have never been asked to pay more for a seat on an airplane … I walk through this world as a thin person.  And as such, I have never experienced fat discrimination.  Link

Social media fuel dangerous weight-loss goal   AP (Oct 4, 2013) by Jim Salter – Experts in eating disorders are concerned about an Internet-fueled trend in which teenage girls and young women pursue an elusive and possibly dangerous weight-loss goal: to become so slender that their thighs don’t touch even when their feet are together.  Specialists say achieving a so-called thigh gap is risky and virtually impossible …  Link

Anorexic individuals’ disturbed body image influences unconscious movements   ScienceDaily (May 29, 2013) — Individuals suffering from anorexia nervosa perceive their bodies as being larger than they are and this disturbed body representation affects their movements, according to research published May 29 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Anouk Keizer and colleagues from Utrecht University in the Netherlands.   Link

Don’t tell your daughter she is beautiful, parents told: Minister says children should avoid a fixation with looks   National Post (May 28, 2013) by Louisa Peacock, The Telegraph – Parents should stop telling their children they look beautiful because it places too much emphasis on appearance and can lead to body confidence issues later in life, Jo Swinson, the U.K. women’s minister, has claimed. Mothers and fathers who praise their sons and daughters for wearing a nice outfit or having nice hair risk sending a message to children that looks are the most important thing to succeed in life, the minister said.  Instead, she said, children should be praised for completing tasks or their ability to be inquisitive.   Link

‘Listening to your heart’ could improve body image, says study    ScienceDaily (Feb. 6, 2013) — Women who are more aware of their bodies from within are less likely to think of their bodies principally as objects, according to research published February 6 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Vivien Ainley and Manos Tsakiris from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London.    Link

Study deflates notion that pear-shaped bodies more healthy than apples: Abnormal proteins from buttock fat linked to metabolic syndrome    ScienceDaily (Jan. 10, 2013) — People who are “apple-shaped” — with fat more concentrated around the abdomen — have long been considered more at risk for conditions such as heart disease and diabetes than those who are “pear-shaped” and carry weight more in the buttocks, hips and thighs… New research provides further evidence that the protective benefits of having a pear-body shape may be more myth than reality.   Link

For some women, genes may influence pressure to be thin   ScienceDaily (Oct. 3, 2012) — Genetics may make some women more vulnerable to the pressure of being thin, a study led by Michigan State University researchers has found.   From size-zero models to airbrushed film stars, thinness is portrayed as equalling beauty across Western culture, and it’s an ideal often cited as a cause of eating disorder symptoms in young women. The researchers focused on the potential psychological impact of women buying into this perceived ideal of thinness, which they call thin-ideal internalization. Changes in self-perception and behavior, caused by this idealization, can lead to body dissatisfaction, a preoccupation with weight and other symptoms of eating disorders.  Link

Feeling fat may make you fat, study suggests   ScienceDaily (Aug. 8, 2012) — They’re everywhere — in magazines, on the Internet, on television — people with super-thin bodies who are presented as having the ideal body form. But despite the increasing pressure to be thin, more and more of us are overweight. Now, researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) have found that normal weight teens who perceive themselves as fat are more likely to grow up to be fat.    Link

Training our brains to see ourselves in a more attractive light  ScienceDaily (May 22, 2012) — Researchers at the Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology have designed a programme called Mírate bien (Take a good look at yourself). It is a tool designed to enable us to learn to love our bodies and faces; and to improve our physical self-concept…  The students participating in the programme are not asked to do any kind of physical activity. It is the cognitive side that has to be trained here: to restructure our perceptions so that we have a more realistic awareness about our image.  Link

Self-worth needs to go beyond appearance, experts say  ScienceDaily (May 9, 2012) — Women with high family support and limited pressure to achieve the ‘thin and beautiful’ ideal have a more positive body image. That’s according to a new study looking at five factors that may help young women to be more positive about their bodies, in the context of a society where discontent with appearance is common among women.  Link

Big girls don’t cry: Overweight teens who are satisfied with their bodies are less depressed, less prone to unhealthy behaviors  ScienceDaily (Apr. 28, 2012) — A study to be published in the June 2012 issue of Journal of Adolescent Health looking at the relationships between body satisfaction and healthy psychological functioning in overweight adolescents has found that young women who are happy with the size and shape of their bodies report higher levels of self-esteem. They may also be protected against the negative behavioral and psychological factors sometimes associated with being overweight.  Link

The politics of fat: We have to keep struggling to liberate ourselves from self-hatred  AlterNet (Apr. 4, 2012) by Allison McCarthy – “We claimed the agency, we granted ourselves the authority. But we never stopped worrying about how our asses looked in our jeans.” … Psychologist Susie Orbach’s debut book Fat Is a Feminist Issue celebrates 34 years of providing theoretical and practical musings on the relationship between women and fat.  Link

For many girls, slimming down doesn’t help self-esteem:  Teens who were formerly obese often still view themselves as fat, study finds  US News & World Report: Healthday News (Apr. 3, 2012) – Weight loss doesn’t necessarily lead to a boost in obese teenage girls’ self-esteem, according to a new study.  “We found that obese black and white teenage girls who transitioned out of obesity continued to see themselves as fat, despite changes in their relative body mass,” study author Sarah Mustillo, an associate professor of sociology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., said in a university news release.  Link

Israel bans use of ultra-skinny models.  Doctors must sign off on model’s weight: Advertisers obliged to come clean on “photoshopping” Reuters (Mar 20, 2012) – Israeli lawmakers have banned underweight models from catwalks and commercials, a measure they hope will reduce eating disorders and promote a healthy body image.  The law, passed late on Monday, says women and men cannot be hired for modeling jobs unless a doctor stipulates they are not underweight, with a body mass index (BMI) — a measure expressing a ratio of weight to height — of no less than 18.5.  Link

Sex, lies and media: New wave of activists challenge notions of beauty  cnn.com (Mar. 11, 2012) by Emanuella Grinberg – Here’s the fantasy: A half-naked woman lies across a couch, lips pouty and cleavage prominent as her sultry gaze implores you to buy this bottle of perfume.  The reality: Women make up 51% of the United States yet only 17% of seats in the House of Representatives. They’re 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs and 7% of directors in the top 250 grossing films.  What’s the connection? We live in a sexualized society where the gap between fantasy and reality is vast and harmful… Siebel-Newsom’s documentary, Miss Representation, is the latest cinematic foray in the movement to challenge portrayals of beauty in “the media,” a term used to describe all forms of mass communication, from the internet, TV, film, magazines, radio and advertising.  Link

Peer pressure drives “socially transmitted” anorexia  Reuters (Mar. 1, 2012) by Paul Casciato — Anorexia is a socially transmitted disorder and appears to be more prevalent in countries such as France where women are thinner than average, according to new research from the London School of Economics and Political Science.  The “economic analysis” of anorexia, using a sample of nearly 3,000 young women across Europe, concluded that peer group pressure is one of the most significant influences on self-image and the development of anorexia and appeared just as the autumn/winter season is winding up with Paris Fashion Week.  Link

Images in magazines and on television increase body dissatisfaction  ScienceDaily (Oct. 28, 2011) — Adolescents who read magazines and watch television contents that deal with the concept of image prove to be unhappier with their own bodies. Girls are more susceptible to experiencing a lower perception of their physical appearance. Body dissatisfaction is linked to the type of content that is consumed (diet, beauty, health or music videos) rather than the frequency of exposure.  Link

Fear of getting fat seen in healthy women’s brain scans  ScienceDaily (Apr. 14, 2010) — A group of women in a new study seemed unlikely to have body image issues — at least their responses on a tried-and-true psychological screening presented no red flags. That assessment changed when Brigham Young University researchers used MRI technology to observe what happened in the brain when people viewed images of complete strangers.  Link

Does this show make me look fat?  Ryerson University: Research News (June 25, 2009) — Dr. Stephen Want, Assistant Professor in Ryerson University’s Department of Psychology looked at the impact of television programs on young women’s body image using the sitcom Friends. He found that watching this program had a significantly adverse effect on the participants’ satisfaction with their own appearance.  Link

‘Phantom fat’ can linger after weight loss: Losing pounds doesn’t automatically shed larger-than-life self-image  msnbc.com (June 23, 2009) by Jacqueline Stenson — Even though Kellylyn Hicks has lost about 85 pounds over the last year and a half, and gone from a size 24 to a tiny size 4, she still worries she won’t fit into chairs…Some specialists use the term “phantom fat” to refer to this phenomenon of feeling fat and unacceptable after weight loss.  Link

One in five obese women select overweight or obese silhouettes as their ideal body image  ScienceDaily (May 14, 2009) — For many women, body image is a constant struggle; a poor self-image can lead to a host of both mental and physical health problems. But a new study out of Temple University finds that an extremely good body image can also take its toll on a woman’s health.  Link

Maternal Mirrors:  Two new books look at the influence mothers have on their daughters’ body image—and how women can instill confidence instead of insecurity Newsweek:  Her Body (May 6, 2009) by Barbara Kantrowitz and Pat Wingert — The next time you take a look in the mirror and find yourself asking, “Does my butt look fat in this dress?” it might be worth also asking whether you should thank your mom for such thoughts. That’s the thesis of two new books that explore the influence of mothers on their daughters’ developing body images. These aren’t the typical “blame mom for everything” tomes that we usually want to toss against a wall. (After all, we are moms ourselves—as well as daughters.) Rather, both books … offer reassuring and practical advice for raising confident daughters and overcoming negative messages you may have received from your own mother.  Link

Training our brains to see ourselves in a more attractive light  ScienceDaily (May 22, 2012) — Researchers at the Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology have designed a programme called Mírate bien (Take a good look at yourself). It is a tool designed to enable us to learn to love our bodies and faces; and to improve our physical self-concept…  The students participating in the programme are not asked to do any kind of physical activity. It is the cognitive side that has to be trained here: to restructure our perceptions so that we have a more realistic awareness about our image.  Link

Self-worth needs to go beyond appearance, experts say  ScienceDaily (May 9, 2012) — Women with high family support and limited pressure to achieve the ‘thin and beautiful’ ideal have a more positive body image. That’s according to a new study looking at five factors that may help young women to be more positive about their bodies, in the context of a society where discontent with appearance is common among women.  Link

Big girls don’t cry: Overweight teens who are satisfied with their bodies are less depressed, less prone to unhealthy behaviors  ScienceDaily (Apr. 28, 2012) — A study to be published in the June 2012 issue of Journal of Adolescent Health looking at the relationships between body satisfaction and healthy psychological functioning in overweight adolescents has found that young women who are happy with the size and shape of their bodies report higher levels of self-esteem. They may also be protected against the negative behavioral and psychological factors sometimes associated with being overweight.  Link

The politics of fat: We have to keep struggling to liberate ourselves from self-hatred  AlterNet (Apr. 4, 2012) by Allison McCarthy – “We claimed the agency, we granted ourselves the authority. But we never stopped worrying about how our asses looked in our jeans.” … Psychologist Susie Orbach’s debut book Fat Is a Feminist Issue celebrates 34 years of providing theoretical and practical musings on the relationship between women and fat.  Link

For many girls, slimming down doesn’t help self-esteem:  Teens who were formerly obese often still view themselves as fat, study finds  US News & World Report: Healthday News (Apr. 3, 2012) – Weight loss doesn’t necessarily lead to a boost in obese teenage girls’ self-esteem, according to a new study.  “We found that obese black and white teenage girls who transitioned out of obesity continued to see themselves as fat, despite changes in their relative body mass,” study author Sarah Mustillo, an associate professor of sociology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., said in a university news release.  Link

Israel bans use of ultra-skinny models.  Doctors must sign off on model’s weight:Advertisers obliged to come clean on “photoshopping”  Reuters (Mar 20, 2012) – Israeli lawmakers have banned underweight models from catwalks and commercials, a measure they hope will reduce eating disorders and promote a healthy body image.  The law, passed late on Monday, says women and men cannot be hired for modeling jobs unless a doctor stipulates they are not underweight, with a body mass index (BMI) — a measure expressing a ratio of weight to height — of no less than 18.5.  Link

Sex, lies and media: New wave of activists challenge notions of beauty  cnn.com (Mar. 11, 2012) by Emanuella Grinberg – Here’s the fantasy: A half-naked woman lies across a couch, lips pouty and cleavage prominent as her sultry gaze implores you to buy this bottle of perfume.  The reality: Women make up 51% of the United States yet only 17% of seats in the House of Representatives. They’re 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs and 7% of directors in the top 250 grossing films.  What’s the connection? We live in a sexualized society where the gap between fantasy and reality is vast and harmful… Siebel-Newsom’s documentary, Miss Representation, is the latest cinematic foray in the movement to challenge portrayals of beauty in “the media,” a term used to describe all forms of mass communication, from the internet, TV, film, magazines, radio and advertising.  Link

Peer pressure drives “socially transmitted” anorexia  Reuters (Mar. 1, 2012) by Paul Casciato — Anorexia is a socially transmitted disorder and appears to be more prevalent in countries such as France where women are thinner than average, according to new research from the London School of Economics and Political Science.  The “economic analysis” of anorexia, using a sample of nearly 3,000 young women across Europe, concluded that peer group pressure is one of the most significant influences on self-image and the development of anorexia and appeared just as the autumn/winter season is winding up with Paris Fashion Week.  Link

Images in magazines and on television increase body dissatisfaction  ScienceDaily (Oct. 28, 2011) — Adolescents who read magazines and watch television contents that deal with the concept of image prove to be unhappier with their own bodies. Girls are more susceptible to experiencing a lower perception of their physical appearance. Body dissatisfaction is linked to the type of content that is consumed (diet, beauty, health or music videos) rather than the frequency of exposure.  Link

Fear of getting fat seen in healthy women’s brain scans  ScienceDaily (Apr. 14, 2010) — A group of women in a new study seemed unlikely to have body image issues — at least their responses on a tried-and-true psychological screening presented no red flags. That assessment changed when Brigham Young University researchers used MRI technology to observe what happened in the brain when people viewed images of complete strangers.  Link

Does this show make me look fat?  Ryerson University: Research News (June 25, 2009) — Dr. Stephen Want, Assistant Professor in Ryerson University’s Department of Psychology looked at the impact of television programs on young women’s body image using the sitcom Friends. He found that watching this program had a significantly adverse effect on the participants’ satisfaction with their own appearance.  Link

‘Phantom fat’ can linger after weight loss: Losing pounds doesn’t automatically shed larger-than-life self-image  msnbc.com (June 23, 2009) by Jacqueline Stenson — Even though Kellylyn Hicks has lost about 85 pounds over the last year and a half, and gone from a size 24 to a tiny size 4, she still worries she won’t fit into chairs…Some specialists use the term “phantom fat” to refer to this phenomenon of feeling fat and unacceptable after weight loss.  Link

One in five obese women select overweight or obese silhouettes as their ideal body image  ScienceDaily (May 14, 2009) — For many women, body image is a constant struggle; a poor self-image can lead to a host of both mental and physical health problems. But a new study out of Temple University finds that an extremely good body image can also take its toll on a woman’s health.  Link

Maternal Mirrors:  Two new books look at the influence mothers have on their daughters’ body image—and how women can instill confidence instead of insecurity  Newsweek:  Her Body (May 6, 2009) by Barbara Kantrowitz and Pat Wingert — The next time you take a look in the mirror and find yourself asking, “Does my butt look fat in this dress?” it might be worth also asking whether you should thank your mom for such thoughts. That’s the thesis of two new books that explore the influence of mothers on their daughters’ developing body images. These aren’t the typical “blame mom for everything” tomes that we usually want to toss against a wall. (After all, we are moms ourselves—as well as daughters.) Rather, both books … offer reassuring and practical advice for raising confident daughters and overcoming negative messages you may have received from your own mother.  Link

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