Body image

Body image disturbance: more than just one bad day

Body image disturbance occurs when a person has persistent negative thoughts about their body that can drive people to engage in weight control behaviors.

The Flourish team
Woman looks at herself in the mirror with her shirt pulled up so she can look at her stomach as she is struggling with body image disturbance.

Not all bad body image days are created equal. Sometimes, it's more than just a day—it can be more like an unshakeable feeling that something about your body is wrong and needs to be fixed.

This feeling has a name and it's body image disturbance.

What's body image disturbance?

Body image disturbance occurs when a person has persistent negative thoughts and feelings about their body. This isn't just an internal, emotional and cognitive process. It's also influenced by external factors like pressure to meet a certain appearance ideal, that can drive people to engage in weight control behaviors, including disordered eating, and place them at heightened risk for developing an eating disorder.

Some common signs of body image disturbance are repetitive dieting, excessive exercising, obsessively checking your appearance in mirrors or reflective surfaces, avoiding certain places or events because of your body (for instance, going to the beach), comparing your appearance to others', and isolating yourself from friends and family because you're ashamed or embarrassed about how you look.

CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and body image disturbance.

If body image disturbance is negatively impacting your life, you may benefit from coaching.

One of the core methodologies that Flourish's coaching is based on is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a type of therapy that's been shown to be effective in treating body image disturbance.

In using cognitive behavioral therapy for body image disturbance, you'll identify and challenge your distorted beliefs about your appearance and learn to relate to yourself with empathy and compassion.

Here's how CBT may look in practice for body image disturbance:

  1. Identify the the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that contribute to feelings of negative body image and write them down
  2. Explore the meanings and beliefs attached to these factors
  3. Identify distorted thinking patterns that contribute to negative body image
  4. Challenge the distorted thinking and replace it with more positive thinking

Start your free trial of Flourish today to work with a certified Flourish coach and address your body image disturbance today.

Headshot of Claire Siegel
Claire Siegel
Co-founder, CEO
Claire Siegel is the founder and CEO of Flourish. Claire has made it her life’s mission to help women create a sustainable approach to their physical and mental well-being.
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