Category Archives: Body Image

Engage your body! Be fit and feel good.

As a health psychologist working with people who are trying to change their relationship with food and their bodies, I don’t put a focus on weight.  That is problematic for a wide variety of reasons and it usually doesn’t help.  Instead, I ask people to pay attention to how their bodies feel as they do certain activities and eat various kinds of food.  Paying close attention to the effects of these things on the body then begins to shape our behavior naturally.  If it feels healthy, we do more of that.  If it feels unhealthy, we do less.  Makes sense.  Yes?

In particular, getting in touch with the body’s need to move and stretch and breath encourages us to engage it more often.  It feels good.   And we can be fit and feel good, even at a weight that you might think is too high for you.  And when we exercise we boost our metabolism and are more likely to maintain our weight.  Read more about research in this are conducted by Dr. Thomas at the University of Missouri–very enlightening and worth a read.

The down low is that, once again, we are hearing good evidence about why we need to get more physically active.  We were designed to be more active than we are today.  We, as a culture, have sat down and we forgot to get up.  Continue reading

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What are you thinking?!

I’ve been particularly struck this week by the devastation that occurs when we engage in negative speech toward ourselves and others.  It is so common to be critical of ourselves that we are often unconscious of how much we engage in this type of thinking.  While we can’t really stop the critical thinking from happening (our brains are apparently hardwired to be particularly fond of a negative thinking style), we can become more aware of the negative thinking.  When we become aware, we can step back from the negative thought and acknowledge it from the perspective of being separate from it (not taking it personally).  We don’t have to believe a negative thought and we don’t have to feed the negative thoughts.  In the process (at least in my experience), the negative thoughts eventually lessen and I am able to gain a wider perspective  on myself or the situation—even leaving room for a positive thought to arise.    I know that my negative thoughts will re-occur and they often have a familiar pattern to them.   I do not expect them to completely go away.  Knowing this, I have decided that it’s best to make friends with my brain and the thoughts that percolate up from it.  I don’t have to be at its mercy!   No self-deprecating thought or negative thought about anyone else is helpful. (This idea might take some time to digest, but give it a try.) Continue reading

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How yoga changes how you eat!

There is a fairly new measurement of “mindful eating” that was published in the American Dietetic Association Journal (Framson,, 2009) that I am very excited to start using in my research here at the University of Missouri.  Their findings regarding the relationship between doing yoga and mindful eating was also particularly intriguing. Continue reading

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The falsity of perfection.

I recently received this video that highlights the way models and actors use photoshop to hide the imperfections they have.  This one is from Sarah at

The Dove Campaign has a couple of good ones as well. This one shows you the transformation of a model in fast forward and this one shows you how bombarded with are with images of how we should look  Both a good watch!

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Beware of unhealthy advice from “health magazines”

I used to follow health magazines and articles to try to eat healthy, but for a while it was a problem because it would always become tangled up with the diet mentality. As told by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in their book Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works, it’s not about calories (the focus of most diets). It’s about your body signals: what, when, how much do you need? Continue reading

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Getting Real About Our Bodies

lookinginthemirrorMary (whose name has been changed to protect her innocence) is in 6th grade, loves physical activity and has taken great pride in being able to be more physically able than some of the boys in her class.  She has been described by her mother as a “foodie.”   She loves unusual food for a girl her age, already having acquired a taste for ethnic food and for a wide variety of tastes and flavors not usually developed in a girl her age.  Until recently, she had never said anything negative about her weight or her body.  Continue reading

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