According to the National Eating Disorder Society, binge eating disorders are more prevalent in all minority groups.6 Negative body image can cause anxiety and shame and contribute to low self-esteem. People with high levels of body dissatisfaction are more likely to develop an eating disorder and feelings of depression and low self-esteem.5 Eating disorders are complex and can be onset by many different aspects of a person’s life. Specifically, binge eating disorder is severe and can be life-threatening.1 Binge eating disorder can be characterized by consuming large amounts of food to the point of discomfort. Feelings of loss of control, shame, and guilt accompany this.1 Research shows that body image concerns such as weight, shape, and body dissatisfaction occur alongside binge eating disorders.3
All eating disorders may cause different effects on one’s body, but all can be a detriment to a person’s health. Eating disorders affect at least 9% of the population.2 Black, Indigenous, and People of Color are significantly less likely to be asked by a doctor about eating disorder symptoms than white people, and they are half as likely to receive a diagnosis or treatment.2 It is essential to recognize the significant issue of eating disorders and their existence in all populations and cultures.
People may have different perceptions of what body image is and what they consider when considering it. Body image mainly refers to the perception and attitudes toward one’s body.5With the promotion of positive body image, size diversity, and body acceptance for every person, no matter their background, more people may understand how to accept their bodies and overpower negative thoughts that potentially lead to disordered eating. If you or someone you know is struggling with negative body image and disordered eating, here are five tips to share and other available resources.
Five Tips for Practicing Positive Body Image:4
1. Body Appreciation: Keep in mind that our bodies are capable of so much and get us through each day.
2. What do you love about yourself? Create a list of ten things that you love about yourself unrelated to appearance.
3. Keep Good Company: Surround yourself with people who lift you up and who support growth and positive thinking.
4. Be Mindful on social media: Comparison and other issues with body image and self-esteem can arise with the use of social media. Be mindful of your feelings when scrolling.
5. Be Kind to yourself: Do something nice for your body/something that makes you happy. (Take a bubble bath, eat your favorite meal, take a nap, let yourself relax).
Eating Disorder Resources
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline:
- Call 1-800-950-6264 or text 62640
- Monday-Friday, 10:00 am – 10:00 pm ET
- Call 1-800-931-2237
- Monday – Thursday, 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
- Friday, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
- Online chat is also available via the NEDA website (https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org)
1. Binge eating disorder. National Eating Disorders Association. (2018a, February 22). https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/by-eating-disorder/bed
2. Giachin, G. (2023). Eating Disorder Statistics | General & Diversity Stats | ANAD. National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. https://anad.org/eating-disorders-statistics/
3. Lewer, M., Bauer, A., Hartmann, A. S., & Vocks, S. (2017b). Different facets of Body Image Disturbance in Binge Eating Disorder: A review. Nutrients, 9(12), 1294. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9121294
4. National Eating Disorders Association. (2021b, February 3). 10 steps to positive body Image. https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/general-information/ten-steps
5. National Eating Disorders Association. (2018, February 22). Body image & eating disorders. https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/body-image-eating-disorders
6. Statistics & Research on Eating Disorders. National Eating Disorders Association. (2021b, July 14). https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/statistics-research-eating-disorders?gclid=Cj0KCQjw9MCnBhCYARIsAB1WQVXEUD5_u6IeSH7QPnmvH4qtOobh1ZOdReAzGEvswxJ5R5c2NwKTtKAaAs9REALw_wcB
By Lilly Cates