Having a few extra pounds often represents an unbalanced relationship with the body. Learn to identify this.
Medical advisor Rosa Guevara
Psychologist, practitioner at Coomeva Private Healthcare
The prototype of the “standard” female body that appears in advertisements is very far from that of a real female body. In many cases, what is “normal” has turned into going after what is “abnormal.” Where does each woman stand? How is her relationship with her body? How much do women change their bodies with the single purpose of meeting these beauty standards?
Many women are comfortable with their bodies. They take care of it out of a sense of pride that is rooted more in their self-esteem than in accepting their self-image; and may be skinny or overweight without having a conflictive relationship with food or with society.
As a psychologist, Rosa Guevara sustains, the problem arises when this extra weight is related to body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), where the body is no longer a place to be cared for or a place to experience pleasure, and instead becomes something that is mistreated. An example of this is with the eating disorder known as compulsive eating.
In this particular case, being overweight is not something natural, it is the manifestation of an unbalanced relationship. This eating disorder which not only includes compulsive eating, but bulimia, anorexia or social anxiety as well does not appear from one day to the next: its causes are deeply rooted and go beyond society’s teasing or the pressures that advertisements bring.
To get to its roots, the person with the condition must be willing to get over it, examine their past and ask themselves if they experienced extreme levels of psychological torture as a child or in their youth (60% of those who have this disorder say they have experienced this). They must also ask themselves if they received a distorted message from their parents that prioritized appearance, or on the contrary, if one of them held appearance in complete disregard. They should also question whether the adults that played significant roles in their lives during their childhood expressed their affection in an excessive way through food, changing their physical state and habits. Or if they experienced traumatic events such as abandonment (physical or emotional), or failures that triggered unhealthy feelings of insecurity when facing rejection.
“These events make people that suffer from this syndrome feel like they need to spend a lot of time eating to feel strong and be able to unconsciously manage the fear they are experiencing,” Guevara indicates.
Becoming aware of the conflict that originated in this disorder on your own, regulating the daily consumption of food through five meals a day and getting psychological support can help people improve how they feel and treat their body as a place of care, pleasure and accomplishment.
As Guevara states: “It’s not about being fat or skinny, it’s not about being a certain way. It’s about us deciding how we want to be; accepting our body just how it is”.
Being aware of the relationship we have with our body allows us to begin a new way of interacting with it as a place of care, pleasure and accomplishment.
With conditions such as body dysmorphic disorder, the relationship with the body becomes a complex issue that causes multiple forms of imbalance.