Insights Into Teens: Episode 44 "Body Image"

What is body image and what is the significance of negative or positive body image? We’ll discuss this as well as the common causes of body image issues, the impact it has on a developing teen and at what age the issue of body image begins to play a part in our children. We’ll also look at the warning signs of negative body image, look at some interesting statistics on body image and offer some helpful hints on how to help your teens deal with negative body image.

Insights Into Teens

Transcription

Speaker 1: 00:01 Insightful podcast, a podcast network.

Speaker 3: 00:26 Welcome to insights into teens, a podcast series, exploring the issues and challenges of today’s youth. Your hosts are Joseph and Madison, Whalen, a father and daughter team making their way through the challenges of the teenage years.

Speaker 4: 00:51 Welcome to insights into teams. This is episode 44 body image. I’m your host, Joseph Waylon and my always brilliant and beautiful cohost Madison whale. And how are you doing today, Maddie?

Speaker 5: 01:09 Not too good. Not really. At least

Speaker 4: 01:12 Not feeling so good today.

Speaker 5: 01:14 I’m kind of on my monthly right now. Kind of feeling lazy and my stomach kind of hurts me. No.

Speaker 4: 01:20 Then anything to do with a Thanksgiving dinner yesterday? No, I barely ate. Oh, okay. Yeah. So this is our post Thanksgiving episode.

Speaker 4: 01:35 Sure I have, I have this written down wrong on here. So we will be talking about body image. I’m, before we get into that, I do want to offer a kind of editorial here for the, for the viewers of the podcast. It’s very obvious that I am a person of size. We’ll say. So someone who has been a large all of his life. I’ve struggled with body image myself. So this one is kind of a I don’t know when that’s when it kinda hits home with me. But body image is something that a lot of teens tend to tend to go through because of the awkward socialization side of things going through your teen years. So hopefully we should help a few teens out there, educate some folks in and maybe actually enlighten some folks. Yeah. So ready to get into it. Yep. Alright, let’s get started.

Speaker 4: 02:46 So today we are talking about a body image and body image can be negative or positive. For the definition of this, I went out to a site that we’ve used in the pants called women’s house.gov and they defined body image as your body image is what you think and how you feel when you look in the mirror or when you picture yourself in your mind. This includes how you feel about your appearance, what you think about your body itself, such as your height and weight, and how you feel within your own skin. Body image also includes how you behave as a result of your thoughts and feelings. You may have a positive body image or a negative body image. Body image is not always related to your weight or size. So let me just start off by asking, you know, do you have a firm idea of what we talk about when we say body image? Do you consider your, do you consider that you have a positive or a negative body image of yourself?

Speaker 7: 03:57 I definitely think I have more of a positive than a negative. I definitely remember before, I think I used to have a sort of negative body image. Now I have a little more positive.

Speaker 4: 04:08 Good. Well, what we’re going to do as we go through this is we’re going to talk about why a healthy body image is important. We’re going to talk about the causes of negative body image, what the signs and the symptoms of negative body image are. Then we’ll look at some statistics on body image.

Speaker 7: 04:27 Hey, we haven’t had those in the bed.

Speaker 4: 04:28 Well we, it was like two episodes ago coming from Slack. Then we’ll look at some developmental milestones and this is how we’d look at body image at different ages and how we perceive. And I thought it was kind of interesting to include in here. Then we’ll talk about 10 steps to improve and have a positive body image. So let’s talk about why a healthy body image is important. So the first thing that they talk about here as individuals with a positive body image or more likely to have good physical and mental health, what are your thoughts on that?

Speaker 7: 05:17 I can definitely say that can work out with good physical and mental health. You will be less worried about like how you look and more worried about more important things. Like I’m not saying that your appearance is what is non porn, but it’s definitely takes a lot of stress off your mind and no locks and without having no worry about looking good just for the benefit of others. And for the benefit of yourself? I agree.

Speaker 4: 05:53 They go on to say the girls and women with negative thoughts and feelings about their bodies are more likely to develop certain mental health conditions such as eating disorders and depression. Have you ever, you say you now have a fairly positive body image now when it wasn’t as positive, did you feel as though it was affecting you mentally or causing you to change your eating patterns or anything like that?

Speaker 7: 06:21 I mean I never really took anything into action but it definitely put a lot of, it definitely made me think about my body mentally like how I got to this point and if I was going to end up just being completely unhealthy or that I was unhealthy now and I just got like just all these thoughts in my brain and I was just afraid I guess.

Speaker 4: 06:47 So let’s let’s talk them in, in the belt. What the negative body image from what you’re saying, it’s almost as though you were, you were more health conscious of your negative body image thing. You were about social interaction type things.

Speaker 7: 07:00 Yeah. I actually didn’t think too much about the social interactions. I would just worry that I like, I would see most of my other friends didn’t really have like I don’t, I’m not gonna leave fat, I’m just, I don’t have a slim like thin body. Like some of my friends said the nobodies than me. And I think that was the main cause just seeing other people on how they were thinner, but they probably didn’t go through poop puberty, which I also helped me get out of that phase. Like I didn’t feel it put in a thought about puberty because the main reason why people can start to grow a bit is how M is with puberty.

Speaker 4: 07:48 Correct. Yeah. And that’s the thing. I mean, and the thing is once, once girls enter puberty and they start their monthly cycle, their monthly cycle causes him to put on weight and, and fluctuate their weight, you know, on, you know, almost weekly, you know, biweekly cycles there. So to, to be, to fixate on a certain body type or body size is probably not the healthiest thing to live your life healthy really is the way to go. So they go on to talk about research. Researchers think that dissatisfaction with their bodies, maybe part of the reason more females than males have depression. Have you encountered any of your friends or anyone like that who may or may not have body image and their, do you know if they’re depressed, does their depression or does their mental state seem to be fueled by their body image?

Speaker 7: 08:46 I mean, I don’t have a name. My friends who are going through depression as I know of, but I do know my one friend who I’ve known for a while, Mariah, she she went through like in like when we were in sixth grade and we would just sit down and talk to each other about how the day’s going or a bit about our problems. She would come, she would occasionally bring up the fact that she thinks she’s overweight. And

Speaker 4: 09:12 Now, now let me ask, when she thought that, was that her thinking that or was that other people insinuating that to her? Did she not indicate that?

Speaker 7: 09:23 I think it started off with just her view of it because she just I can definitely say she’s not slim. She’s sorta SIM the similar, similar with mine,

Speaker 4: 09:40 Right? It’s an has an average body or she’s not too skinny. She’s not fat, you know, she’s sort of in the middle there like you are. And I can say that with, with complete confidence, having been a fat kid my whole life, so I kind of know what fat is. So I consider myself an expert on that. But in my case, most of the time and I’m not really sure why, mostly because I think kids are mean in general at certain ages. The kids always seem to want to point out to me that I was fat as if I couldn’t, you know, notice that myself. Thank you very much. I appreciate the diagnosis. Where’d you get your doctorate? Trump. So it’s curious to me if someone thinks that they’re overweight, I, I was wonder how they come to that conclusion. Is it a medical diagnosis? Is a kid saying it to you ingest or out of meanness or is it you looking at someone else and thinking that’s the ideal body size and type and that’s what you aspire to be. Now do you encounter that where you, where you have this idea of what you should look like based on someone else?

Speaker 7: 11:03 I just know that when I was suffering through a sort of negative body image it was definitely probably because I saw other people who were definitely a little slimmer than I was. And that kind of put me into that phase and then it got me thinking, am I not eating right? And that whole phase started.

Speaker 4: 11:26 Okay. So the study goes on to say that negative body image may also lead to low self esteem, which can affect many areas of your life. Now when you did go through this or if you see any of your other friends who have gone through this, has it affected their self esteem? We’ve, we’ve talked about with self esteem is in the past, do you think it negatively affected their self esteem?

Speaker 7: 11:52 Well, I’m pretty sure with my

Speaker 4: 11:54 Friend Mariah it probably lowered her self esteem because she wasn’t as confident because self esteem needs a bit of confidence and she lost a bit of that confidence, meaning she lost a bit of her self esteem. I definitely know that when I had my face I lost a bit of my self esteem as well. Yeah. And I, and I can totally see that having grown up as not the most athletic person myself and having been a large person my whole life. You know, the stuff that people say to you under those circumstances can definitely lower your self esteem and make you think differently of yourself until you kind of learn how to cope with that or change things, you know? So they go on to say in the last thing in this segment is you may not want to be around other people or may obsess constantly about what you eat and how you exercise or how much you exercise. So when you are going through this, where are you overly concerned about your diet? Are you trying to get more exercise? What helped you get through the process to where you are today?

Speaker 7: 13:09 I think the best part was the fact, well to get through. I’ll explain later. So I think when I was going through the whole and they changed my diet phase, I would try to eat a little more healthy. Unfortunately it didn’t last too long because I’m sort of a snacker like you are eventually. I just had no idea what I was going to do. But then mommy reassured me. You guys reassured me that I was completely healthy and, and I actually learned that there can be types of people who look like athletes but just aren’t, don’t have a healthy diet and people who are completely healthy and don’t look like a supermodel.

Speaker 4: 13:54 Absolutely. Yeah. It’s, I mean body types vary from, from person to person from lifestyle, the lifestyle and you can be rail thin but never exercise a day in your life and be incredibly unhealthy with what you eat. A lot of people just have high metabolisms and they burn it off better, but it doesn’t make them any healthier.

Speaker 7: 14:15 Yeah, I definitely think knowing, knowing all that information that definitely helped me get out of my negative body phase and definitely helped my self esteem.

Speaker 4: 14:26 Excellent. Excellent. Well, we’ll take a little break. When we come back we’ll talk about what causes negative body image. So as you might imagine, there’s a long laundry list of things that could cause negative body image. Most of them tend to center around past events or circumstances and experiences and, and these include things like being teased or bullied as a child for how you looked, which is something that I had to go through for quite some time. When you were going through your negative body image phase for you, was there outside forces like that, that were, were picking on you or, or saying things that were unkind towards you based on that?

Speaker 7: 15:17 To be honest, I really didn’t have too much social interaction when I was going through that phase. And it was sort of a good thing, but also in a way sort of a bad thing. I didn’t really interact with people that much and I know from the F I know I can remember that people wouldn’t pick in my gym class. People wouldn’t really pick me first because I wasn’t really the most athletic kid and I was pretty bad at sports and I’m still pretty bad at sports.

Speaker 4: 15:45 Right. But that didn’t affect your, your body image though, did it?

Speaker 7: 15:51 Not really. It just really affected the fact that I’m not that athletic. I think that was the worst part that happened along with the phase of being invisible.

Speaker 4: 16:03 Right. So one of the other things that that can affect this is being told you’re ugly or too fat or too thin or having other aspects of your appearance criticized in dark skin and you might have a skin condition that you’re made fun of. Could be anything about your looks, your hair, your eyes, you know, anything. Did you ever run into anything where kids were just flat out attacking you based on your appearance?

Speaker 7: 16:35 I can’t say so, no because I really have, I had a good group of friends and by that time we kind of had our clerks and even though kids are cruel, I never really experienced anything like that.

Speaker 4: 16:48 Okay. Well that’s good. You were very fortunate in that. They also say that seeing images or messages in the media, including social media that make you feel bad about how you look. And in a lot of these tend to go, you, you hear a lot of controversy about idealized body images. Barbie was criticized for the longest time for making bowels who were very thin with long legs and you know, perfect body measurements and they took a lot of heat for that because they were accused of portraying an unreal body image to little girls and little girls who didn’t have reflect those body images. Felt bad for it. Have you run into anything like that in the media that’s affected your, your body image?

Speaker 7: 17:43 I’m not really, I don’t really go to social media that much. I really wasn’t too exposed to it.

Speaker 4: 17:51 Well, I think they’re referring to advertisements and magazines or commercials.

Speaker 7: 17:56 Honestly, I don’t, I really don’t pay attention to commercials. I always try to skip the ads and YouTube and I really don’t read the newspaper. Okay. Basically I have no real social interaction with the world.

Speaker 4: 18:08 Fair enough. The other one, and this is kind of an obvious one, but they talk about being underweight or overweight or obese, you know, actually having a physical condition associated with your weight. When you went through what you did, was it because of, you know, you may have had a few extra pounds on or something like that. Was there a legitimate concern that you had?

Speaker 7: 18:37 I think that was a small concern. The last time I had went to the doctor before the whole body image problem I had learned I was a bit overweight and I think that also sort of triggered it. Like whenever I would think back to my body image, I would always go back to that moment like learning that I was actually quite overweight and that would also kind of make me a bit upset.

Speaker 4: 18:59 Right. And I think the problem that we have here is that the definition that the clinical definition of obese is probably not terribly realistic and it’s changing constantly. The, they have the a measurement called your body mass index and that measurements based on your height, you’re weighing your age and various factors and you know, what your, your BMI is, is what they refer to it as. Sometimes it’s almost impossible to achieve. Like for me, for someone my height at six foot four, my BMI for my body makeup would be somewhere around 210 pounds. Well, I don’t think I’ve been 210 pounds since I was like 12. So for me to reach that weight would almost be physically impossible. And, and I think the problem is that a lot of our medical professionals you know, they adopt these clinical terms and measurements and they try to impose that on us and it causes more harm than good in situations like that.

Speaker 4: 20:15 They also say in rare cases people can have such a distorted view of their bodies that they have a mental health condition called body dysmorphic disorder or BDD. BDD is a serious illness in which a person has preoccupied with minor or imaginary physical flaws. And I didn’t know what this was. I wasn’t familiar with the term when I did the research for the show. So I went and I dug a little bit deeper and I found information on kids health.org, which is a site that we’ve used in many times in the past. And they had this definition for BD. The body dysmorphic disorder causes people to believe that parts of their body look ugly. People with BDD spend hours focused on what they think is wrong with their looks. Many times a day they do things to check, fix, cover up or ask others about their looks. They focus on flaws that seem minor to others. And I’ll, I’ll throw the question over to you and see what you think of it, but I’m pretty sure you don’t suffer from this because you don’t seem to have any of these symptoms. What are your thoughts on it?

Speaker 7: 21:29 I have to be honest, I really don’t obsess over one problem that I might have. The only real big thing that I obsessed about is just the fact that my hair is neat because I don’t like looking like a hot mess.

Speaker 4: 21:44 Well, and you have a lot of hair and your hair is very high maintenance too. So that’s a whole nother story. So that’s just some idea of what causes negative body image. So we’ll come back, we’ll look at what some of the symptoms are. So we can look for these in our friends and loved ones and see if we can help people out.

Speaker 4: 22:14 So this came from a new site we haven’t used in the past called perspectives of troy.com. And I use this just because the it sorta summed up in a nice, neat list what most of these symptoms were and, and I cross reference most of them with other sites. So the first one that they list here is frequent comparison of shape and size to others. The example they give are, you know, his abs are so much better than mine. So do you find yourself looking at other people and comparing yourself physically from a aesthetic standpoint to others?

Speaker 7: 22:54 Well, I can definitely say when I was going through my whole negative body phase I could definitely compare myself to others. Like I would compare my Athleta zone, I would compare my body shape, just all that kind of thing.

Speaker 4: 23:08 So the next sign that they have is feeling ashamed, self-conscious, uncomfortable, awkward and anxious about your body. Did you feel any of those emotions when it came to your body during that time?

Speaker 7: 23:23 I think I’d be a little anxious. Like I was wondering if people would think that I’m fat or if they would just eventually turn the tables and just be mean because of how I looked. And I was just, I was just worried about that and I’m pretty sure my friend Mariah also went through a similar phase.

Speaker 4: 23:44 And I think that’s a common thing

Speaker 7: 23:46 To go through. Not just with body image stuff, but you know, just in social situations in general. And, and it’s one of those things that doesn’t go away with age either. So it’s something that, you know, you kind of have to deal with all your life. But that’s just a, a social norm. The next sign they say is negative thinking or making disparaging comments about your body and associated feelings of envy or jealousy and making judgment judgments about others’ bodies. The example they give here is, Aw, my stomach is enormous. So they’re saying that in situations like this, you focus on something of your own body and you have negative thoughts and you voice those negative thoughts about it. Was that something that you’ve ever encountered? I’ve never really ever said any my thoughts out loud. I still really don’t see most of my thoughts out loud except normally on the podcast. That’s the only real place I actually voiced some of my thoughts. I definitely know I’ve never vote voiced it at others. I actually never even told him and my friends I used to have O negative body image. I would just remain silent. Great. If they even watch that days.

Speaker 4: 25:08 Well you’ll find out on Monday, I guess. Right. the next thing they have is difficulty accepting compliments. How are you with taking compliments on your appearance?

Speaker 7: 25:22 I’m always, I always I’m always grateful for people who think like most of the time they like thank me for my hair because I diet. I always say thank you. I’m sort of it’s really the same thing with mommy. Like, we always think people, and I’m always grateful when people sorta like how my hair looks. Honestly, I don’t really get too much on my body image unless I’m wearing like a fancy dress. That’s like the only time they ever compliment me on my .

Speaker 4: 25:55 But if someone does compliment you on your appearance, is it, are you comfortable with taking a compliment? Does it make you feel awkward? Do you not feel worthy of the compliment? I think that’s kind of what they’re getting at.

Speaker 7: 26:07 I’m, I’m okay with accepting compliments. I’m definitely not like anxious. Like I’m not, I’m able to accept the compliment

Speaker 4: 26:16 And you don’t fish for him either, which, which I like.

Speaker 7: 26:20 Yeah. I’m not that kind of person. If I get a compliment, I’m grateful for it. And I definitely don’t try to seek compliments because I try to avoid all social interaction.

Speaker 4: 26:29 Yes. You’ve mentioned that several times just on this pond.

Speaker 7: 26:31 I know we’re clearly going to have to have a podcast on that. Great. Then we already have one loan.

Speaker 4: 26:37 Well, obviously it didn’t help. We’re going to have to have another one. Right? So the next thing they talk about is obsessive scrutiny in mirrors or sometimes avoiding mirrors in fear of feeling disappointed. So do you a look at yourself in judgment all the time in a mirror or B, do you avoid mirrors so that you don’t see yourself and feel bad either? Good. So that’s fairly healthy. So that’s something that that’s a sign. Another sign,

Speaker 7: 27:10 Honestly, I normally use mirrors just so I can help myself brush my teeth and I normally just look at myself in the mirror in the bathroom and I’m just like, the only real negative thing I ever think is just, well, I look like a man I saw well, right, because it’s normally a lazy weekend.

Speaker 4: 27:26 Well, there you go. There’s nothing wrong with that. Nope. Another sign is frequently weighing yourself. You don’t wear yourself unless you’re going to, the doctors do.

Speaker 7: 27:36 Yeah. That’s the only real, or if I need a checkup in the nurse, that’s the only way I ever did that. Those are the only times I ever weigh myself.

Speaker 4: 27:43 And when we have, you know, with mommy and I trying to watch our weight, we have several scales in the house. So it’s not like there’s a, an inability to do so. It’s just you don’t have a desire to do so. Yeah. Good. the next one is avoiding certain articles of clothing due to your own perception of body or due to fear of being scrutinized or avoiding events because you don’t think you look good enough. How picky are you about your clothes? Let me, let me ask it from that perspective.

Speaker 7: 28:18 The only real prob pickiness I have with my clothes that I don’t like fancy outfits. My ideal outfit is just a tee shirt, a hoodie.

Speaker 4: 28:27 Now why don’t you like fancy outfits? Is it because you don’t like the way you look in them? Is it because they’re not comfortable? What is it?

Speaker 7: 28:35 Well, it’s mainly because I don’t think they’re comfortable. Plus, even though people say I look good in them, I honestly can’t really see it because I have literally no taste and beauty.

Speaker 4: 28:44 Although you’re an artist, you’ll figure. Yeah. Okay. All right. So the next thing that they talk about here is a preoccupation with body shape or size. Like you want to get skinny or you want to, you know, you’re an athlete, you want to bulk up. You can, have you ever had any of those urges?

Speaker 7: 29:04 Not really. I mean, when I had my body image problem, I would want to try to watch what I was eating to hopefully get a little thinner. Honestly, now I’m just, I don’t really care if I changed my body, I’m perfectly fine with my body now.

Speaker 4: 29:20 Okay. And the last thing that they have here is disordered eating or exercise patterns. Now let me put a, just a caveat in here that our next podcast is going to be on eating disorders. That sort of came up as a significant recurring when I was doing research for body image and I knew we didn’t have enough time to really spend in this podcast to cover that because of how much material there was. So we’re going to have a separate podcast just for that. So let me just ask the question or point out that eating disorders are another thing. These are patterns that can include bingeing purging, restricting food, excessive counting of calories. You should diet pills, diuretics, laxatives, blah, blah, blah. Have you ever had a situation where you had, I don’t want to say an obsession with how you intake food, but more interest than you traditionally would normally have? You know, from the perspective of just ingesting sustenance to survive?

Speaker 7: 30:34 I mean, to be honest, the only real problem might have is sort of the opposite. What most people have when they have body image. I don’t feel like I’m eating enough. Like whenever we have Chinese and I used to get like the chicken wings, I would really only one and like I would just think it’s that even enough for me, I would really only have that and the soda and that’s like all I would have for that dinner. And like I would constantly, I, I’m still sort of suffering from that. Like the only real prob, like I always think I don’t really eat too much because one, I never really finished my food at restaurants too. I don’t real like, I mean you guys keep saying that I’m eating normally and I don’t know why, but I haven’t been able to shake the fact that I’m not eating enough.

Speaker 4: 31:18 Okay. And, and I think you’re eating right where you need to eat. I think if you walk away from the table and you’re hungry all the time, then you’re not eating enough. Yeah. If you eat to the point of being satisfied and not being hungry, then you’ve eaten.

Speaker 7: 31:39 Yeah. That’s basically how it is. Just, I don’t eat that much, but I’m satisfied with what I get.

Speaker 4: 31:45 Right. And a lot of people, you know, it depends on their body makeup, their metabolism. I have a friend of mine at work who eats probably eight times a day. He eats small meals. He eats them frequently, every few hours, and that’s how his body’s adjusted to it. I have some people that I know that, you know, they might not eat all day, they won’t eat breakfast or lunch and I’ll have a big dinner. And that just happens to be how their body’s adjusted to it. So as long as you’re eating in a way that is satisfying you and not leaving you hungry when you walk away from the table and you’re healthy, which you are and, and that’s really the key you’re eating in a way that satisfies you and is keeping you at a healthy weight and then you’re doing the right thing. What you might want to look at is maybe what you’re eating. You want to make sure you’re taking the correct dietary requirements in and stuff like that. And that’s another discussion to talk about, you know, about dietary patterns. But I don’t think it’s a situation of you not eating enough nor eating too much at this point. So we’ll come back and we’ll just have a quick discussion on the statistics of body image.

Speaker 4: 33:10 So in doing my research, I went out and kind of found some interesting things and I didn’t write the name of the website down. I do have the URLs. It’s a Mac mh.org is where I got these statistics. And they were struck me as curious and I thought they were worthwhile to mention here. So the first one they talk about is that approximately 80% of us women don’t like how they look. And I thought, I thought that was kind of interesting that that number was so high. I didn’t expect it to be so high. What are your thoughts on that?

Speaker 7: 33:49 I definitely think that it’s a pretty high rate. I have, I mean I know that women can like ups, I know women that obsess about their locks and it events and it doesn’t, and sometimes it doesn’t turn them into good people. And when people do obsess over having the quote unquote perfect body it can just lead to major problems. And I, I’m kinda surprised that, that, that I knew like the majority of women suffer from body image. But I didn’t know so high.

Speaker 4: 34:29 So let me ask you this, what do you, what percentage of men do you think are dissatisfying?

Speaker 7: 34:36 Pretty sure. Less than half because we don’t, you don’t really hear too many men like,

Speaker 4: 34:44 And you were spot on with that. So the statistic that I found said that 34% of men are dissatisfied with their bodies. So that’s, that’s a very astute observation.

Speaker 4: 34:59 So the next statistic deals with the percentage of Americans who aren’t happy with their current week. What do you think that is?

Speaker 7: 35:12 At least it, I think at least 50%

Speaker 4: 35:18 Spot on over and it just, it says over, so it’s statistically insignificantly over, over 50% of Americans aren’t, are not happy about their current weight. And you know, that an interesting thing, a takeaway to this is the portion size of our meals the United States portion size is significantly higher than the rest of the world. I had gone to Ireland a few years back for, for business and the time that I spent over there really showed me that the portion size that we can get here just for a plate at dinner is probably about 40% more food on our plate than what they serve. You know, in Europe at this point in time. And that says a lot for that statistic of 50% don’t like their wheat. 70% of normal weighted women, normal being the clinical definition of a healthy weight, want to be thinner. What do you think would drive someone who’s healthy to want to be even thinner?

Speaker 7: 36:33 I guess just figuring out that there are other people who look thinner and they might think they are not eating healthy enough and that eventually curse them eating either less there. It probably leads to the meeting less food, getting them so thin that they can probably even look like they’re almost to the point of being a skeleton. And I think that is one of the worst things to have. Like you’re a perfectly normal, healthy person and it’s actually fun to have a little bit of weight and you cause, can you imagine? So imagine you’re stranded on an Island and you’re right next to it and you’re sort of an overweight person, like an instrument next to this, I don’t know, model, you’re probably going to last longer than the model because you have all the extra fat build up.

Speaker 4: 37:26 That’s true. Let’s hope we don’t get stuck on a desert Island. But I think you’re right. I think it’s a lot of social anxiety that, that puts pressure on women to want to look thinner. Yeah. This is another one that I thought was kind of disturbing. Over 80% of ten-year-olds are afraid of being fat. Have you ever had a fear of being fat? I mean, mommy and daddy are large people, so I could certainly see where there’d be a concern.

Speaker 7: 37:58 I guess it wasn’t until, I think when I reached puberty that I actually worried about my weight. Honestly, as a 10 year old, I really had more porn things. I wanted to worry about and I didn’t ever really think about my body image until puberty hit me. I went, I learned about how I’m a bit overweight and at the doctors and just seeing how my friends look.

Speaker 4: 38:23 Right? So here’s a statistic that will hit home 13 year old American girls are unhappy with their bodies. What percentage of those do you think are probably over half? Yeah, 53%. So it starts that young and we’ll talk about developmental milestones later and we’ll see what age is that. We start seeing these concerns up. They say this number grows the 78% by the time the girls reach 17. So it gets progressively worse by middle school, 40 to 70% of the girls are dissatisfied with two or more parts of their body. So now we’re getting into specifics. Around 30% of 10 to 14 year olds are actively dieting. And most nutritionists will tell you that dieting is not the answer. You shouldn’t be on a diet. You should be making lifestyle choices that are things you can sustain. A 46% of nine to 11 year olds are sometimes, or very often on diets, 82% of their families are sometimes or very often on diets.

Speaker 4: 39:35 Over 50% of teen girls and 30% of teen boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking, cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives. So you’re seeing some sort of, some sort of a extreme stuff there. And the last one that we have is adolescent girls who diet frequently are 12 times as likely to binge eat as girls who don’t, and we’ll talk about binge eating in next week’s podcast. Okay. So there’s some kind of disturbing, disturbing statistics that we have there that’s just sort of the highlight. You know, what our body image issues really look like. So we’ll come back, we’ll talk about some developmental milestones and we’ll see exactly where and when these concerns start to creep in.

Speaker 4: 40:34 So this study comes from a same place, a Mac mh.org and they took kind of a holistic approach to this and they started very young ages and he talks about how kids see things. So the first thing you say is that children begin to recognize themselves around age two where they can, you know, recognize themselves from others. They say around age four, we begin to compare ourselves to others. And then body image concerns around this age are usually focused on clothing and hair. So it’s almost like a social competition at that point. Yeah. Body size awareness tends to enter around age five. However, it’s usually focused on wanting to be bigger. Kids want to grow up, they want to be treated bigger. At age six, we when the socio cultural factors start to influence body dissatisfaction, 40 of elementary school girls in 25% of boys want to be thinner.

Speaker 4: 41:39 Late elementary school, 50% of girls are dissatisfied with weight and shape and have developed pervasive negative body esteem. So we’re talking at this point in time, sixth grade, we’re starting to get to that point of negative body image. Elementary schools were body esteem for girls and boys starts to diverge and remains different throughout their lifespan. Before elementary school, girls and boys feel equally positive about themselves around the age of 11 or 12 girls and boys score. Similarly on self esteem measures, after the age of 12 girls scores plummet. While boys remain relatively constant, this is likely related in part to significant body changes with onset puberty. So you hit the nail right on the head with that one. You know, your body starts changing and you immediately start seeing yourself differently because you are, I mean, you’re, your body’s different at that point. So that’s really where parents and guardians and teachers have to kind of keep an eye on kids and try to keep kids on the right track at that point because otherwise it can go South pretty fast. Self-Esteem fluctuates Warren girls than boys. As early as the preteen years, girls start their withdrawal from activities such as giving an opinion, going to school, going to the pool because they feel badly about how they look. Have you ever had a situation where you didn’t do something because of how you thought you look?

Speaker 7: 43:27 Well, I definitely know whenever I would go to swimming pools, I definitely didn’t want like revealing bathing suits. So whenever we went shopping, I always asked mommy like if she could like get me like things, a bathing suit that covered my chest because I don’t really, I mean I still do that now because I don’t really like it if people see my skin like my stomach bear, I really don’t like, I really don’t want people to do that. Plus I stray away from other clothes that are similar to that, that show any part of my skin, which is why I mainly wear hoodies. And I just don’t really, and I always love wearing big clothes because they just feel comfortable. Not only do they feel comfortable, but they cover up most of my body.

Speaker 4: 44:14 Yeah, I know, I see. I totally understand. So they go on to say that in middle school, girls start to actively manage their appearance, which is exactly what you’re talking about here. The risk for depression, self-harm, eating disorders and anxiety go up. We about anxiety already. We do a podcast plan for eating disorders and self-harming too for girls. Middle school’s particularly stressful because everything is happening at once. Puberty, social change in everything. Which you’ve certainly alluded to in many of our discussions. Body satisfaction hits a low between the ages of 12 and 15 and is the most important component of self esteem. And I think that’s very important to keep in mind here is that knowing when it’s going to happen, it’s important. But knowing that that is really the key to self esteem is vitally important because that’s something that, that parents can really help kids focus on to offset any problems that that might occur. Adolescent girls often think that being thinner would make them happier, healthier and better looking, which we know is not always the case cause a lot of times you can be very unhealthy if you’re too thin.

Speaker 4: 45:39 Focused on fitting in is problematic for girls who mature at different rates than peers. We know girls mature faster than boys, so that definitely is an issue. Competitive athletics can take a toll on body image and self esteem, especially when you’re not particularly interested in athletics. And the last one says, a recent study reported that 19% of high school girls reported chronic dieting and 57% engage in unhealthy weight control behaviors. So the only thing that I want to leave that segment on a note with is that it’s a serious issue. You know, when your team comes to you and they think that they look fat or they don’t like how they look or whatever it is, if it’s something that is apparent with their appearance, take it seriously. Help them out and do what you can because it’s vitally important to them in the longterm. So we’ll come back, we’ll talk about 10 steps to positive body image. So the first thing is appreciate all that your body can do every day your body carries you closer to your dreams. Celebrate all of the amazing things that your body does for you. Running, dancing, breathing, laughing and dreaming. So everyone has imperfections with their body. But your body is an amazing thing. You are an amazing individual and you have to appreciate that. What do you think of that?

Speaker 7: 47:21 That’s definitely an important step on how to get a positive body image. I definitely think that advice that you guys have given me has also me with my own body image. Like knowing that your body is everything and that you should be happy with who you are and you take time to appreciate who you are. You definitely move. You definitely, it definitely helps you move forward in life. Excellent. Keep it

Speaker 4: 47:47 The top 10 list of the things you like about yourself, things that aren’t related to how much you weigh or what you look like. Read your list often at add to it as you become aware of more things you like about yourself. You know, give me three things right now that you like about yourself.

Speaker 7: 48:06 I liked the fact of my creative mindset, like my art, my art ability, and I liked the fact that I’m intelligent.

Speaker 4: 48:16 Perfect. And it’s one of those things that you keep adding to that list and you realize how fantastic a person you really are in time. And that’s important. Remind yourself that true beauty is not simply skin deep. When you feel good about yourself and who you are, you carry yourself with a sense of confidence, self acceptance and openness that makes you beautiful. Beauty is a state of mind, not a state of your body. And I totally agree with that. Being an angry person herself, I do try to be beautiful on the inside when I can.

Speaker 4: 48:54 Look at yourself as a whole person. When you see yourself in a mirror or in your mind, choose not to focus on specific body parts. See yourself as you want others to see you as a whole person. We all have imperfections. Don’t focus on those because the whole of the body outweighs individual imperfections, right? Surround yourself with positive people. It’s easier to feel good about yourself and your body when you are around others who are supportive and who recognize the importance of liking yourself just as you naturally are. And I think this was highlighted very well yesterday with the family that we were around for Thanksgiving. Aunt Chris and the whole crew up in Bethlehem. There are fantastically positive and uplifting whenever we get a chance to spend time with them. When you agree, yup. Shut down those voices in your head that tell you your body is not right or that you are a bad person, you can overpower those negative thoughts with positive ones.

Speaker 4: 50:07 The next time you started to tear yourself down, build yourself back up with a few quick affirmations that work for you, where you all get down on ourselves. You tend to be hard on yourself, on academics more than anything else, but you have to understand that sometimes when you are down on yourself, you need to turn it around. You need to realize that, okay, I did this wrong. I have this flaw or whatever it is, but that doesn’t make me a bad person. Right? Yup. Make mistakes but learn from them. Wear clothes that are comfortable and that make you feel good about your body. Work with your body, not against it. I think you’ve already got that one down Pat.

Speaker 7: 50:50 Yeah. And I think that the may, the major step that I took to get there was before Marie would do my hair up all nice, put me in a dress or fancy outfit for our picture days. And frankly, as I got older I didn’t exactly feel like I wanted to do that. I don’t like having my hair down and I don’t want like wearing fancy clothes. So eventually I had decided to bring up the courage and ask you guys if I could dress up normally. Now I’m able to wear comfortable clothes that mommy’s okay, was taking pictures with it.

Speaker 4: 51:26 Perfect. There are some times that we have to dress up. I do not like wearing suits. I prefer casual clothes myself. But there are certain events that you have to add just simply out of respect for others.

Speaker 7: 51:37 Yeah. And I can still do that. I just make sure I get changed when I get home. Right, right.

Speaker 4: 51:44 Become a critical viewer of social and media messages, pay attention, images, slogans or attitudes that make you feel bad about yourself or your body. Protest these messages. Write a letter to the advertiser to talk back to the image or message. So when you see something out there that you think is a negative ad or bad or it makes you feel bad, let your voice be heard. Don’t let anyone try and silence you. Do something nice for yourself. Something that lets your body know you. Appreciate it. Take a bubble bath, take time for a nap or find a peaceful place outside to relax, be gender. We’ve talked about this before. Be gentle with yourself. And the last one that we have here is used the time and energy that you might have spent worrying about food, calories, and your weight to do something, to help others.

Speaker 4: 52:43 Sometimes reaching out to other people can help you feel better about yourself and can make a positive change in our world. And this one is a, is a good one to sort of end on here because it’s amazing the positive effect that it has on you mentally, physically, and just deep in your soul when you can help other people. And it may sound corny, you know, me saying it, but until you actually go out and you do that and you see the effect that it has, you, you really can’t appreciate how much of an effect it has on you. So I would encourage and anyone in the audience to volunteer to help out your local charities do anything to help other people even it’s just, you know, a matter of, of as cliche as it is helping someone across the street you know, picking, having someone load their, their groceries into their car if they’re having some problems. Little things like that, you know, it’s little things like that that really make the world go round. So that was all I had. Did you have anything, any response to any of these, any questions on any of these?

Speaker 7: 54:05 Nope. I just want to say that I agree with all of them and that they can definitely help build your confidence and your body image.

Speaker 4: 54:12 Fantastic. We will come back and get your closing remarks and any shout outs to you have go for your closing remarks.

Speaker 7: 54:25 So for everyone out there in the audience just know, try to have a positive body image and also know that you don’t have to look like a supermodel to be healthy. The main thing you want to go for is to be healthy. It doesn’t matter if you look fit or anything like that or if you look skinny because most people who look skinny don’t have a healthy diet. And even if you may not be as Lim as a supermodel, you will still be more than likely healthier than one.

Speaker 4: 55:02 Okay. Any shadows?

Speaker 7: 55:04 Yeah. we haven’t really mentioned her, but I didn’t want to give a shout out to mommy because she has definitely gone through changes. She used to be quite overweight and she has definitely made an effort to change. She’s made a big effort. She’s started working out, she’s constantly weighing herself, making sure she’s keeping track of what she’s eating and changing her diet. And I definitely want to give credit to her because she’s definitely taking those big steps and she’s definitely improved. She is definitely thinner than she used to be. And I definitely want to give her credit for that.

Speaker 4: 55:41 Absolutely. And she’s been inspirational to me. She’s been exhausting to watch the regiment that she keeps up. She does get a little disk discouraged from time design cause she doesn’t see a as dramatic a result as she’d like to see. But going back to looks versus feeling she feels healthier now and I think that’s the biggest significant thing that there is. So yes, we, we definitely appreciate mommy and her efforts and her inspiration that she gives us both. And I think that’s it. We are done for this week. We’ll go down our contact information. We would love to hear from our audience. You can reach us via email@commentsandinsightsintothings.com. You can check out our website@wwwdotinsightsintothings.com. You can get our video podcasts live on YouTube at youtube.com/insights into things. You can get the audio podcast at podcast, not insights into teens.com. You can hit us on Twitter at insights, on discourse things, or you can get us on Facebook at facebook.com/insights into things podcast. I think that’s everything for this week.

Speaker 7: 57:09 Also, don’t forget to check out our other do podcast and certain day entertainment and in certain to tomorrow where you can find pretty much all the same things, just which some of the titles around

Speaker 4: 57:20 We need to work on your marketing ploy.

Speaker 7: 57:23 I am trying. Okay. I am trying.

Speaker 4: 57:27 All right. That’s it. Another one in the books we are out.

Show Notes

  • What is Body Image
    • Introductions
      • Insights Into Teens Episode 44 “Body Image”
      • My brilliant and beautiful co-host Madison Whalen
  • What is Negative or Distorted Body Image?
    • https://www.womenshealth.gov/mental-health/body-image-and-mental-health/body-image
    • http://bit.ly/2OwLMas
      • Your body image is what you think and how you feel when you look in the mirror or when you picture yourself in your mind. This includes how you feel about your appearance; what you think about your body itself, such as your height and weight; and how you feel within your own skin. Body image also includes how you behave as a result of your thoughts and feelings.2 You may have a positive or negative body image. Body image is not always related to your weight or size.
  • Why is a healthy body image important?
    • Individuals with a positive body image are more likely to have good physical and mental health.
    • Girls and women with negative thoughts and feelings about their bodies are more likely to develop certain mental health conditions, such as eating disorders and depression.
    • Researchers think that dissatisfaction with their bodies may be part of the reason more females than males have depression.
    • A negative body image may also lead to low self-esteem, which can affect many areas of your life.
    • You may not want to be around other people or may obsess constantly about what you eat or how much you exercise.
       
  • What causes negative body image?
    • Past events and circumstances can cause you to have a negative body image, including:
      • Being teased or bullied as a child for how you looked
      • Being told you’re ugly, too fat, or too thin or having other aspects of your appearance criticized
      • Seeing images or messages in the media (including social media) that make you feel bad about how you look
      • Having underweight, overweight, or obesity
      • In rare cases, people can have such a distorted view of their bodies that they have a mental health condition called body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). BDD is a serious illness in which a person is preoccupied with minor or imaginary physical flaws. Learn more about BDD.
        • What Is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?
          • https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/body-image-problem.html
          • http://bit.ly/34AFlZk
            • Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) causes people to believe that parts of their body look ugly. People with BDD spend hours focused on what they think is wrong with their looks. Many times a day, they do things to check, fix, cover up, or ask others about their looks. They focus on flaws that seem minor to others.
               
  • What are the Signs & Symptoms of Negative Body Image
    • https://perspectivesoftroy.com/negative-body-image/
    • http://bit.ly/35Oh1nb
      • Frequent comparison of shape and size to others “His abs are so much better than mine.”
      • Feeling ashamed, self-conscious, uncomfortable, awkward and anxious about your body.
      • Negative thinking or making disparaging comments about your body (and associated feelings of envy or jealousy and making judgments about others’ bodies) “Ugh, my stomach is enormous.”
      • Difficulty accepting compliments.
      • Obsessive self-scrutiny in mirrors or sometimes avoiding mirrors in fear of feeling disappointed.
      • Poking and prodding parts of your body and consistent feelings of dissatisfaction
      • Frequently weighing yourself.
      • Avoiding certain articles of clothing due to own perception of body or due to fear of being scrutinized or avoiding events because you don’t think you look “good enough.”
      • Preoccupation with body shape or size “getting skinny” or “bulking up.”
      • Disordered eating and exercise patterns (these patterns can include-binging, purging, restricting food, excessively counting calories, use of diet pills, diuretics, laxatives, use of steroids, exercising excessively to either bulk up or to “make up” for caloric intake)
         
  • Statistics on Body Image
    • https://www.macmh.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/18_Gallivan_Teens-social-media-body-image-presentation-H-Gallivan-Spring-2014.pdf
    • http://bit.ly/2qWGzzy
      • Approximately 80% of U.S. women don’t like how they look
      • 34% of men are dissatisfied with their body.
      • Over 50% of Americans aren’t happy with their current weight.
      • 70% of normal weighted women want to be thinner.
      • Over 80% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat
      • 53% of 13 year-old American girls are unhappy with their bodies.
      • This number grows to 78% by the time girls reach 17.
      • By middle school 40-70% of girls are dissatisfied with 2 or more parts of their body
      • Around 30% of 10-14 year olds are actively dieting.
      • 46% of 9-11 year-olds are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets
      • 82% of their families are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets.
      • Over 50% of teen girls and 30% of teen boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives.
      • Adolescent Girls who diet frequently are 12 times as likely to binge eat as girls who don’t.
         
  • Developmental Milestones
    • https://www.macmh.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/18_Gallivan_Teens-social-media-body-image-presentation-H-Gallivan-Spring-2014.pdf
    • http://bit.ly/2qWGzzy
      • Children begin to recognize themselves around the age of 2
      • Around the age of 4 we begin to compare ourselves to others.
      • Body Image concerns around this age are usually focused on clothing and hair.
      • Body Size awareness tends to enter around the age of 5, however, it is usually focused on wanting to be bigger
      • The age of 6 is when sociocultural factors seem to start influencing body dissatisfaction.
      • 40% of elementary school girls and 25% of elementary school boys want to be thinner.
      • By late elementary school, 50% of girls are dissatisfied with weight and shape and have developed pervasive negative body esteem.
      • Elementary school is where body esteem for girls and boys starts to diverge and remains different throughout the life span.
      • Before Elementary school, girls and boys feel equally positive about themselves.
      • Around the age of 11 or 12 girls and boys score similarly on self-esteem measures.
      • After the age of 12, girls’ scores plummet, while boys remains relatively constant. This is likely related in part to significant body changes with the onset of puberty.
      • Self-esteem seems to fluctuate more for girls than for boys.
      • As early as the preteen years, girls start to withdraw from activities such as, giving an opinion, going to school, going to the pool, etc. because they feel badly about how they look.
      • In middle school girls start to actively manage their appearance.
      • Risk for depression, self-harm, eating disorders, and anxiety go up.
      • For girls, middle school is particularly stressful because everything is happening at once-puberty, social changes, etc.
      • Body satisfaction hits a low between the ages of 12-15 and is the most important component of self-esteem
      • Adolescent girls often think that being thinner would make them happier, healthier, & better looking.
      • Focused on fitting in-problematic for girls who mature at different rates than peers.
      • Competitive athletics can take a toll on body image and self-esteem.
      • A recent study reported that 19% of high school girls reported chronic dieting and 57% engaged in unhealthy weight control behaviors.
         
      • Girl Scouts did an online survey in 2010 with over 1000 girls ages 13-17.
        • 9 out of 10 girls felt pressure by fashion and media industries to be skinny.
        • While 65% of respondents thought body image represented by fashion industry was too skinny,
        • Over 60% compared themselves to fashion models
        • 46% used fashion magazines as a body image to strive for!
  • 10 Steps to Positive Body Image
    • Appreciate all that your body can do. Every day your body carries you closer to your dreams. Celebrate all of the amazing things your body does for you—running, dancing, breathing, laughing, dreaming, etc.
       
    • Keep a top-ten list of things you like about yourself—things that aren’t related to how much you weigh or what you look like. Read your list often. Add to it as you become aware of more things to like about yourself.
       
    • Remind yourself that “true beauty” is not simply skin-deep. When you feel good about yourself and who you are, you carry yourself with a sense of confidence, self-acceptance, and openness that makes you beautiful. Beauty is a state of mind, not a state of your body.
       
    • Look at yourself as a whole person. When you see yourself in a mirror or in your mind, choose not to focus on specific body parts. See yourself as you want others to see you — as a whole person.
       
    • Surround yourself with positive people. It is easier to feel good about yourself and your body when you are around others who are supportive and who recognize the importance of liking yourself just as you naturally are.
       
    • Shut down those voices in your head that tell you your body is not “right” or that you are a “bad” person. You can overpower those negative thoughts with positive ones. The next time you start to tear yourself down, build yourself back up with a few quick affirmations that work for you.
       
    • Wear clothes that are comfortable and that make you feel good about your body. Work with your body, not against it.
       
    • Become a critical viewer of social and media messages. Pay attention to images, slogans, or attitudes that make you feel bad about yourself or your body. Protest these messages: write a letter to the advertiser or talk back to the image or message.
       
    • Do something nice for yourself — something that lets your body know you appreciate it. Take a bubble bath, make time for a nap, or find a peaceful place outside to relax.
       
    • Use the time and energy that you might have spent worrying about food, calories, and your weight to do something to help others. Sometimes reaching out to other people can help you feel better about yourself and can make a positive change in our world.
       
  • Closing Remarks and Shoutouts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.