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Body Image in Sports

By Inaayath



BRIEF ON BODY IMAGE

WHAT IS BODY IMAGE?



Body image is how a person perceives their body. How attractive they look; how aesthetic and sexually attractive they look and feel. It involves comparing yourself to the standards the society dictates.


The dictation of the standards of how your body should look like and how you feel about yourself in decided by the society itself. The society decides what is attractive and what is not.



HISTORY OF BODY IMAGE


In ancient Egypt, the perfect woman was said to have a slender figure, with narrow shoulders, and a tall waist.


Ancient Greece focused more on the male figure, but its female ideal was full-figured and plump with fair skin tones.


Han dynasty China emphasized pale skin, narrow waists, and petite female figures.


The Victorian era witnessed a similar movement, but the popularity of the waist-cinching corset led to the desirability of the hourglass figure.


Austrian neurologist and psychoanalyst Paul Schilder coined the phrase 'body-image' in his book The Image and Appearance of the Human Body (1935).


WHAT IS NEGATIVE OR DISTORTED BODY IMAGE?


Distorted body image or negative body image refers to an unrealistic view of how someone sees their body. Like eating disorders, it is seen most in women, but many men also suffer from the disorder.


From early childhood on you begin forming your perceptions of your body’s attractiveness, health, acceptability, and functionality. This body image continues to develop as you age and receive feedback from peers, family member, coaches, etc.


Personality traits such as perfectionism and self-criticism can also influence the development of a negative internalized image of your body.


It can also be pressure from your peers like family, friends and coaches.



WARNING FOR NEGATIVE BODY IMAGE


  • obsessive self-scrutiny in mirrors

  • thinking disparaging comments about your body and frequent comparison of your own shape and size to other people

  • jealous or a friend’s body, or just as commonly: the body of a celebrity or someone else in the media.

  • avoiding food during social events .

  • bad breaths

  • low in energy overall.

CAUSE OF NEGATIVE BODY IMAGE


Sometimes body image is negatively impacted by one or more significant events. For example, a gymnast who is continually chided by her coach and fellow athletes to lose a little weight may develop a deeply ingrained and long-standing dissatisfaction with her body, no matter how thin she becomes.


If you are concerned about your body image, here are some questions to ask yourself:


Is my perception of beauty distorted from years of media exposure that glorifies a very thin ideal that is unrealistic for most people to obtain in a healthy manner and maintain?

Do I find myself regularly criticizing my own appearance and looks?


BODY WEIGHT AND EATING DISORDER: THE CONNECTION


Body image concerns and eating disorders go hand in hand.


Often, it is the early dissatisfaction with a young person’s appearance that leads them to conclude that losing weight would enhance their appearance and make them feel better about themselves and their bodies.


Thus, eating less and over exercising are often next, frequently leading to patterns of disordered eating and weight obsession that can develop a number of eating disorder like anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia, compulsive overeating or binge eating disorder.


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TREATMENT FOR NEGATIVE BODY IMAGE


Getting treatment for distorted body image is a critical step to recovery. The problem won’t just go away by itself.


Recognizing and acknowledging your feelings and accompanying body sensations will help you become more comfortable in your body and lessens the tendency to suppress feelings and revert to unhealthy, negative inner diatribes to escape uncomfortable feelings.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, an approach where irrational thoughts are recognized, analyzed and restructured to more rational self-talk, is frequently used.


Additionally, dance and movement therapy are often employed to develop a greater trust and appreciation of one’s body based upon creating internal experiences, rather than simply evaluated one’s body aesthetically.


 

EATING DISORDER IN GYMNASTICS AND THE IMPACT OF PARENTS, COACHES AND PEER



Eating disorder research has consistently found that body dissatisfaction and eating problems among young women are related to family, peer and sports culture that reinforce the thin body ideal.


A survey of college- aged women showed that the social reinforcement of the thon ideal- including teasing and negative comments- from family, friends and media was correlated positively with bulimic symptomology.

Social reinforcement of thinness from family and peers predicted the onset of binge eating and purging among these young women.


The pressure from parents to diet was a significant predicator of dieting status, body dissatisfaction and drive for thinness among girls aged 13- 16 years old.


Weight related teasing and body disparagement in particular can have a significant negative impact on body image and eating behaviour of young girls.

Nevonem and broberg American psychologists reported (2000) reported that many of the patients believed that harassment, teasing and comments rom others about weight or appearance contributed to development of eating disorder.


Disordered eating must be considered seriously as it can be associated with such health risks as amenorrhea, osteoporosis, and clinical eating patterns.


The body part satisfaction scale and having a BMI in the low to healthy range, 50% of the gymnast wanted to be at least 5 pounds lighter. Moreover, 61% of these women exhibited some sort of disordered eating symptomatology as indicated by their scores on the bulimia test- revised.


Many female athletes in aesthetic sports have experienced weight or body- related harassment and disparagement from their coaches.

Interestingly, many coaches make decisions about the need for weight loss in their athletes on the basis of appearance alone.


Among gymnasts, the athle