I have issues with my body image, what can I do and would it help to see a therapist?

For many people it can be difficult to feel comfortable in your own body, especially living in a world that is seemingly obsessed with looks and insists on continuous body modification through various procedures. In between social media, television, and magazines, as well as your potential own negative self-talk, you might find yourself feeling like feedback on how your body should be is coming in from every angle. 

If you believe you are dissatisfied with your body image ad it feels so pervasive that it hinders you from your ability to enjoy your daily life, a therapist Tysons Corner VA has to offer may be able to help you. 

How to Know if You Have Body Image Issues

If you feel like you are struggling with your body image, take a moment to ask yourself if you frequently check or avoid your body.  It is normal to resonate with a few of these behaviors – one or both; however, to be overwhelmed or constantly engaged with them could suggest you have issues with your body image. 

Body Checking

Body checking is a type of body image issue that involves a preoccupation with your weight and/or shape. It goes beyond looking in the mirror before work, school, or a night out, and rather refers to spending excessive amounts of time engaged in some or all of the following:

  • Studying yourself in the mirror
  • Checking your reflection in windows or other surfaces
  • Measuring your body
  • Pinching your body to detect perceived fat
  • Frequently weighing yourself
  • Chiang outfits many times before you leave home

If you engage in behaviors like these, and feel a sort of anxiety attached to them because you feel like something is wrong with the way you look, talking with a therapist in Tysons Corner VA about your body image may be a good idea. 

Body Avoidance

The opposite of body checking is body avoidance. This might be an issue when you feel like you cannot connect or accept your body image, shape, or weight. If you find yourself identifying with some or all of the following, you may have body avoidance issues:

  • Wearing only loose or dark clothing
  • Refusing to look in the mirror
  • Avoiding shopping for clothing
  • Having trouble engaging in intimate activities
  • Avoiding swimming
  • Refraining from family and friends because of fears about what they might say about your body
  • Resisting looking at, or taking photos, of yourself

In general a person will avoid their body because it is too emotionally or mentally difficult to address and confront. What tends to happen with body avoidance issues is that the avoidance not only maintains the the fear, but increases it. 

You Can Change the Way You Think About Your Body

Recognizing behaviors similar to these is the first step in changing the way you think about your body image. Often, people who struggle with their body image won’t notice that these behaviors become habitual, and noticing them may be very difficult. 

Once you are able to realize there is an issue with your body image, and you can understand the distress it is causing you, you can begin to gently change your thoughts and behaviors for the better. For example, if you frequently weigh yourself, you can learn how to put the scale away and not weigh yourself. Or, if you find yourself only wearing dark clothing, you might choose to wear a brighter color. Changing your behaviors will take time, but chances are you will feel a lot better as you make them. 

These small steps to recognizing and changing that way you think about your body might seem difficult, but it is worth it. If you are struggling with your body image it may be a good idea to speak with a therapist Tysons Corner VA recommends. 


Source: Pre-Marriage Counseling Great Falls, VA, Lindsay Hoskins & Associates