How To Feel Better
About Yourself and Your Body
First Some Research Findings:
1. Women are much more likely to be
on a weight reduction diet than men. On a similar vein, women
are much more likely to weigh themselves on a regular basis than
2. Studies show that many young women's
ideal weight is about 20 pounds less than their real weight. On
the other hand, most young men's ideal weight is about the same
as their real weight.
3. About 75% of young women are dissatisfied
with some aspect of their body. In contrast, only about 25% of
young men are dissatisfied (although this number may be growing).
4. Body dissatisfaction in women starts
at a very young age. This is often somewhere around the start
of puberty (eight to 10 years old).
5. In the U.S., women are ten times
more likely to have an eating disorder than men.
6. 90% to 95% of all cases of anorexia
nervosa or bulimia may involve women.
7. Aside from suicide, anorexia nervosa
is one of the few psychological disorders that may lead to death.
The mortality rate for anorexia is between 10% to 15% (or higher
in some studies).
8. Although Americans spend about
50 billion a year in an attempt to lose weight, 97% of all diets
fail within a year. In most cases, the person gains the same or
more weight back.
9. Many eating disorders begin after
a weight reduction diet.
10. Over the last 30 years, female
models in magazines, television and the movies have become significantly
11. Many young women use models in
fashion magazines as the reference point for what they themselves
should look like.
12. Many young women believe that
their health would be better if their bodies were similar to those
of fashion models.
13. Body-image distortion (where you
perceive your body as different than it really is) occurs on both
men and women.
14. Body-image distortion occurs in
individuals with and without eating disorders.
15. In general, women tend to view
themselves as fatter than they really are, while men tend to view
themselves as similar or lighter than they really are.
16. In both men and women, body dissatisfaction
tends to precede body-image distortion and probably eating disorders
17. A number of studies report that
many (if not most) young men and women's ideal body image is largely
determined by mass media sources such as TV and magazines.
18. Popular magazines for young women
have 10 times the number of advertisements for weight reduction
diets and exercise than popular magazines for young men.
19. Some studies suggest that exposure
to thin female models leads to stress, depression, guilt and shame
for some young women who are dissatisfied with their bodies.
20. Young people are exposed to over
1000 advertisements per day through the mass media (e.g., TV.,
radio, newspapers, magazines, and the internet).
21. The average
adult female model in fashion magazines is
about 15% less than their expected weight given their height (75%
of media models are underweight).
22. Some studies suggest that exposure
to thin female models leads to increased body-dissatisfaction
and increased body distortion in women with eating disorders.
23. Men tend to prefer women that
are thin, but not as thin as most young women estimate this preference
24. About 40% of girls under age 10
have already been on a weight reduction diet.
25. Scientific studies have yet to
find a diet procedure that really works (e.g., keeps the weight
off after one year).
26. An estimated 5 to 8 million American
women have eatings disorders.
27. The media standards for an ideal
woman are almost unreachable, whereas this is not the case for
1. Try not to turn to food when you feel upset (For alternatives
to eating disorder behaviors go here)
2. Avoid going on any type of weight reduction diet. Focus
on your health instead. Exercise daily. Eat balanced meals. Avoid
3. Avoid weighing yourself more than once a week. If your
weight is not what you would like it be, try not to let it ruin
your whole day.
4. Don't let your self-esteem be dominated by the way your
body looks. Most people have many more successes in their life
than they have failures. Focus on your successes.
5. If you already have an eating disorder, try not to expose
yourself to very thin models on the media (e.g., avoid fashion
magazines and the TV).
6. Listen to what you say to yourself about your body. Much
of this may be distorted or simply not true. In this case try
to change what you tell yourself. For example, change your "what
if " statements to "so what" statements (to find
out more about cognitive therapy, go here).
7. Practice some type of relaxation every day (to find out
more, go here
8. Don't be afraid to say "no" to people when
they make unreasonable requests.
9. Make sure you get enough sleep every night. This will
help improve your mood and help maintain your metabolism.
10. There seems to be a link between some eating disorders
and depression. If you often feel depressed, look into getting
some type of treatment for it ( to find out more about depressive
disorders, go here).
to be thin
Eating disorder recovery
Eating disorder links (1)
Eating disorder links (2)
disorders links (3)
Eating Disorders links (4) Huge List
about eating disorders
about anorexia and other eating disorders
Airbrushing in Catalogs
Eating disorders online
Eating disorder self-test
Body Image betrayal
Information about the body-mass index
something fishy about eating disorders
Tips to improve your body-image
Set a realistic "Ideal Weight" goal for your
Effects of advertisements
Seven steps to better body image
Images of our bodies
Body image and eatings disorders
Links for Professionals
Pharmacotherapy of eating disorders
Journal of Counseling and Development
More books for clinicians
Body image and media
Please feel free to share any information,
links or comments with me here
Here are some of my publications about eating disorders.
Reprints are available upon request (please specify which one(s)
you would like to obtain).
Cullari, S., & Redmon, W. Information about Bulimia:
The binge-purge syndrome. Kalamazoo, Michigan: Anova Research
Cullari, S. & Redmon, W.K. Bibliography on bulimarexia.
Professional Psychology: Research and Practice , l983,
l4 (3), 400-406.
Cullari, S., & Redmon, W.K. Treatment of bulimarexia through
behavior therapy and diet modification. the Behavior Therapist,
1983, 6 (9), 165-167.
Cullari, S., & Redmon, W.K. Questionnaire responses from
self-identified binge eaters and purgers. Psychological Reports
, 1984, 54 , 232-34.
Cullari, S. & Redmon, W.K. A primary prevention program
to reduce bulimia and anorexia nervosa. Resources in Education,
Cullari, S., & Trubilla, R. Body image distortion in normal
weight college women. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 1989,
Folk, L., Pederson, J., & Cullari, S. (1993). Body satisfaction
and self-concept in third and six grade females. Perceptual
and Motor Skills, 1993, 76, 547-553.
Cullari, S., Rohrer, J., & Bahm, C. (1998). Body-image
perceptions across sex and age groups. Perceptual and Motor
Skills, 87, 839-847.
Cullari, S., Vosburgh, M., Shotwell, A., Inzodda, J., Davenport,
W. (2002). Body-image assessment: A review and evaluation of a
new computer-aided measurement technique. North American Journal
of Psychology, 4, 221-232.