Thoughts, feelings, and behaviours related to body image and eating can range from healthy to unhealthy. Below are examples of the types of thoughts and behaviours that fall along this continuum.
A person whose thoughts and eating habits are like the examples provided on the right side (unhealthy) may be diagnosed with a clinical eating disorder.
Clinical eating disorders include anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. Anorexia refers to a fear of gaining weight combined with eating very little or none at all, and significant weight loss. Bulimia involves an attempt to manage weight by getting rid of food and calories - often through unhealthy ways. Binge eating disorder is a pattern of overeating (consuming more food that most people would eat in a short period of time). Individuals may eat until they feel nauseated and physically uncomfortable.
Factors that increase the risk for developing body image & eating issues
It’s difficult to predict who will develop issues with body image and eating. However, there are some risk factors that may increase the likelihood that a person will experience challenges with their body image or eating habits at some point in their life:
- Family history of dieting or eating disorders
- Difficulty coping with stress
- Being bullied or teased about your weight
- Being overweight as a child
- Participating in a sport or activity where there is pressure to maintain a certain weight and size (i.e., modeling, ballet, gymnastics, wrestling)
- Feelings of shame or extreme dissatisfaction with your body shape and size
- Feeling the need to always do everything perfectly
- Always feeling the need to please others
Body Image and Eating Issues Factsheet