In Nutrition

A Woman On A Diet Is Skipping More Than Dessert

As few as 12% of women over 50 are satisfied with their bodies. A whopping 87% had more eating disorder symptoms, dieting behaviors and weight and appearance dis-satisfaction.

In a similar study done eleven years earlier (2004) 80% of 54 year old women reported body dis-satisfaction. Are we getting worse? Certainly age isn’t helping us with body image issues. Understandably, hormonal changes that result in game-changing weight gain, sleep disturbances, and impact the effectiveness of old habits targeting weight can play a role in the over 50 woman.

Both studies were published in the Journal of Women & Aging. The most recent in 2013 surveyed 1789 women. The studies reported that women with good body image reported fewer eating disorder symptoms, dieting behaviors and weight and appearance dis-satisfaction. Not none, just fewer.

According to a US telephone survey, 57% of women are dieting at any time. They aren’t just passing on dessert. Unfortunately they share stories about avoiding daily activities due to body image. When you don’t feel you’re at your best you don’t go to the store let alone the gym or a concert. You don’t say yes when friends ask you to join them on a vacation in a warm climate.

The question is how do we stop it: basing our worth on our size? It’s affects everyone. It affects every size. It may be easy to assume someone overweight, a large size person, might be self- conscious. Honestly, some larger size people are quite comfortable and some size twos and size fours are afraid to have their pictures taken because it’s “not a good body day.” They take a compliment with a “oh, I wish I was better” or “I’m getting there.” But the truth is, they won’t. Good enough for some is never good enough.

How do we get comfortable with the body we’re in? A few thoughts, but what I’d really like is yours.

Social consciousness. When you’re on social media you’ll find a lot of opportunity to both be inspired and discouraged. Unintentionally messages meant to inspire may backfire. When it happens consistently from sites, unlike or hide them from your timeline. You don’t need help with negativity. If you find your friend or cousin sharing her 75 mile bike ride or her weight loss via new bikini is discouraging, don’t subject yourself to it for now. So often, health and fitness sites are really not put up by businesses who want to educate and inspire but sites who want to grow numbers with images that get lots of views and then advertisements for products that will sell well to that market. Social media isn’t just a place to be with friends, it’s a business.

Your inner voice. Check that chic. If she’s not supporting your best interest, acknowledge it. Self-talk or affirmations I know can seem so “out there” but it becomes a numbers game. The more time you spend around positive people the more positive you become. Make the messages you give yourself good for you.

Change your fitness goals. Avoid the “Should” and the “Have to” and opt for the want to andchoose to. The longer we use exercise as punishment the more we prolong feeling and looking good just because of the way we’re living. Women who spend hours exercising don’t usually have the best results. It’s those that exercise with a.) purpose and b.) joy that end up getting the most rewards.

What’s your secret? What works for you to create a positive body image? Are you exercising away your thighs or exercising away your sighs?

~Debra

1. Runfola, Cristin D. et al. 2013. Characteristics of Women with Body Size Satisfaction at Midlife: Results of the Gender and Body Image (BAGI) Study. Journal of Women & Aging. 25 (4), 287-304

2. Mclaren, Lindsay, PhD. Kuh, Diana, PhD. Journal of Women & Aging. 2004. Body Dissatisfaction in Midlife Women. 16(1-2):34-54


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