Does your Body Image Drive Your Habits?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Food is your body's fuel. Put in the right formulation and the body "purrs like a kitten." Put in the wrong formulation and things start to go wrong.

Do you see your body as a sports car or a truck? Does your image of your body effect your eating and fitness habits?

Last week we looked at 12 different body types and tried to determine which one fit us. Many of the comments indicated that it was hard to pick one and that many of us were a combination of several.

Many times how we perceive our body and its abilities directly influences our thoughts and decision. For example, someone that suffers from anorexia nervosa believes their body looks differently than it really does despite what the scale shows or what other people say. Perception is what drives the eating and exercise habits because the reality of the body can not be seen.

Grannett Health Services at Cornell University illustrated an Eating Issues and Body Image Continuum chart to depict how body image relates to attitudes about food and eating behaviors. When a person hates what they see when they look in the mirror, they are most likely to have problems with disordered eating and are less likely to set and achieve fitness goals.

However, when someone feels good about their body and what it can do and the goals it can reach – they tend to have very few issues with food. Food is seen as the fuel that is necessary to make the body run and reach goals. Many of us fall somewhere in between these two extremes and fluctuate along the continuum throughout our lives.

Ideally, we want everyone to feel good about their body and to make healthy food choices to fuel it to achieve wonderful goals. Identifying your body type and learning to embrace that shape can be a first step. Setting smart goals to tone that shape can help you get started in the right direction to loving your body and what it can do. Challenging it to do things you didn't think were possible is another. If you don't think you could do 10 boy style push ups – set it as your goal and work toward it. Upper body training and defining your muscles and burning calories now has a purpose. Once you reach your goal, you might find that your toned arms are now one of your greatest features and are ready for sleeveless summer wear.

Setting goals that push your body and eating to fuel your body to achieve those goals can have a positive affect not only your body image but on your attitude toward food as well.

Do you know where you fit on the continuum? Is this a new place for you or have you been here for a while? What specific short term goal could you set to push your body as you achieve it on your way to loving you?

See more: body image goal