Someone with body dysmorphia may say……. 

“ I feel fat ”, “ I hate my body” , “ I feel fat and ugly” “I avoid mirrors as I hate the way I look ”, “I’m ashamed of my body” 

These are typical comments of someone struggling with this problem. Quite often a perception of 

the body that may not be true at all or exaggerated. 

Definition of Body Dysmorphia: An anxiety disorder that causes a person to have a 

distorted view of how they look and causes them to constantly worry about their 


Who experiences it? 

  1. People who lose weight and have dieted in the past can continue to experience themselves as 

fat. Some people who reach their target weight often still say they are not happy. 

  1. 4 out of 5 women and 1 in 3 men are unhappy with their overall appearance. In one survey 

47% of women and 29% of men who were normal weight viewed themselves as overweight. 

  1. If we are struggling with low self esteem or anxiety we can attach our negative self beliefs to 

an aspect of our body and use it as a way to confirm how and why we feel so bad. We can 

use our body as a way to punish ourselves. 

So why are we so hard on ourselves? 

It can be very hard for us to have an objective view of our body. We may find it very difficult to 

make a distinction between our perception of ourselves and the actual reality of how we look. 

In addition we are constantly being told by social media, TV, cinema and magazines how we are 

supposed to look. 

We receive strong messages about body shape from the same sex members of our families and 

amongst our friends. Comments, often received when young, can stay with us and we become 

our harshest judges. 

The perception of an ideal female or male body is defined by so many 

influences, it becomes completely confusing ! 

Is it your body that is the problem ? or HOW you experience it? 

Maybe it is how we think or feel about our body that is faulty rather than our bodies themselves. 

Can we think about our bodies in a more functional, kindly and rational way. “ I feel fat” may 

actually mean “ I feel down” or “I just don’t feel good about myself today” which would be 

completely normal of course. We all have bad days. 

So how to help ourselves? 

10 steps to improve Body Dysmorphia 

  1. Learn to identify and manage body feelings. It is a bad body feeling NOT a 

bad body. 

  1. Identify situations or people who trigger your negative body thoughts. ( and 

how to avoid ! ) 

  1. Practice positive self regard and self care. You ARE allowed to feel good 

about yourself. 

  1. Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t always get it right. 
  2. List the changes you make and celebrate them. 
  3. List positive qualities. You are more than just your body. 
  4. Make friends with your body, it is an amazing thing and wants you to survive 

and function well. Massage cream into your feet and hands. 

  1. Take up Pilates or Yoga, both work on positive body sensations. 
  2. Buy yourself some new makeup, new shoes, or have a new haircut. 

10.Surround yourself with positive people that you trust and love and feel the 

positive energy.