Healthy Eating and Body Image

It's a rare person who is content with her body's appearance. Each day 78 percent of seventeen-year-old women awake dissatisfied with their bodies. On the same day, 85 percent of adult women are on some kind of a diet aimed toward changing their physical appearance. Our society has become increasingly focused on body size and physical fitness. It's no longer enough to be strong and healthy, a really attractive man or woman must also be thin and toned. We equate physical beauty with sexiness, power, and having increased social and career choices. Those who don't achieve these ideals may feel discouraged, unworthy, or depressed.

The Bowdoin social environment is like our broader culture in its emphasis on physical attractiveness. When you add to this the pressure to excel academically, socially, and often athletically, a community is formed that can unintentionally encourage disordered eating and lack of self-acceptance.

*Note: For the purpose of simplicity, this article will be written using feminine pronouns. Men are developing eating disorders in increasing numbers. Disordered eating is not solely a women's issue.