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Session 2

Parents and Carers – Body Image and Healthy Eating

Session 2

Social media & beauty standards

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How are body image issues caused and
maintained

Media
Advertising

Lack of
diversity

Corporations

Unrealistic
standards

Stereotypes
& Stigma

Prejudice

Systematic
issues

As a first step towards supporting your child to improve their body image issues, it’s important to reflect on the thoughts and behaviours that may have caused or continue to maintain them. It can also be helpful to consider the emotions and physical sensations associated with their experience of negative body image.

It’s also important to reflect on society’s
impact, including the media’s
influence...

The Hot Cross Bun Model

The Hot Cross Bun Model shows how thoughts, emotions, physical feelings and behaviours all interact with each other in one situation. In some cases, a vicious cycle can be formed, with unhelpful behaviours triggering negative thoughts.

Kim’s thoughts/images
about her body

She thinks she looks fat and ugly

What Kim did as a result

Misses
school/swimming

Kim’s feelings towards
her body

Ashamed, disgusted, embarrassed

Physical sensations
Kim feels in her body

Disgust, uncomfortable, shaky, sick

Scenario 1: Kim

Kim has just gone into Year 9. In the first term, she has been timetabled for swimming for her weekly PE lesson. Kim is worried about what she might look like in her swimming costume so the day before the first session she tries it
on in her bedroom in front of the mirror.

Kim is disgusted by what she sees in the mirror and thinks she looks fat and ugly. She has the image in her mind of her classmates laughing at her as she walks out of the changing room.

This makes her feel ashamed and embarrassed. The following day Kim wakes up shaking and feeling sick. She asks her Mum to call the school to say that she is poorly. 

What thoughts/images might Rob be having in response to seeing himself on Zoom?

Critical thoughts re. appearance

What do
they do?

Tell their friends
they're tired and
log off the call

What might
a young person's feelings be?

Embarrassed
Ashamed
Low

What physical sensations might they be feeling?

Disgust
Uncomfortable
Temp rising, tearful

Scenario 2: Rob

During lockdown, Rob’s friends organised a catch up on Zoom.
While on the call, Rob noticed his image on screen and became self-conscious.

Rob felt he looked unattractive and worried his friends would be judging his appearance and thinking the same.

Feeling ashamed, embarrassed and low, Rob told his friends he felt tired and needed to go to bed. He then logged off the Zoom call.

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What thoughts/images might they be having in response to the photo?

Critical thoughts re. appearance

What do
they do?

Avoid classmates
isolating
themselves

What might
their feelings be?

Embarrassed
Ashamed
Low

What physical sensations might they be feeling?

Disgust
Uncomfortable
Temp rising, tearful

Scenario 3: Sam

Sam is scrolling through Instagram and comes across a picture of a celebrity they like.

They begin to compare themselves, noticing that their
teeth aren’t as white, hair isn’t as smooth, skin isn’t as clear.

Sam begins to think that their classmates must notice and judge these things in them every day and starts to feel incredibly anxious.

Sam feels nervous arriving at school and decides to sits at the back of class so that they can avoid talking to anyone up close.

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The Hot Cross Bun Model

Consider a challenging scenario your child has faced and fill in the blanks...

Thoughts

Behaviours

Emotions

Physical sensation

Social Media Comparisons
& Media Literacy

Your child's social media usage may impact
their body image.

Who they follow on apps like Instagram & TikTok may make a bigger difference to body image than time spent on social media. Diversifying their feed is important!

Consider why your child chooses to follow certain accounts. How do they feel before and after going on social media?

Research shows that viewing body positive social media has a positive effect on men and women's body image, self-compassion and mood.

Media Literacy

It’s important to think critically when it comes to brands, advertising and well-known apps like Instagram.

Billion dollar industries would be impacted if body image improved. Arguably they would prefer if it doesn’t.

Does your child know what’s real & what’s not when it comes to the media?

When scrolling through social media,
encourage your child to ask themselves:

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What is the purpose
of this post?

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Do I need to buy
something to achieve
this ideal?

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Who is profiting
from this?

Media Checker

Support your child to ask the following questions when looking at social media posts...

  • Who created it?
  • Who paid for it?
  • What’s its purpose?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • Who benefits?
  • Who is harmed?
  • Who/what are the sources of this information?
  • In what way has the image been manipulated?
  • What are the values of this message?
  • Do I agree with the values it represents?

Examples of media influence...

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Detox = Laxative. Short term way of eating that
is mostly liquids and restrictive.

Did you know our bodies naturally filter and detox every single day, if you have a functioning liver and kidneys, its likely a detox is not necessary or even beneficial for you.

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Guilt free = eat as much as you
want and buy more of our product

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Who profits from this? – be critical of food marketing, it is created to sell products NOT to teach us about nutrition or what you should eat.

Looks aren't everything. Believe me, I'm a model. | Cameron Russell

The effects of photoshop...

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Airbrushing – this is where techniques are used to smooth out imperfections, such as spots or moles.

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Digital manipulation – this is where an image is altered in a more drastic way, such as changing the model’s body shape or the shape of their facial features. Sometimes a body part of the model is replaced with the same body part from another model.

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Use of lighting – special lighting positions can be used when the picture is being taken to highlight certain areas of the model’s body and hide others.

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Parody accounts and images



These can help to remind your child of social media’s unrealistic beauty standards.

Parody accounts drive home the idea that entire teams of professionals are needed to create the images that we unfairly compare ourselves too.


They subvert the ‘thin ideal’ expectations and remind us of what’s real.

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Viewing Body Positive Content

Encourage your child to follow accounts that promote body acceptance and appreciation & that challenge society’s thin ideal and celebrate all bodies.

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Remember, the modelling industry changes through the ages. What is considered ‘beautiful’ and ‘ideal’ by society changes dramatically across the years.

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Self-Worth

means having confidence in one's own worth or abilities - also known as self-esteem

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Self-Worth and Body Image 

Most people evaluate their self-worth (or self-esteem) based on a variety of things. They might evaluate how happy they are based on how well important things in their life are going.


People with eating disorders tend to judge their self-worth based largely on their shape and weight and their ability to control these.

They may have other interests, but over time these seem to take a lesser place in their lives.

Offer to sit with your child and consider the ways in which they judge their self-worth.

Draw up a current self-worth pie chart and create a future self-worth pie chart . Reflect on the differences that exist.

Your Current Self
1.
%
2.
%
3.
%
4.
%
5.
%
6.
%
Your Future Self
1.
%
2.
%
3.
%
4.
%
5.
%
6.
%

List 5 things in order of importance. Consider what behavioural and thinking style changes would help to achieve the future self-worth pie chart. Begin to implement these!

Ask them: What are the things that are important to your self-worth? How many ‘slices’ have you got in your self-worth pie chart? Is controlling eating, shape and weight in one slice? Is it very much larger than the other slices? If this is the case, then you are banking on this ONE area of your life to work out for you so that you can believe that you are of worth.

They may also have other interests and things in their life, but over time, perhaps these have taken a lesser place.

One important and effective way of reducing their over-evaluation of body shape and weight (and their control) is to begin to extend the other areas of their life – enlarging the other slices of their pie, so to speak.

When they start doing this and keep at it, they will find that their life becomes more balanced and they will feel more content over time. 

Your Child's Self Worth

What matters to them?

What are the things that they judge their self-worth against? Choose 5.

  • 1. Family
    %
  • 2. Career
    %
  • 3. Travelling
    %
  • 4. Music
    %
  • 5. Weight
    %
  • 6. Friends
    %
When we work towards positive body image, body shape may remain a factor in self-esteem, but it is no longer the largest or most pressing element

Reflections

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My Notes

Supporting Videos

The Fight, Flight, Freeze Response

If you could change one thing about your body, what would it be?

Mindful Eating