What if we told you that your body could change in as little as two minutes? It sounds like an unbelievable sales pitch. In just two minutes, you will love the way your body looks. Millions of men and women across the globe might charge at such an opportunity, regardless of financial cost. Each year, people spend billions of dollars on weight loss, beauty, surgery, and other methods of achieving what they believe to be an acceptable body image. Consequently, eating disorders and body image dissatisfaction are common.
The soul expands in accordance to what it sees. Similarly, the brain adjusts its perception of body size according to what it visually consumes. Today’s media is saturated with digitally altered images of men’s and women’s bodies. Though the “body positivity” movement is growing, there is still a pervasive idealism surrounding thinness. Consuming thousands of media images a day showing digitally manipulated images of ‘thin’ bodies alters the brain’s perception as to what ‘thin’, ‘normal,’ or ‘heavy’ truly looks like.
After-effect is a very old psychological ‘mind trick’. After looking at images of ‘thin’ bodies, looking at an image of a ‘normal’ or ‘neutral’ body will result in the brain associating that image as being ‘abnormal’ or heavy. Conversely, looking at a ‘neutral’ body after looking at images of ‘heavy’ bodies will result in the brain interpreting those bodies as being too thin. After-effect changes neutral images to being opposite of whatever images we’re being exposed to.
According to an in-depth piece on the neurology of after-effects and changing body image perception by The Sydney Morning Herald, “It is likely that the neural adaptation associated with these after-effects is the underlying physiological basis of body-size misperception.” The authors and researchers suggest that there are actual neurobiological and psychological mechanisms at play when we compare and interpret our body image compared to others.
How to Change Your Perception
The researchers suggest a change in diet as the key to changing body image; that is, a visual diet. Moderation, as with any diet, is highly suggested, as is variety. A popular practice in recovering body image is to cut out or reduce fashion magazines and media. Of course, spending less time comparing and criticizing your body against others is a start.
The Center for Life Change in Temecula, California offers faith-based treatment focused on empowering and transforming the lives of men and women. Our intensive outpatient treatment programs are geared toward the healing and learning necessary for lifelong recovery. Call us today for more information (951) 775-4000.