Jane Miceli, MD, Medical Director of Adult Inpatient and Residential Services, is quoted in the June 2013 Prevention article on body image, which discusses a new study on how having a distorted version of yourself unconciously affects your physical actions. Read an excerpt of the article below or to view it in its entirety click here.
What they found: while patients with eating disorders overestimated their size on a much more severe scale, healthy women were just as likely to unconsciously rotate their shoulders to “fit” through openings 25% wider than their actual shoulder width. “Psychologically, the way people experience the size of their bodies is often unconsciously tied to their emotions,” says Nina Savelle-rocklin, PsyD, a psychoanalyst and eating disorder specialist in Los Angeles. Negative body image is not limited to teenagers or females or even people with eating disorders. And whether or not you’re aware of the physical signals you’re sending, you can make an effort to mend the psychology behind them. “The good news is, you can find the truth by going beyond the mirror and looking inward, you can change your distorted view of yourself and feel good,” she says. Here are some tips from industry experts on viewing yourself in a more realistic light: Buy a yoga mat. Yoga can help reacquaint yourself with your body, says Jane Miceli, MD, Medical Director of Adult Inpatient and Residential Services for Eating Recovery Center in Denver. “You’re not just going through the motions, but focus on what each pose and breath means for your body.” Get inspired. “Identify women you admire and look for ways you can adapt their philosophy,” suggests Mary Jo Rapini, a psychoclinician, columnist, and author. Live consistently. Ask yourself, what would you like to be remembered for in your life, says Marla W. Deibler, PsyD, executive director of The Center for Emotional Health of Greater Philadelphia. “Does this involve your body image? Live consistently with these goals and live based on the meaning you would like to give it.” Practice non-judgmental observation. Take the Dr. Deibler challenge: Stand in front of a mirror, look closely, and describe your features—without using negative or judgmental language. We can’t help but express emotions physically. And like a sport or a new cooking skill, confidence and self-acceptance takes practice. Use the results of this new study as a reminder to keep the signals you send out to the world in check—and that body image issues, while normal, can be mended.