JULIA MALACOFF WROTE AN EXCELLENT ARTICLE FOR SHAPE.com describing a practice which mental health experts treating eating disorders have been discussing for years, but is now a trend made more common through social media. In “What Is Body Checking and When Is It a Problem? There's a fine line between recording fitness progress and obsessing over it.”
Malacoff defines body checking as “constantly looking at your body for changes”. She warns that although tracking progress has been prescribed in the fitness industry as a way to motivate training and avoid obsession with body weighing, it “can also become an unhealthy practice”.
An expert referenced by Malacoff offers a list of behaviors that may point to a problem. It can be a bit alarming to answer affirmatively to some of the posed questions. However, the article does a good job in explaining why initially healthy habits might become dangerous for some and remain helpful and harmless for others.
By raising awareness, pieces like Malacoff ‘s and the warnings of nutrition and mental health experts might prevent some fitness enthusiasts from unknowingly putting themselves at risk for future problems. Greater use of social media seems to be an important factor influencing the increase in body checking noted by these experts.
For those concerned, steps are outlined that might check and possibly reverse the progression of body checking habits into an unhealthy range. A phrase that stands out in the section that is aimed at helping over-checkers change their habits is one that bears repeating by many. “Notice what triggers body checking and see if those triggers can be removed or managed in other ways. TRY TO BE CURIOUS, NOT FURIOUS WITH YOURSELF. You are gathering information to try to make a positive change. It takes practice and patience.” [The all capital letters were added by Earned Runs]
It may be difficult to recognize our own habits as unhealthy, but going into the holiday season we might be able to observe this side of ourselves more readily as we prepare to gather and party.
If body checking is a concern, a New Year’s resolution to address this problem might be healthier than vowing to lose weight or get in shape in 2019. The full article is worth reading.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2706972/ Behav Res Ther. 2007 Jan; 45(1): 113–121
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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