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More About Body Checking…
We all engage in Body Checking, except perhaps saints immaculately conceived, living life without imperfection.
In the US, most of us have grown up in a judgmental culture. Parents, classmates, and even friends have often judged us.
However, judgment can be beneficial and healthy when it aims to ensure safety or protect our loved ones or others from danger. Unfortunately, it seems that we often judge each other not for safety, but to feel superior.
Such judgment is anything but kind. Being on the receiving end, especially in youth, feels like a message of “you don’t belong” or “something is wrong with you.”
Similarly, this feeling closely resembles shame, which we will describe in more detail below.
Therefore, Body Checking originates from this kind of shame-based judgment. It mirrors the humiliation or mockery often experienced on the playground as children. As adults, however, we execute this shame-based judgment more subtly.
Often, it involves a direct look – you might unknowingly stare an extra second at someone’s belly, look them up and down, and think, “What’s wrong with them?” or “I could never let myself look that bad.”
You might frequently engage in Body Checking without realizing it. For you, it’s just a glance. For the person judged, it can ruin their day. It can even lead to an eating disorder or disordered eating pattern.
The most destructive aspect of Body Checking is likely your self-judgment, infused with the same shame.
You might judge yourself multiple times a day – when looking in the mirror, a store window reflection, or around someone who makes you feel inferior.
This process probably started in your youth, driven by shame – defined by Brené Brown as the feeling of unworthiness of belonging, love, or connection. You likely began feeling this way because someone else, perhaps a close person like your mom, best friend, or teammate, made a comment or gesture that hurt you. This intense pain can last a lifetime if not healed.
At Way, we aim to help you explore this area of life to find peace, healing, and kindness. We understand that feeling “wrong” about our body image often triggers the restrict-binge eating cycle, leading to eating disorders or disordered eating patterns in 1/3 of cases, according to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA).
Remember, Way offers a nonjudgmental environment. In addition, we are here to help you find peace with your food and body image.
Our blogs, written by top intuitive eating experts and dietitians, are always free.
If you’re ready for deeper exploration, the Way app, with its easy-to-download Mindful Shifts Pathway, combines intuitive eating practices, behavioral science, and mindfulness. It helps unlearn the “perfect” body image perpetuated by diet culture, with sessions focused specifically on body checking, understanding self-judgment, and reframing body image.
Join over 10,000 people on their journey. We’ve made it affordable at less than $10/month because our mission focuses on your health and happiness. As a result, Way was named the 2023 Best Non-Diet App by Healthline, the largest health website on the internet.