Leading Expert Shares Tips for Summertime Body Image and Anxiety Concerns

Many individuals who are struggling with eating disorders, anxiety, and related challenges find summer months difficult due to body image concerns

Chicago, June 07, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Warmer weather often means a focus on diets and weight loss as well as less clothing and a more exposed body. This focus can bring about body image concerns and anxiety, particularly for individuals who are struggling with eating disorders and related concerns.

“There could be a variety of reasons why body image issues arise during the summer, and it may be due to not liking the size or shape of one’s body or struggles with scars, stretch marks, and other issues,” said Camille Williams, LCPC, CEDS-S, eating disorder program coordinator at Timberline Knolls, a treatment center for women and adolescent girls who are struggling with eating disorders, the effects of trauma, addictions, and mood and co-occurring disorders. “The important thing to remember is treating ourselves with self-compassion and body respect, much like how we treat others. This makes a big difference in our overall wellness.”

Williams advises those who struggle with body image concerns or eating disorders to wear what they like and what is comfortable for them. Remind yourself that you deserve to feel comfortable and cool in the summer, so practice wearing shorts and eventually it won’t be as scary. Or if you really enjoy wearing dresses, don’t let discomfort of the body or parts of the body limit what you can or cannot wear.

In addition, Williams recommends coming back to your values and determining what it is you want or wish for during the summer. Do you want to spend your summer preoccupied with a diet? Or do you want to spend it enjoying picnics and fun outings with friends or family? It may also help to think about what you would say to a loved one. Would you tell them that they can’t enjoy summer or wear the swimsuit they want to wear without losing weight? Would you tell them that they should watch their calories so that they “look better” in summer clothes? If you wouldn’t say it to someone you love or care about, then that means that it is most likely not one of your authentic values and is just diet culture and the beauty industry impacting your view of the body/self.

Summer often involves lots of events surrounding food, like weddings, reunions, and parties.

“I think it is helpful to have some supports in place ahead of time. Have a support person who can help you navigate food anxiety. Maybe this person can eat with you or provide support in ways that are helpful? It’s helpful to remember what you want to make the event about — do you want to spend time talking to loved ones? Think ahead about how you can still make sure you’re nourishing yourself as part of the experience and not letting food anxiety take away from the fun and meaningful parts,” added Williams.

Williams suggests practicing coping skills ahead of time and visualizing potential stressful experiences. Utilizing those coping skills will help those who are struggling with body image and anxiety enjoy the summer months.

About Timberline Knolls

Timberline Knolls is a leading residential treatment center for women and adolescent girls age 12 and older who are struggling with eating disorders, substance abuse, the effects of trauma, mood disorders, and co-occurring disorders. Located just outside Chicago on a picturesque, 43-acre, wooded campus, Timberline Knolls provides residents with excellent clinical care delivered by a highly trained professional staff. Just a short drive from our main campus, partial hospitalization programming (PHP) and intensive outpatient programming (IOP) with supportive housing are available for adult women. For more information, please visit www.timberlineknolls.com



Camille Williams, LCPC, CEDS-S, Eating Disorder Program Coordinator

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