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What’s Physique Checking? — Registered Dietitian Columbia SC

This weblog put up was written by my beautiful intern from Simmons College, Lindsay Hodgson. Thanks Lindsay for contributing your information and time to creating this useful resource!

With summer season on the horizon, you may need seen that you simply’re spending extra time excited about your physique and weight. I don’t find out about you, however I’ve seen my instagram feed is getting a bit clogged with focused advertisements for bathing fits modeled by skinny fashions! We’re surrounded by messaging telling us we must be “bikini physique” prepared, so it’s laborious to not really feel extra essential of your physique this time of yr. With that, you may need seen a rise in a conduct known as physique checking.

What’s physique checking?

Physique checking, because it sounds, is the method of checking your physique by way of actions, ideas, or conversations. Typically it’s a means of assessing the place your physique is now in relation to a normal you will have in your thoughts of the place it “ought to” be. The robust factor about physique checking is that it’s so normalized in food plan tradition and the appearance-obsessed society we reside in. All of us do it, deliberately or unintentionally, as physique checking is a part of navigating the world in your physique and being in relationship with it.

It may be useful to study physique checking as a result of it may possibly profoundly affect your physique picture and relationship to your physique. For many individuals, physique checking could also be a conduct that appears like it’s on autopilot. As you change into extra acutely aware of physique checking, you can also make extra deliberate selections of the way you wish to reply. With time, it might change into much less of a consider unfavorable physique picture. 

What are physique checking behaviors?

Physique checking manifests otherwise amongst us all. Widespread physique checking behaviors, intentional or unconscious, are:1,2

  • Weighing your self. For instance, stepping on a rest room scale every morning or having a routine of monitoring your weight when medically pointless. 

  • Taking a look at particular physique elements within the mirror.

  • Checking the match of garments. This may present up particularly after placing on a garment that was just lately within the dryer or one thing you haven’t worn shortly, the place you would possibly expertise nervousness of “is that this tighter than it was earlier than?”  

  • Asking for reassurance associated to your form or measurement, akin to “is that this flattering?” 

  • Evaluating your form or measurement to different individuals. Typically this happens in inner dialogue, the place you would possibly stroll into the room and attempt to assess your measurement towards others.   

  • One other frequent type of physique checking that many people expertise in our every day lives because the pandemic is taking a look at your individual video sq. whereas on a video name. Actually, seeing your reflection is likely one of the contributing elements of “Zoom fatigue.” In a Stanford article, the authors named how taxing and aggravating it may be to continuously see your reflection, and the way it might result in extra self-criticism.

Why do you physique examine?

The foundation trigger of somebody’s physique checking shouldn’t be merely aesthetics. It may be for a lot of causes from exterior to emotional elements. No matter somebody’s distinctive expertise, we can not ignore systemic and internalized fatphobia as taking part in an enormous position. Merely put, if we didn’t reside in a fatphobic world, we wouldn’t physique examine, simply as we don’t compulsively examine the colour of our hair or our top.

With that in thoughts, listed below are just a few different causes: 

  • Management. Individuals might physique examine to take care of management and self-discipline over their our bodies. 

  • Reduction or reassurance. Others physique examine for proof that their physique hasn’t modified (which means examine that it has not gotten greater) or to see if they’re seeing outcomes with weight reduction, physique sculpting, and many others. 

  • Obligation. Many individuals have been advised to drop pounds by medical suppliers, and they also physique examine to adjust to suggestions and out of concern for his or her well being. 

How does physique checking relate to physique picture and consuming issues?

When you’ve discovered your self feeling icky in your physique after stepping on the size or passing a mirrored image, you’re not alone. Actually, there’s knowledge to show it. Whereas all physique checking shouldn’t be inherently disordered, analysis has demonstrated a hyperlink between physique checking and consuming dysfunction pathology.1 A number of research help the concept that physique checking behaviors might perpetuate the event of an consuming dysfunction and physique picture dissatisfaction.1 One explicit research famous a rise in unfavorable feelings amongst contributors after physique checking in comparison with beforehand.2 This distinction was even higher in contributors with recognized consuming issues versus contributors with out consuming issues.2 

On this means, it’s a cyclical relationship the place physique checking behaviors could also be each signs and contributing elements to the development of an consuming dysfunction. For many individuals physique checking behaviors change into methods of feeling protected and in management whereas lively of their consuming dysfunction. But it normally makes issues worse. this Unfavourable physique picture through physique checking might then encourage weight-reduction plan, restriction, or different disordered behaviors to “make up” for perceived issues or achieve management over one’s physique form or measurement.”2

That is frequent amongst shoppers’ lived experiences at any stage in restoration. Physique checking is usually a set off even when somebody has made large progress to heal their relationship with meals and physique. It’s regular for somebody to face a setback of proscribing or over-exercising once more after stepping on the size on the physician’s workplace or seeing an image of themselves they dislike. 

How can I cut back physique checking? 

  • Journal with out judgment to discover why you physique examine. When did you be taught to physique examine? What are you checking for? In that conduct what else are you trying to find? When are you prone to physique examine? How does physique checking serve your physique picture? How does it hurt your physique picture?  

  • Discover once you physique examine. Title what is occurring. Carry some light mindfulness to the second. Do a fast physique scan. Discover how you’re feeling in your physique.  

  • When you will have extra consciousness of the elements to guide you to physique examine, take into account small modifications which may cut back or get rid of the physique checking conduct. This would possibly appear to be avoiding the denims that pinch your waist, hiding the self-view on Zoom, transferring your mirror to a different location in your house, placing your scale in a cabinet in the intervening time, and extra. Small changes to the objects and routines that remind you to physique examine can assist you lower physique checking behaviors and be much less fixated on unfavorable physique picture ideas. 


  1. Walker DC, White EK, Srinivasan VJ. A meta-analysis of the relationships between physique checking, physique picture avoidance, physique picture dissatisfaction, temper, and disordered consuming. Int J Eat Disord. 2018 Aug;51(8):745-770. doi: 10.1002/eat.22867. 

  2. Kraus N, Lindenberg J, Zeeck A, Kosfelder J, Vocks S. Rapid Results of Physique Checking Conduct on Unfavourable and Constructive Feelings in Ladies with Consuming Issues: An Ecological Momentary Evaluation Strategy. Eur Eat Disord Rev. 2015 Sep;23(5):399-407. doi: 10.1002/erv.2380. 

If this weblog put up on physique checking was useful and you’re feeling such as you would profit from extra individualized physique picture help, try our observe philosophy and diet teaching providers web page. We work with shoppers nearly all through the US.

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