Maybe you see yourself as a healthy woman with a good body image and no fear of getting fat. Perhaps you've even taken psychological tests that prove you have a good body image. Does having a good body image mean that you really have no fear of getting fat? According to Brigham Young University researchers, you may only fooling yourself when you profess to have a good body image.
A group of women who claimed to have no body image issues, and who were given standard psychological testing to prove that point, were understandably surprised when the results of MRI testing revealed that they may not be so sure of their body images. BYU researchers used MRI to determine what happened in the brain of the women who seemed to have good body images, when shown pictures of strangers, some of whom were overweight. The brains of these women reacted strongly when they were shown pictures of overweight women. The results showed clear anxiety about the overweight women, and fear about getting fat and seeing themselves in a less positive light.
This study was necessary to establish a point of reference among women who otherwise scored in the healthy range on eating disorder diagnostic testing. Although the women's reactions were far less significant than it was in women diagnosed with eating disorders, researchers determined that even so called healthy women have "sub-clinical" issues with body image.
The results of this study appear in the May issue of the psychological journal Personality and Individual Differences.
How do you see yourself? Do you fear that you'll gain weight? What do you feel when you see overweight people?