Eating Disorders and Body Image: The Body Project

Eating Disorders and Body Image: The Body Project

Eating Disorders & Body Image: The Body Project

I’d like to introduce you to Jamie Doak, who is a Licensed Professional Counselor Candidate and an EDIT™ Certified III – Eating Disorder Treatment Clinician who works with adolescents in Denver, Colorado. She was a Counselor Intern under my supervision at Positive Pathways from September, 2014 through May, 2015. She is a knowledgeable and compassionate therapist, and you can contact her with any comments or questions, including how to get started with individual sessions (see bottom of article).
– Dr. Dorie

Do you wish you could lose 5, 10, 20 or more pounds?
Do you feel unhappy with your looks, no matter how thin you become?
Do you use eating disorder behaviors (meal skipping, purging) as a quest for thinness?

If you answered “YES” to any of the above questions, then The Body Project can help. The Body Project workshop, which is a described as a “dissonance-based body-acceptance program is designed to help high school girls and college-age women resist cultural pressures to conform to the thin-ideal standard of female beauty and reduce their pursuit of unhealthy thinness. The Body Project is supported by more research than any other body image program and has been found to reduce onset of eating disorders.”

At Positive Pathways, two of our therapists are trained to deliver The Body Project workshop. Our therapists are available to provide this workshop at schools in the Denver area – at no charge! In addition, our therapists can provide the concepts form The Body Project on a 1-on-1 basis as part of individual therapy, to help heal eating disorders and body image issues.

Why is a workshop like The Body Project necessary?

  • While the average American woman is 5’4 tall and weighs 140 pounds, the average American model is 5’11 and weighs 117 pounds.
  • In 1995, before television was first introduced to Fiji there were no cases of eating disorder. Sixty-five adolescent schoolgirls were followed over three years and after the introduction of British and American television, 12.7% of the girls had developed high eating disorder after one month and 29.2% after three years. Self-induced vomiting as weigh control went form 0% in 1995 to 11.3% by 1998.
  • A study found that after just three minutes spent looking at models in a fashion magazine, 70% of women reported feeing depressed, guilty and ashamed of their bodies.
  • In a survey of 548 girls in 5th grade through 12th grade 59% of girls reported dissatisfaction with their body shape and 66% expressed a desire to lose weight.

The Body Project defines the thin ideal as the thin, toned, busty woman we see in the media and is careful to distinguish between the thin ideal and a healthy ideal. The goal of a thin ideal is to attain thinness that is neither realistic nor healthy at any cost. With a healthy ideal the goal is to health, fitness, longevity and feeling good about how our body both works and feels.

The Body Project is effective because it helps women to distance themselves from this unrealistic beauty standard by identifying the costs of pursuing it (money, health, time, relationships) and recognizing who ultimately benefits from women conforming to a thin ideal (diet industry, media, fashion industry, cosmetic industry).

Once women feel disconnected from the unrealistic image of beauty that is being promoted in the media and internalize that their suffering to achieve the thin ideal only puts money in the pockets of the (usually male) CEOs of fashion and cosmetic corporations, they are better able to resist and reject this unattainable beauty standard. Beauty, health and bodies come in all shapes and sizes!

All statistics in this article come from The Body Project:

“Don’t change your body to get respect from society.
Instead let’s change society to respect our bodies.”
-Golda Poretsky


Looking for guidance with body image? JAMIE DOAK, MA, LPCC (the author of this blog article) is an EDIT™ Certified III – Eating Disorder Treatment Clinician who works with adolescents in Denver, Colorado. You can contact her with comments or questions, or to become a client! – EMAIL JAMIE

Interested in a FREE consultation with Dr. Dorie? Dr. Dorie is passionate about her method of Eating Disorder Intuitive Therapy (EDIT)™ to help people overcome eating disorders and addictions.  She provides customized counseling for eating disorders and alcohol / drug addiction at her Positive Pathways treatment center in Evergreen, Colorado – and EDIT™ eating disorder training and certification for coaches and clinicians worldwide. CALL 303-494-1975EMAIL DR. DORIE – GET CERTIFIED