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What’s Physique Checking? — Registered Dietitian Columbia SC

This weblog put up was written by my pretty 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 might need seen that you just’re spending extra time occupied with 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 adverts for bathing fits modeled by skinny fashions! We’re surrounded by messaging telling us we must be “bikini physique” prepared, so it’s arduous to not really feel extra essential of your physique this time of 12 months. With that, you might 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 actions, ideas, or conversations. Typically it’s a approach of assessing the place your physique is now in relation to a regular you might 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 regimen tradition and the appearance-obsessed society we stay 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 find out about physique checking as a result of it will possibly profoundly impression 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 aware of physique checking, you may make extra deliberate decisions of the way you wish to reply. With time, it could change into much less of a consider adverse physique picture. 

What are physique checking behaviors?

Physique checking manifests otherwise amongst us all. Frequent 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. 

  • particular physique components within the mirror.

  • Checking the match of garments. This could present up particularly after placing on a garment that was not too long ago within the dryer or one thing you haven’t worn shortly, the place you may expertise anxiousness of “is that this tighter than it was earlier than?”  

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

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

  • One other widespread type of physique checking that many people expertise in our day by day lives for the reason that pandemic is taking a look at your personal video sq. whereas on a video name. In truth, seeing your reflection is likely one of the contributing components of “Zoom fatigue.” In a Stanford article, the authors named how taxing and annoying it may be to continuously see your reflection, and the way it could result in extra self-criticism.

Why do you physique test?

The basis trigger of somebody’s physique checking just isn’t merely aesthetics. It may be for a lot of causes from exterior to emotional components. No matter somebody’s distinctive expertise, we can’t ignore systemic and internalized fatphobia as enjoying an enormous function. Merely put, if we didn’t stay in a fatphobic world, we wouldn’t physique test, simply as we don’t compulsively test the colour of our hair or our peak.

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

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

  • Aid or reassurance. Others physique test for proof that their physique hasn’t modified (that means test that it has not gotten larger) or to see if they’re seeing outcomes with weight reduction, physique sculpting, and so on. 

  • Obligation. Many individuals have been advised to shed some pounds by medical suppliers, and they also physique test 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?

In the event you’ve discovered your self feeling icky in your physique after stepping on the dimensions or passing a mirrored image, you’re not alone. In truth, there’s knowledge to show it. Whereas all physique checking just isn’t inherently disordered, analysis has demonstrated a hyperlink between physique checking and consuming dysfunction pathology.1 A number of research assist the concept that physique checking behaviors could perpetuate the event of an consuming dysfunction and physique picture dissatisfaction.1 One specific examine famous a rise in adverse feelings amongst individuals after physique checking in comparison with beforehand.2 This distinction was even better in individuals with recognized consuming issues versus individuals with out consuming issues.2 

On this approach, it’s a cyclical relationship the place physique checking behaviors could also be each signs and contributing components to the development of an consuming dysfunction. For many individuals physique checking behaviors change into methods of feeling secure and in management whereas energetic of their consuming dysfunction. But it normally makes issues worse. this Damaging physique picture by way of physique checking could 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 dimension.”2

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

How can I scale back physique checking? 

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

  • Discover if you physique test. Identify what is occurring. Deliver some light mindfulness to the second. Do a fast physique scan. Discover how you’re feeling in your physique.  

  • When you might have extra consciousness of the components to steer you to physique test, take into account small modifications which may scale back or remove the physique checking conduct. This may appear like avoiding the denims that pinch your waist, hiding the self-view on Zoom, shifting your mirror to a different location in your house, placing your scale in a cabinet in the meanwhile, and extra. Small changes to the objects and routines that remind you to physique test may help you lower physique checking behaviors and be much less fixated on adverse 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. Fast Results of Physique Checking Conduct on Damaging and Optimistic Feelings in Ladies with Consuming Problems: 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 assist, try our follow philosophy and vitamin teaching companies web page. We work with shoppers nearly all through the US.

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