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Table 2 Participant’s descriptions of their own body image

From: A qualitative analysis of participants’ reflections on body image during participation in a randomized controlled trial of acceptance and commitment therapy

Category Summary Quotation
Evaluation of body/body image Some parts of the body are described with dissatisfaction.
Body image is affected by social ideals. Participants compare themselves to ideals and to friends.
On the whole it is very negative but I have still learned as well to like my body in a different way than I used to. (AN, 33)
Feelings about your body/body image Dislike of the body. Feelings of anxiety when thinking about the body. Feeling uncomfortable with the body. Feeling nausea and disgust about the body. Don’t really like myself, don’t know what pigeonhole to put myself in – plump, fat or grotesquely elephantine troll-like fat. (BED, 39)
I feel ok with my body but still not entirely comfortable. (AN, 18)
If impression is realistic or not Description of body image as realistic, unrealistic or wrong. Having a realistic image does not mean that participants are pleased with it. Sometimes feel that I am fat, which is incorrect. That means that it isn’t true, my weight is normal. (BN, 26)
Good I can see what I look like even though I’m not satisfied with it. (Purging disorder, 20)
Changes in relation to body/weight What participants would like to change about their body, like losing weight or being fitter. Worry about the body changing (gaining weight). I really long to feel more muscular, both for my own well-being and also because I think I look better when I am fit. (UFED, 24)
I’m afraid of putting on weight and being fat. (AN, 18)
Impressions are inconstant Body image is affected by feelings and thoughts. The image oscillates between being comfortable with one’s body and appearance to feeling disgust and revulsion and wanting to change. Like a roller-coaster. Some days my body feels fantastic, both physically and mentally. But then there are days when I can see everything that’s wrong with it. Then it feels like I’ve taken a step backward, but never back to square one. (BN, 19)
Thoughts about the body and weight take a lot of room Appearance is important, which gives rise to thoughts about weight, figure and diet. This focus can lead to discontent, greater concentration on appearance than on well-being. I focus more on looking good than feeling good, when it comes to the inside and outside of my body. (BN, 19)
Don’t think so much about my body today. Not everything is about me any longer. (Purging disorder, 23)