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Table 3 Participant’s description of desired changes in 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
How you evaluate yourself and your body A desire to like oneself and one’s body more, see oneself as good enough, to be less judgmental and able to describe the body more neutrally. I would like to feel that my body is OK and view it positively instead of something negative. (Purging disorder, 20)
I would like to be pleased with my body no matter what day it is, how much exercise I have had or what I have eaten during the day. I want to be pleased and happy and feel strong, no matter what. (AN, 18)
A more realistic body image A desire to be less judgmental and more accepting of the body. That I know what I look like and accept it. (BED, 44)
I want to be able to see/perceive myself the way I am and to allow/permit myself to feel good. (AN, 37)
Being influenced less by media or what others think A desire to create distance from the ideal conveyed through the media and not to have to consider what other people think. Not having to make an effort to fit in with an ideal that actually doesn’t exist. (AN, 37)
And above all I want to be able to look the way I want without having to wonder what others will think. (AN, 33)
A shift of focus to other things in life Allowing other areas of life to occupy more space. Being able to give priority to things rather than thoughts about my body, allowing myself to put other things first. (Purging disorder, 23)
For my body not to take up such an important part of my everyday life, I want other things to be more important. (AN, 24)
Greater respect for your body Participants express a desire to comply with their bodies’ demands, not have to struggle all the time to oppose changes. … and more respect for what my body wants and needs to feel good both inside and out. (AN, 26)
I want to accept my body as it is without feeling forced to diet/lose weight to feel attractive. (Purging disorder, 23)
Greater self-confidence or self-esteem Being able to feel more satisfied and secure in self and appearance. Greater self-confidence or self-esteem. I want to feel pleased with myself so that I can be more self-confident. (AN, 20)
I wish I had faith in myself and more self-esteem and self-confidence. (BED, 29)
Reducing behaviors linked to eating disorders Stop avoiding the kinds of things that are really desired. More focus on experiencing activities than on change. Stop behaviors that do not contribute to well-being. To be able to live with my body in a better way than avoiding things. (AN, 25)
Dare to display more, not baggy clothes, being proud of the way I look. Not squeezing my body and not worrying about weight. (AN, 18)