Do You Have a “body Check” Problem?
During the course of a day, you probably seek feedback on your appearance more than once, whether it’s checking your weight, looking in the mirror, trying on different clothes, or taking selfies.
This habit of looking for information about your body is called ” body checking, ” and if done in moderation, it’s perfectly normal behavior—an occasional chance to reassure yourself that everything is fine. We all have our own habits and routines when it comes to body checking habits, but taken to the extreme, body checking can become an obsession, hurting your mood and lowering your self-esteem.
When body check gets out of hand
The problem arises when checking the body becomes something of a coercion. Perhaps you weigh yourself several times a day, and your mood changes depending on the number on the scale. Other behaviors may include over-measuring body parts such as waist or hip circumference; or take a lot of selfies to keep track of a particular aspect of your appearance.
In a 2018 meta-analysis , compulsive body checking was found to be correlated with negative body image and eating disorder. Another 2019 study found that for women, body checks led to personal dissatisfaction, no matter what part of the body they were monitoring.
Signs that the habit of checking the body is out of control
Some of the signs that the habit of checking your body is becoming a problem are: if it impairs your ability to concentrate; if it causes disruptions in your work or home life; if this leads to the fact that you refuse to eat; or if it causes feelings of guilt, shame, or anxiety. If you find yourself avoiding social gatherings due to a fear of food; if you spend too much time worrying about your weight or appearance; or if your preoccupation with your body is getting in the way of your life – these are all signs that body checking is becoming a problem.
What to do if you have a body check problem
First and foremost, if your boy’s check habit has contributed to his eating disorder, it’s important to seek professional support. The National Eating Disorders Association has a hotline that can be accessed either via online chat, by texting or by calling 800-931-2237. If you are in a crisis and need help urgently, send a NEDA message to 741741.
When it comes to checking your body behavior, Healthline suggests taking regular social media breaks as apps like Instagram can only fuel body image concerns. Also, observe yourself and try to pinpoint the situations that make you want to check your body – track your behavior throughout the day to see if there are any patterns and then try to develop alternative coping strategies that can replace the behavior body checks (for example, instead of looking critically at yourself in the mirror, do verbal affirmations to boost your mood and self-confidence ). And if the habit has reached the level of obsession, seek help from a trained therapist .