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Thread: Neuroscience and body image - with eating disorders (I'm looking for research . . . )

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    Neuroscience and body image - with eating disorders (I'm looking for research . . . )

    I'm overweight a little, I need to lose 30 lbs of fat to be in the "acceptable range" for my age/height. I only know this because the scale and the Dr tells me this - and I wear the same size clothes that my Mom wears. I, however, look in the mirror and don't see that I'm "fat" - in fact - I feel just as skinny as I did when I was anorexic (in high school). I look in the mirror or look at my fingers and I look like I haven't changed (to myself I do, anyway) - but in pictures I see that I'm a chunk.

    So, I was reading up on the neuroscience of anorexia - found this article that explains it quite well: The Neuroscience of Anorexia Nervosa | Dr Shock MD PhD

    And I'm now looking for an equal study/article that discusses this altered body-perception when it comes to people who are overweight.

    But everything about body-image and those who are obese/suffer from medical issues doesn't center at all around self-perception like anorexia does. . . .so I'm lost.

    Any help would be appreciated!
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    Re: Neuroscience and body image - with eating disorders (I'm looking for research . .

    I don't know.
    Maybe you're just... happy? With your current weight?

    If your doctor says you should lose weight, then you probably better.

    If it's just a matter of aesthetics, and if you feel good at your current weight, then just go with it, I'd say.

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    Re: Neuroscience and body image - with eating disorders (I'm looking for research . .

    Well I'm just trying to understand the brain-functions that cause body-perception to be inaccurate to actual body appearance (such as someone who's too thin thinking they look fat - or someone who's fat thinking they look thing) - all on a psychological/neurological level.

    Here's from the article:
    If, for some reasons, this process is impaired, the egocentric sensory inputs are no more able to update the contents of the allocentric representation of the body: the subject is locked to it. This is what apparently happens in eating disorders (ED)
    So since it says "eating disorders" it's safe to presume they're referring to *all* eating disorders - not *just* anorexia and bulimia . . . so someone who is overweight or obese can have this same neurological issue?

    Basically - The mind, instead of updating the mind to register "your body is different, you don't look the same" - the mind registers "you look the same as you did before" - no matter how much difference there is physically.

    So - it's possible for someone to be gaining weight and they really think they haven't gained any weight.
    Just like someone who is underweight due to anorexia is losing weight but they think they haven't lost any weight.

    *edit*: That leads me to wonder: Will I ever look at myself and see myself how I actually am? Or will I always look at myself and see myself for what my faulted allocentric and egocentric functions are "locked into"

    Do anorexics who have this psychological 'hiccup' ever actually recover from the mental-portion of the illness? */edit*
    Last edited by Aunt Spiker; 07-02-10 at 12:38 AM.
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    Re: Neuroscience and body image - with eating disorders (I'm looking for research . .

    Just look at your height/weight/clothing size and compare that to other women of the same height/weight/clothing size.
    That should give you at least an approximate idea of what you actually look like.
    Even if you can't see yourself accurately, you should be able to see them accurately.
    I mean... right?


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    Re: Neuroscience and body image - with eating disorders (I'm looking for research . .

    Yeah - my Mom and I wear the same size clothes. She's 2 inches taller than me - so I look almost like her. That is WEIRD beyond belief to know. And I didn't know that until just a few weeks ago (we visited them, the kids were playing with water balloons and I got really wet - my Mom gave me some of her clothes to wear . . . fit like a glove - it was quite surprising)

    I've been losing weight - more so in the goal to get control of my intestinal disorders and anemia, hip and leg condition, etc - extra weight does NOT help. So at least with me now knowing what my mind is processing I can avoid losing too much weight (I am actually worried about that) - obviously I can't look in the mirror and go "oh yeah, I'm skinny now!" LOL - I have to go by numbers and everyone else's reactions to me.

    Can't trust myself - it's sadly funny.
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    Re: Neuroscience and body image - with eating disorders (I'm looking for research . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Spiker View Post
    Well I'm just trying to understand the brain-functions that cause body-perception to be inaccurate to actual body appearance (such as someone who's too thin thinking they look fat - or someone who's fat thinking they look thing) - all on a psychological/neurological level.

    Here's from the article:


    So since it says "eating disorders" it's safe to presume they're referring to *all* eating disorders - not *just* anorexia and bulimia . . . so someone who is overweight or obese can have this same neurological issue?

    Basically - The mind, instead of updating the mind to register "your body is different, you don't look the same" - the mind registers "you look the same as you did before" - no matter how much difference there is physically.

    So - it's possible for someone to be gaining weight and they really think they haven't gained any weight.
    Just like someone who is underweight due to anorexia is losing weight but they think they haven't lost any weight.

    *edit*: That leads me to wonder: Will I ever look at myself and see myself how I actually am? Or will I always look at myself and see myself for what my faulted allocentric and egocentric functions are "locked into"

    Do anorexics who have this psychological 'hiccup' ever actually recover from the mental-portion of the illness? */edit*
    not to discount your worries, but i would love to look in the mirror and think i looked skinny. i had the perfect storm, 50 , menopuase and quitting smoking. i gained 25 pounds in one year. i am slowly taking it off, but arrrgh! it's tough.

    Originally Posted by johnny_rebson:

    These are the same liberals who forgot how Iraq attacked us on 9/11.


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    Re: Neuroscience and body image - with eating disorders (I'm looking for research . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Spiker View Post
    Yeah - my Mom and I wear the same size clothes. She's 2 inches taller than me - so I look almost like her. That is WEIRD beyond belief to know. And I didn't know that until just a few weeks ago (we visited them, the kids were playing with water balloons and I got really wet - my Mom gave me some of her clothes to wear . . . fit like a glove - it was quite surprising)

    I've been losing weight - more so in the goal to get control of my intestinal disorders and anemia, hip and leg condition, etc - extra weight does NOT help. So at least with me now knowing what my mind is processing I can avoid losing too much weight (I am actually worried about that) - obviously I can't look in the mirror and go "oh yeah, I'm skinny now!" LOL - I have to go by numbers and everyone else's reactions to me.

    Can't trust myself - it's sadly funny.
    I do get what you mean, sort of.
    We see ourselves so often that it's hard to be objective.
    When I look in the mirror, it's like I don't see anything, because I'm just too familiar with myself.

    I think photos help us see ourselves better.
    I have some pretty extreme asymmetry to my face; I don't mind. It works for me.
    But it does mean that my image in photos always surprises me- it looks very different from what I see in the mirror. Completely bass-ackwards. It's like, WTF? My part is on the wrong side! My left eyebrow is higher than my right one!
    But photos do give us an opportunity to see ourselves as others see us.

    I'd suggest having someone take some photos of you, and then comparing them to photos of your younger self to see what the difference actually is.
    I mean, if your goal is to get a realistic idea of what you look like now.

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