What are the recommended treatments for negative body image?Well, there are a few recommendations:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy A form of talking therapy that can help to recognise and adjust faulty patterns of thought
- Psychotherapy or Counseling To help resolve childhood traumas that may be linked to negative body image
- Medication Typically those prescribed for anxiety and especially when in combination with CBT
- Exercise Specifically focusing on what your body can do rather than looks like
The reason exercise has worked for me in the past is because:
- I feel like I’m making an effort to do something about my body image and can be more forgiving of myself as a result.
- The endorphins released from a good workout make me feel better even if they don’t resolve the problem.
What is a seven-minute workout?The seven-minute workout (I promise this isn’t a paid promotion) is a form of High-Intensity Circuit training (HICT). It’s essentially body-weight exercises like squats, pushups, crunches, and wall-sits. You do each exercise for 30 seconds with a 10-second rest between each one. The initial workout lasts for 7 minutes. But you can level up the difficulty and length of the workouts as your fitness improves. It was specifically designed by a performance coach and exercise physiologist from the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, FL to help busy clients get efficient but effective workouts. The idea being that if you couldn’t spare an hour or even thirty minutes, you could probably spare seven minutes at some point during your day. Basically, it seemed like it ticked all of the boxes. It was free, scientifically proven, I could do it from home, it was made for people with limited time, and it was less daunting than going back to hour-long gym sessions.
Seven Days Of Seven Minute WorkoutsTo help me with these workouts I downloaded a seven-minute workout app. This made it easier to adjust the routines and keep track of my progress. I tracked each workout as a factor in Bearable and logged my health outcomes (mood, energy, sleep, and symptoms) after each session. Day one. I started with the basic 7-minute workout. I was surprised at how quick it was without feeling totally ineffective. It felt positive to workout, even if it was only for a few minutes. Day two. Day one had been so simple that I looked forward to working out again. I doubled up the workout to make it a bit more difficult. Day three. I was a bit sore and that made me feel like the workouts were actually doing something other than just raising my heart rate. If nothing else, I felt like I was making an effort and wasn’t daunted by the prospect of working out again the next day. Day four. I switched up the routine to try some different exercises and ended up increasing the difficulty after the first 7-minute cycle. I also started noticing that my binge-eating was getting worse / more likely to flair up. Day five. I went a bit harder and committed to a 21-minute workout. Possibly from the guilt of having eaten too much the previous day. I enjoyed pushing myself but still ended up feeling self-conscious about my body despite making the effort to work out every day. Day six. I changed the routine again and did a 15min workout. I was really enjoying how easy it was to fit these workouts into the day. I also learned how much I hate wall-sits and planking. Day seven. For once I didn’t slack off or look forward to the end of an experiment. I really enjoyed the format of these workouts, they ticked all the right boxes for me and I didn’t want to stop. They were accessible and made my body feel less useless.
What did Bearable say about the impact of 7-minute workouts on my health?
Avg. Mood worsened by 1% Avg. Energy improved by 10% Avg. Symptom Score worsened by 15% Avg. Sleep Quality worsened by 6% Avg. Sleep Quantity worsened by 6%How did HICT positively affect my symptoms? Binge eating improved by 13% Trouble falling asleep improved by 9% Avoiding appearance improved by 7% Worry about weight improved by 6% How did HICT negatively affect my symptoms? Worrying about communicating worsened by 143% Self-criticism worsened by 94% Avoiding interests worsened by 46% Worry about my body shape worsened by 14% Worrying about my face worsened by 12% Worry about appearance worsened by 4%