According to Statista, three quarters of all Germans are not satisfied with their weight. Many are constantly trying to achieve their dream body through exercise, nutrition and discipline. Where are the limits? How much optimization is healthy? Influencer Louisa Dellert and Aglaja Stirn, professor of psychosomatic medicine, talk about the dangerous delusional body.
Every day our legs carry us to the bus, to work, to shopping, to the kitchen and to bed. Every minute the stomach ensures that the most important organs are protected and that we are well nourished. However, most women and men don’t like these and other parts of the body at all: the cellulite looks terrible, the fat rings are disgusting, the arms too weak, the buttocks too flat … The list of inadequacies is often endless. According to the XXL report by DAK-Gesundheit and Statista, more than one in three Germans constantly worries about being too fat. The reasons for this often lie in childhood.
The reasons for a distorted body image are complex: In today’s society, most people no longer have to work physically for their food, fast food is particularly cheap, there is no physical activity – the connection between exercise and food consumption virtually no longer exists. At the same time we see a flood of supposedly perfect bodies on TV and on the Internet! The unbelievable number: 400 to 600 advertisements pound down on us every day, every eleventh of them contain messages about ideals of beauty. And on social media, body shaming – negative comments on bodies that do not correspond to the current ideal of beauty – is on the agenda.
This leads to the fact that we want to be dangerously thin ourselves. And since our everyday life automatically becomes more and more sedentary, many are encouraged to do too much sport and pay special attention to diet.
When does it get dangerous?
Concrete lower limits are difficult to name because every body is different. Units such as the body mass index are also not always helpful, as a physique with narrow shoulders and smaller joints, for example, reduces the BMI.
Therefore you have to look at the psyche here. Aglaja Stirn, Professor of Psychosomatic Medicine and Sexual Medicine at the University of Kiel: “It becomes critical when personal suffering occurs. Exercise and nutrition are always high on the agenda for those with anorexia or sports addiction. Professional duties can no longer be fully fulfilled, social contacts are neglected. A clear indication is also when voluntariness is replaced by necessity, ie when the following applies no longer: ‘I want to do sport’, but rather: ‘I have to do sport’. “
The insidious: those affected often cannot recognize the dangerous limit themselves. And the environment has a hard time getting things done, as those often deny they have a problem.
“Fitness models often have nothing to do with fitness, but only with being slim or skinny! The younger generation, the teenagers, who watch it on social media, take it as an idol. I think that’s dangerous. At that time, it made me exercise three times a day and only eat salad. I wanted to be loved and noticed. And I thought that you can only do that if you think I’m really pretty. But I didn’t consider that people would do the same if I had a great character, if I was happy, ”said the 31-year-old.
The way out of the body mad crisis
Today Louisa Dellert has almost 400,000 subscribers on Instagram, who no longer admire her lean body, but for her strength, her self-confidence, her tenacity, her commitment to a good cause and her now healthy understanding of her body. “What is still missing for me? Campaigns exactly at the point where all this fitness advertising and ideals of beauty are shown: On Instagram, Facebook, YouTube – more should be done, “said the influencer. ( You can hear Louisa’s full story and which event got her out of her eating disorder in the DAK-Gesundheit interview podcast).
How do you deal with loved ones in private who are at risk of developing pathological behavior? Forehead explains: “Unfortunately there is no magic bullet. But there are certain things that families and friends can keep in mind: In the case of an eating disorder, for example, the environment can motivate the person concerned to seek professional help. It is also helpful to inform yourself as a family member: What does an eating disorder mean? How does it work and how does it affect the body and mind? ”The better you know as a relative, the more helpful you are.
The problem should be openly addressed to the person concerned. “However, the conversation should be less about weight and more about behavior change. Warning: denial is a natural reaction of those affected. It is important not to be turned away – parents or the partner should insist on seeing a doctor! “
You can also find quick help at your health insurance company. DAK-Gesundheit, for example, offers the Veovita program . It is designed for all types of mental illness. The needs of those affected are determined quickly and a suitable and individual online program is put together, combined with psychosocial telephone advice.
Don’t let it get that far …
In a world where unhealthy ideals of beauty rule, it is not easy to maintain a natural, healthy point of view. Because lamenting about the cellulite, the lifebuoy on the stomach or the few muscles is almost a good form. And this is where you can start, the expert knows: “There are certain protective factors that can counteract addiction disorders. The environment here is very important. A good common food culture in the partnership and their friends can help, besides you can talk about prevailing ideals of beauty and this critically ” A healthy coexistence so is also a key to ensuring that the individual stays healthy!
Always a good thing: give compliments that have nothing to do with your body! A few ideas:
- I admire your way of dealing with challenges!
- I love your laugh.
- You exude so much optimism.
- A conversation with you makes me happy!
- I am happy to have met you.
- You are a warm person!
- With you I can be who I am, I don’t have to pretend.
- You have a great way of seeing the world.
- You are so good at listening.
- I love your taste in clothes.
- You inspire me!
- I love working with you.
- You have a wonderful being.