Body image issues are so ubiquitous that they’ve become a pandemic in their own right. Sadly, Australia has a particularly high prevalence.

Body Image Statistics in Australia

Studies show that almost 30% of males (under 25) and 35% of females (overall) are unhappy with their appearance.

Most alarmingly, around 16% of the population will be affected by an eating disorder or disordered eating in their lifetime – that’s around four million people!

Myths About eating Disorders

There are many common misconceptions around eating disorders.

Myth: They only affect young females.

Fact: The number of men (particularly under 25) who are affected is growing rapidly and currently sits at around 37% of sufferers. Worryingly, around one quarter of the Trans community is affected.

Myth: They only occur in people who need to lose weight as a ‘diet gone wrong’.

Fact: A person of any size, shape, colour, race, cultural background or gender identity can suffer. They do not discriminate.

Myth: They are about ‘getting attention’.

Fact: They are often a mal-adaptive coping mechanism for a person experiencing non-body related issues in other areas of their life (e.g. childhood trauma or abuse) to re-gain a sense of control. Many sufferers actually go to great lengths to hide their condition from others.

Effects of Body Image Issues

Body image issues do not only affect a person’s self-esteem and confidence, but also their physical and mental health and wellbeing.

At worst, body image issues can lead to eating disorders and even fatality.

They often co-exist with mental illnesses such as anxiety and/or depression.

Apart from the mental and emotional toll, there are a multitude of physical side effects commonly experienced by sufferers. These can affect the endocrine, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neurological, renal, blood and skin systems.

Why are Eating Disorders becoming more common?

Experts believe that an increase in body image issues can largely be attributed to the advent of social media and increased internet access and usage.

This generation has been exposed to sexualised content from a much younger age than previous generations, who did not have unfettered (if any) internet access.

Additionally, despite awareness of issues such as domestic violence, transphobia and body shaming, studies show an increase in their prevalence. These issues and continued pressure/expectation to abide by gender norms/roles go hand in hand with body image issues.

Stereotypes and archetypes have been perpetuated by advertising, news/media, social media users themselves and alternative communication channels which do not adequately police online abuse/bullying.

Celebrities, influencers, brands and media outlets often present images that are unattainable/unrealistic for the average person to achieve, by Photoshopping images to project an image of ‘perfection’, which ultimately leaves others feeling inferior.

Even though we know these images aren’t realistic, more people (now younger than ever) are going into debt and risking their health to undergo a range of cosmetic procedures/surgery to attain this elusive ‘perfection’.

It’s almost impossible to avoid this content too, with algorithms ensuring it remains in our ‘feeds’, whether we like it or not.

In a world where most of us use social media and the internet to connect, learn, socialise and even work, it is almost impossible to escape constant triggering if you experience body image issues.

We are socialised into placing a high value on appearance, told what constitutes beauty and had this continuously and subliminally reinforced from a young age.

What can you do?

Despite all the challenges, there are some wonderful resources and support networks available (such as the Butterfly Foundation) to help you avoid and/or manage body image issues before they spiral out of control and require medical/professional intervention.

It is also important to avoid speaking to yourself or others who might be affected in a way that perpetuates unrealistic stereotypes or focuses on weight. Avoid accessing online or other content, where possible, that reinforces this negativity.

If this means having a digital detox or backing away from people and relationships that are harmful to your wellbeing, then so be it.

Your physical and emotional health should be top priority.

Accessing body-positive content and surrounding yourself with body-positive role models – and normalising these body types – can also be extremely empowering.

It’s important to get to the root cause of what is affecting your body image. This may mean accessing the support of friends, family, support groups or professionals such as Psychologist.

I offer a range of modalities including Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Hypnosis, Time Line Therapy®, Access Bars® and Life Coaching to support anyone who has been affected by body image issues and can work together with you and your support team to maintain continuity of support.

I also offer support for groups in workplace, school and club/team settings.

For more information please visit To make an appointment, please phone on 0481 877 860 or email