The Woman in the Mirror: How to Stop Confusing What You Look Like with Who You Are

( 4 )

Overview

Many women-regardless of income, size, shape, ethnicity, and age-are uncomfortable in their own skin. We fixate on our body image and try endless diets, implants, hair extensions, and new shoes, but it's never enough. The problem is that girls and women have been socialized to mistakenly conflate body esteem and self-esteem. Body esteem refers to how you think and feel about your physical appearance: your size, shape, hair, and features. Self-esteem refers to how you think and feel about your personality, your ...

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The Woman in the Mirror: How to Stop Confusing What You Look Like with Who You Are

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Overview

Many women-regardless of income, size, shape, ethnicity, and age-are uncomfortable in their own skin. We fixate on our body image and try endless diets, implants, hair extensions, and new shoes, but it's never enough. The problem is that girls and women have been socialized to mistakenly conflate body esteem and self-esteem. Body esteem refers to how you think and feel about your physical appearance: your size, shape, hair, and features. Self-esteem refers to how you think and feel about your personality, your role in relationships, your accomplishments, and your values-everything that contributes to who you are as a person.

The Woman in the Mirror goes beyond typical self-esteem books to dig deep into the origins of women's problems with body image. Psychologist Cynthia Bulik guides readers in the challenging task of disentangling self-esteem from body esteem, and taking charge of the insidious negative self-talk that started as early as when you first realized you didn't really look like a fairy princess. By reprogramming how we feel about ourselves and our bodies, we can practice healthy eating and sensible exercise, and focus on the many things we have to offer our family, community, and job. Bulik provides us the tools to reclaim our self-confidence and to respect and love who we are.

Praise for Crave:

"More than 7 million Americans struggle with binge eating disorder (BED) . . . Crave: Why You Binge Eat and How to Stop helps shed light on the problem."-O, the Oprah Magazine

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An alarming number of American females don’t like what they see in the mirror, writes Bulik: by the time girls are ready for high school, half of them hate their weight and shape—and their self-esteem has taken a precipitous dive. Bulik, a psychologist and eating disorders specialist at the University of North Carolina (Crave: Why You Binge Eat and How to Stop) paints a disturbing picture of the distorted lens through which many American women, from girlhood to old age, view their bodies. She also offers a guide to untangling the mess, based on controlling negative self-talk. With a section devoted to each part of the life cycle, Bulik includes examples of struggles women can identify with. For example, for college-age women, there’s a plan for healthy eating, and a graph to help young women become aware of the events (“mean-girl behavior”) and situations that foster negative self-esteem. Bulik encourages such inventories to “capture your thoughts” and become “a critical observer of your own thinking and... behavior.” It’s a pain-for-gain challenge to self-awareness that may be the only hope we have to change a troubling trend. Agent: Richard Curtis. (Jan.)
Library Journal
To disentangle self-esteem from body esteem, according to Bulik (psychiatry, Univ. of North Carolina Sch. of Medicine), women need to identify and control their negative self-talk and treat themselves with respect. This is no easy task: society pushes the idealized role of princess onto girls, extols impossible images of perfection such as youth and thinness, and engages in appearance bullying. The problem is compounded because women also tend to play out power struggles and achievement on the appearance battlefield. Bulik helps women identify the cues and triggers for self-criticism and set up fat-talk-free zones. In the last chapter, she emphasizes taking steps to build the self-esteem of girls. Bulik has a life-changing message for women and delivers it well.
Kirkus Reviews
In this timely study, Bulik (Psychiatry/Univ. of North Carolina; Crave: Why You Binge Eat and How to Stop, 2009, etc.) examines why the female "inner struggle with identity and self-esteem" often manifests as an obsession with bodily imperfections. She posits that the main reason why women attempt to "fix" themselves with diets, cosmetics and surgery is that society has led them to conflate self-esteem with what she calls "body esteem." The latter should only be a minor component of the former, but social pressures on women to conform to unattainable ideals of beauty reverse the relationship so that how they look physically becomes the primary way by which women judge their total personal worth. The author first looks at how females of all ages view themselves and their bodies. She encourages readers to take inventory of the negative feelings they may have accumulated at various stages in their lives, and she offers practical advice on how women can regain control of their lives and end the harm they do to themselves both physically and emotionally. Females must cultivate strategic awareness of negative self-talk--not only what it is, but when and where it arises--while also nurturing "the inner coach." Not a panacea for all women suffering from poor self-esteem, but Bulik offers hope that freedom from the unrealistic ideals of beauty can be achieved through disciplined self-scrutiny and a will to change damaging ways of thinking and being.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802719997
  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publication date: 12/20/2011
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 266,810
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Cynthia M. Bulik, Ph.D., is the William R. and Jeanne H. Jordan Distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, a professor of nutrition at UNC's Gillings School of Global Public Health, and director of the UNC Eating Disorders Program. She has been featured or quoted in Vogue, Newsweek, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. She is the author of Crave: Why You Binge Eat and How to Stop and the coauthor of Runaway Eating (with Nadine Taylor). Bulik lives in North Carolina.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2012

    A must-read!

    Marrying personal with professional experience, Dr. Bulik brilliantly presents relatable content to all—the 14 year-old transitioning to high school; the mother of two; the grandma in a nursing home; the father of a teenage girl going through puberty; and the therapist helping his/her patient overcome body image and self-esteem issues. You’ll walk away from this book with greater perspective about the pressures faced by women today, and factors involved in women’s tendency to erroneously conflate body esteem with self-esteem.

    With her wit and imaginative genius, Dr. Bulik provides the insight and tools needed to develop body confidence and self-acceptance; improve self-esteem; and realize that each and every one of us has a unique contribution to give to the world. You’ll not only learn how to tackle your own body image demons, but you’ll develop the confidence to successfully raise a self-assured daughter and respectful son, as well as efficiently "climb the ladder" in a male-dominated society. This book is for all—mothers, fathers, teenagers, college students, feminists, non-feminists, middle-aged women, the elderly, and therapists.

    As a psychologist specializing in eating disorders and body image issues, I have already started referencing this book in my work, using Dr. Bulik's analogies and stories to highlight the success of CBT, and assigning readings to stimulate discussion. It has been well-received thus far!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2012

    A little something for everyone

    Dr. Bulik has written a book that applies to…everyone. By chronologically working through every woman’s past and highlighting key moments that shaped their self-esteem and “body-esteem”, Dr. Bulik writes a chapter for every reader. If you have a young daughter who is struggling through the tough middle school years, this book is for you. If you ever remember a family member or close friend making a negative remark about your body shape, this book is for you. If you have noticed that your wife or girlfriend has lower self-esteem now that she has gone through menopause, this book is for you.

    Overall, this book artfully captures what it feels like to both struggle with and love being a woman. Each chapter ends with a brief exercise to personalize the reading experience. For example, at the end of the chapter about women leaving for their “independent years”, Dr. Bulik challenges readers to write down any negative remarks that they remember receiving from friends and family. As a young woman in this phase of my life, I was shocked at how easy it was to think of these examples! In addition, Dr. Bulik does not shy away from providing her own experiences and truly connecting with the readers. Women, this book will help you to be less critical of yourself and others. Men, this book will better help you understand the pressures of being a woman. It is very simple-- for a boost of energy and confidence in the new year, read this book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted April 19, 2012

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    Posted December 7, 2012

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