What Is An Image Matter?

The Oxford dictionary defines self image as, “The idea one has of one’s abilities, appearance, and personality.”1

But is appearance is tied to ability and personality?

In a media saturated world—I believe many of us are struggling with an image matter—which I would define as an unhealthy view that one’s own worth, value, and identity being first defined by physical appearance.

But what if you are more?

Studies have shown that image matters are rampant. Many individuals who struggle wrestle with confidence, self-esteem, or negative self-talk. Some individuals pair negative thoughts with harmful behaviors. When those behaviors become habit—this might be defined as an eating disorder.

This does not mean all individuals who struggle with an image matter have an eating disorder.

But if you are one of the 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S.(2), I want you to know you are not alone.

No matter the severity of your behaviors or thought patters, I want you to know my team and I are rooting for you.

The thoughts in your head and heart may be sourced from a legitimately sourced desire, yet allowing an image matter to hold the pen of your story is not your final fate.

I believe you have what it takes to shift the incomplete story of an image matter towards truth and discover an identity which goes beyond image.

What Is An Image Matter? - Video Discussion

What Is An Eating Disorder?

While the three top eating disorders remain Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder there are several, disorders which are recognized by the American Psychiatric Association’s (DSM-5).

Whether common or rare, each of these conditions disrupt the lives of thousands. If you recognize these behaviors, we recommend seeking professional care. helps us to understand the fact each of these issues are about more than food. They state that each of these are “complex mental health conditions that often require the intervention of medical and psychological experts to alter their course.”3 These conditions include:

Anorexia Nervosa

Characterized by restrictive habits in an effort to lose weight along with a misconception of one’s physical appearance, no matter their weight level.

Bulimia Nervosa

Characterized by eating large amounts of food often followed by purging that food from the body.

Binge Eating Disorder

Characterized by eating large amounts of food, without purging behaviors.

Rumination Disorder

Characterized by regurgitation & re-swallowing.

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder

Characterized by purposefully avoiding or restricting food intake.

Purging Disorder

Characterized by purging behaviors without binging.

To learn more about the signs and symptoms, we recommend the following article on and their article found here:

Or visit HelpGuide.Org at

What Is An Eating Disorder? - Video Discussion

How Many Individuals Struggle?

  • 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S.(2)

  • The most common eating disorder in the United States is binge eating disorder (BED). It is estimated that 3.5% of women, 2% of men, and 30% to 40% of those seeking weight loss treatments can be clinically diagnosed with binge eating disorder.4

  • 40-60% of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) are concerned about their weight or about becoming too fat. This concern endures through life.(5)

  • Eating Disorders Clinical and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, says that 40 to 60 percent of high school girls in the U.S. are dieting and 13 percent are purging.(6)

  • 91% of women who were surveyed on a college campus had tried to control their weight by dieting, and 22% of them dieted “often” or all the time. (7)

  • The Butterfly Foundation in Australia reported 40% of people experiencing Binge Eating Disorder are men.8

  • Eating disorders statistics tell us that in order for treatment to be successful, it must be multifaceted. It must include medical care, mental health care, and nutritional education and counseling.9 With treatment, 60% of eating disorder sufferers make a full recovery.9

What Are The Warning Signs?

The National Eating Disorders Association explains the signs and symptoms of several eating disorders in the below video:

Due to the intricate nature of multiple Eatind Disorders, for a listing of warning signs and symptoms, please see:

Additionally, if you or someone you care about are seeking a tool in order to determine if it is time to reach out for professional help, consider utilizing the National Eating Disorder Association’s Screening Tool, available here:

Apps Which Offer Support

TalkLife offers online support similar to group therapy. Share anonymously or with your name.

Moodpath offers 14 days of check ins, providing an overview of your emotional well-being. Plus 100+


Happify includes games and activities which elevate mood and build resilience through CBT, mindfulness and positivity.

What’s Up aids individuals in discovering the cause of feelings and thoughts though guided questioning.

Self-Help For Anxiety Management (SAM) offers an anxiety toolkit which tracks thoughts and behaviors, while also offering tools to combat negativity.

Panic Relief provides coping strategies, exercise, and breathing techniques to help move through a moment of panic.

PTSD Coach provides ways to understand PTSD along with how to find additional help.

BeyondBlue App provides tools to build and implement a safety plan.

Communities Which Offer Support

NEDA’s Network of Support Groups

  • Regionally searchable, local support groups.

To Write Love On Her Arms -

  • Extensive, geographically based options for free or low cost counseling, support groups, therapy options and more. Simply type in your zip code for access to options.

The Butterfly Foundation -

  • Offers online support, education, and relatable stories for men battling eating disorders.

Catalog Of National & International Support

  • Offers a global range of support pages, offering a diversity of resources for common and unique concerns.

Eating Disorder Support Center -

  • Offers community support for individuals who struggle and separate support groups for family members.

NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group

  • Offers peer-led support groups for a range of mental health struggles.

Safety Plan Resources

If you struggle beyond an image matter, and find yourself facing a range of additional struggles, know there are safety plan resources available for those too. Some of these include:

Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Safety Plan Template.

  • 1 page safety plan print off with space to write in warning signs, coping strategies, and more.

Get Self-Help

  • Offers a second safety plan print off, with tools and resources from the UK.

Therapist Aid

  • Offers free worksheets for building a self-harm safety plan, suicide assessment, and warning signs.

Nick’s Experience With Using A Safety Plan

  • One young man’s story of how he uses a safety plan in times which feel challenging.

Resources for Parents

How To Help Someone With An Eating Disorder

What Mia Did Next

  • Mia gives her firsthand advice on what did and did not help her during her recovery process—and how you can support someone you care for.

Promoting Health Body Image In Your Children

  • Offers ways to influence your child’s body image in a positive way, along with what signs to look for if you are concerned for your child.

Guys Get Eating Disorders Too

  • Provides education on how image matters present themselves for males—along with firsthand accounts.

5 Signs Your Teen Might Have An Eating Disorder

Mayo Clinic

  • Offers 5 signals to look for—in under a minute.

How I Survived Anorexia

BBC Three

  • Jodie, her mom, and her friend discuss Jodie’s struggle and recovery from Anorexia—including how Jodie felt split into two person, and then learned how to be whole.

National Eating Disorder Association Screening Tool

  • NEDA’s website states this tool is, “appropriate for ages 13 and up — can help determine if it’s time to seek professional help.”

Warning Signs And Symptoms: National Eating Disorders Association

  • Explains the signs and symptoms of several eating disorders.

What’s Eating You? A Workbook for Teens with Anorexia, Bulimia, And Other Eating Disorders by Tammy Nelson PhD

  • Provides insight combined with short, actionable prompts to build a circle of support, tools, and healing resources.

What Is My Identity? Sadie Robertson

  • Sadie asks three questions to viewers to help them form the foundation of their identity, with a faith-based point of view.

Support For Families

NEDA’s Network Of Support Groups

  • Regionally searchable, local support groups.

The National Alliance On Mental Illness has a directory of support groups for you and your family.

The Society For Adolescent Heath And Medicine has a comprehensive listing of additional support options.

Family Caregiver Alliance provides a map of network help in your area.

Resources For Ministry Leaders

The Truth About Eating Disorders

Focus On The Family

  • Offers a comprehensive overview of firsthand accounts of survivors and their families. Includes Scripture and advice to move towards recovery.

6 Biblical Counseling Resources On Eating Disorders

  • A list of 6 books which offer educational insight and encouragement for those who struggle and those who care for them.

Combating Eating Disorders With The Gospel Of Grace

  • One woman’s story—and her discovery that grace and the Gospel offered the freedom she was searching for.

An Open Letter To Those Who Struggle—From A Preacher’s Kid Who Struggled

  • An honest account of wrestling between an eating disorder and finding faith. Includes specific Scripture which sparked the shift in the author, along with 5 keys for those who struggle today.

Deadly Eating Disorders: What Youth Leaders Need To Know

  • An overview of Eating Disorder Warning Signs and what you can do to be there for students.

Women’s Ministry Toolbox

  • Provides a collection of resources for faith communities seeking to minister to girls and women who struggle with eating disorders.

Project Light Ministries

  • Offers a sisterhood of community support for women who struggle.

How to Build Education, Understanding & Community Around Someone Who Is Struggling Life.Church

  • Offers a roundtable discussion of how to be supportive of someone who struggles.

Tips For Students – How To Talk About Mental Health

  • Includes several prompts which help students get started with beginning an important conversation, including a letter template. Can be utilized as a means for helping young people frame the discussion.

Resources For Teachers

What’s Eating You? A Workbook for Teens with Anorexia, Bulimia, And Other Eating Disorders by Tammy Nelson PhD

  • Provides insight combined with short, actionable prompts to build a circle of support, tools, and healing resources.

Tips For Talking About Your Mental Health

  • Includes several prompts which help students get started with beginning an important conversation, including a letter template. Can be utilized as a means for helping young people frame the discussion.

Resources For Men