Czepczor K., Brytek-Matera A. (2017). Emotional eating. Warsaw: Difin, 258 pages.

The contemporary scientific discourse underlines the particularly relevant role of emotions in shaping one’s habits, attitudes and eating behaviours, as well as their significance for the development of eating disorders, overweight and obesity. In the age of overeating it seems crucial to understand why people eat (or overeat) in response to negative emotions or under their influence.

The book concerns the psychosocial aspect of eating under the influence of emotions. It explains how eating regulates emotions and mood. It proves how important it is for the proper functioning of a human being to experience and deal with one’s emotions, especially in the context of eating. It presents the latest research concerning the emotional eating, as well as the results of our own research.

The first chapter shows in detail the relationship between the eating process and experiencing emotions of particular strength and valence, it also characterises classical theories explaining these interdependencies. The second chapter concerns the notion of physiological hunger, and emotional hunger and eating. It presents the aspect of emotional functioning in individuals exhibiting orthorexic behaviours and with diagnosed muscle dysmorphia. The third chapter describes the significance of the emotional component in anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, while the fourth presents the emotional aspect in binge eating disorder, night eating syndrome and obesity. The following chapters of the book explore the topics linked with nutritional models (chapter five) and emphasise the efficacy of the cognitive-behavioural therapy in treating eating disorders and obesity (chapter six). The last chapter involves the meta-analysis of the presented research with the particular focus on practical implications.

Brytek-Matera A. (ed.). (2010). Body in the contemporary times. Selected aspects of the body image issue. Warsaw: Difin, 263 pages.

For the French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty   c o r p o r a l i t y  is inscribed into the very nature of humanity as, along with psyche and spirituality, it creates an unbreakable unity, while the  b o d y   is a kind of a particular “vehicle of being in the world”. It is a dynamic whole and a condition of any presence. In our culture the body has become omnipresent. More and more often people are perceived, at the expense of their spirituality, through their bodies. The one that diverges from the socially imposed norms depreciates the person – the human being with their dreams, plans, resources.

The excessive focus on one’s own physicality can lead to building or broadening one’s knowledge about their own Self on the basis of the  b o d y   i m a g e. What, on the other hand, can be linked with the conviction that the external appearance mirrors individual’s personality. So, in what degree does the body determine the  s e l f – i m a g e?

The content of ponderings presented in the book concerns the body image, the self image and the corporality. Multidimensional view of the discussed issues allows a broader conceptualisation and understanding, in the psychological aspect, of the questions related to the body and its appearance.

Brytek-Matera A., Rybicka-Klimczyk, A. (2009). Body image in anorexia and bulimia nervosa. Warsaw: Difin, 200 pages.

Individuals with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa refrain from eating (restrictively or compensatively), because, in their opinion, food intake causes mass gain and prevents them from achieving a very much desired, slim silhouette. They give up their own natural needs in order to fulfil the socially and culturally accepted standards – of thinness, beautiful body, corporality.

It is worth considering if striving to achieve the ideal, which is a slim silhouette, is the individual’s own desire or the result of the excessive internalisation of the opinions propagated mostly by the mass media. If the problem of the corporality cult was not so strongly emphasised by the contemporary media, would young girls and women strive to be thin (because of their own desires and not in order to fulfil the needs of other people)? To what ideal do they aspire – their own (resulting from their inner motivation and belief) or the socially approved one (being the result of external motivation and granting the gratification in the form of social acceptance)?

Fear of gaining weight, excessive preoccupation with the shape and mass of the body, unceasing strive to have a slim silhouette and lack of acceptance for the current one, exaggerating the size of one’s own body all lead to perceiving and judging it negatively. The issues examined in the book concern the role of the body image in the mechanism of onset and development of eating disorders. The author has discussed, among others, the factors determining the negative body image, the psychological concepts conditioning eating disorders in the context of the self body image, the process of internalisation of the currently popularised silhouette ideal, the attitudes towards eating, the anorexia readiness syndrome, and the methods of therapeutic work.

Brytek-Matera A. (2008). Body image – self-image. Body image in psychosocial context. Warsaw: Difin, 194 pages.

As Ferry (1996) underlines, the end of the twentieth century was at the same time the beginning of the sacralisation of the body. In the European culture it is the slim body that dominates. Beauty is associated with slimness (which causes a raise in the prejudices against the obese people). It is, in turn, a synonym of moderation, self-control, success and social approval (Grogan, 1999), while obesity is treated as the inability to control oneself and achieving satisfaction, the lack of discipline or even a susceptibility to laziness or gluttony (Sparkes, 1997). Fearing disapproval or even exclusion, women and, more and more often, also men try to fit into contemporary canons.

The body has now become the most important attribute of a woman. A perfect one has got a slender waist, unblemished skin, long legs and a big bosom. The objectification of the body causes the shift of attention from achievements and results to looks and exteriority.

The significance of appearance and body for the psychic functioning of a human being is huge. It is worth considering why some people exhibit such a great dissatisfaction with their silhouette, organising their lives around the excessive preoccupation with it or the diverse attempts at modifying it, while others with a similar body shape, despite the lack of body satisfaction, refrain from doing it and continue to live their lives as they have before. Some persons take the changes in their appearance very emotionally, while others are prone to have a more constant image of the body. There is no doubt that these divergent perspectives are based on mental representation of the body (mental body image) shaped by both intrapsychic and interpersonal experiences.

The image of one’s own body constitutes a crucial element of one’s Self. Thus, what is the interdependence between the self image and self body image? Topics discussed in the book try to answer this question. In her work, the author focuses on the role of the body image in women with eating disorders, people with overweight and obesity, patients with dysmorphic body disorders and muscle dysmorphia, she also analyses the significance of the appearance (and its reception) for both adolescents and adults.