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Positive body image comes from a gut feeling

Paying greater attention to internal bodily sensations can increase our appreciation of our own physical bodies, says a study published in Body Image (July) in the UK. The study led by Jennifer Todd, a doctoral student at Anglia Ruskin University, UK, studied ‘gastric interoception’ i.e, feelings of hunger or bloating that originate in the gut. The researchers studied 191 adult subjects in the UK and Malaysia.

Researchers measured the quantity of water consumed in relation to stomach capacity, and the sensations and experiences of the adults during the experiment. The subjects were also asked to complete questionnaires examining different aspects of body image, such as appreciation of the body and appreciation of its functionality.

The study concluded that a greater change in the intensity of feelings in the gut after consuming water i.e ‘feeling full’ was associated with significantly higher levels of appreciation of the body and its functionality

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