Women’s Experiences of Dieting and Eating Habits: A Phenomenological Investigation
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The qualitative research study looked at the effect of societal factors on women’s dieting patterns and body image. The aim was to determine what role the media, individual and family factors played in influencing women’s perception of their bodies and their attitude towards dieting. Five women were interviewed and asked about their experiences of dieting. The resulting data was analyzed qualitatively using thematic analysis. The themes that emanated from the data were: sources of dieting information and motivation, inadequate perception of self and need for improvement, obsessive and excessive eating patterns, feelings of guilt and failure, relationships with others, and unrealistic portrayal of women in society. The results suggest that while the media does influence body perception, other factors such as relationships with partners or friends are also important factors that influence dietary choices and body perception.