London: Tactics like mirror-fasting, a new trend that has seen women around the world turning their backs on mirrors, might be useful for some people but are by no means a cure for low self esteem, experts say.

According to Christine Morgan from the Butterfly Foundation, an organisation that supports people dealing with eating disorders and negative body image, mirror-checking is more of a symptom than a cause when it comes to negative body image.

"If people are trying to change their size or shape, they will be using a mirror to check on how that is going," quoted her as saying.

"Mirror fasting may take the focus off appearance for some people, but the problem starts in the head," she said.

Morgan says negative body image is not about what you look like, it's about how you feel about what you look like.

"It's about transitioning to a place where your value as a person isn't tied to what you look like, your size or shape," she said.

"Mirror-fasting is extreme and by itself is nowhere near a solution. It's not a substitute for what is causing you to feel this way in the first place," Morgan said.

Kylie Stevenson, who went on a week without a mirror, shared her personal experience. "I don't consider myself a vain person, though I am certainly within the 50 percent of women who won't leave the house without giving my appearance a close inspection in the mirror," Stevenson said.

"I've also had several travel experiences where mirrors haven't been available, so I thought giving up mirrors for a week would be a cinch.

"Wrong. The majority of my everyday mirror use is practical - to check I don''t have food in my teeth or other embarrassing problems. Suddenly I was left wondering all the time if I had something on my face or if my bra was inappropriately showing.

"There were also a lot of no-go zones. Make-up was best avoided - too tricky to apply without assistance. Shopping was also out because I couldn't check how things fit. The rear-vision mirror in the car was a daily temptation.

"I can see how the idea of mirror-fasting could be liberating, but I found that even if I wasn't checking out my appearance, I was thinking about it a lot more than usual.

"I managed to keep mirror interactions to a minimum, but unable to take a quick glance in the glass to satisfy myself that I looked okay, I was constantly concerned that I didn't.

"This experiment did highlight some vanities I indulge in, such as glancing over a friend's shoulder into a window to check my hair or lingering in the bathroom at work to readjust my outfit.

"But I'm still not about to relinquish reflections altogether.”Quite simply, life is much easier and less worrisome with mirrors," she added.


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