One of the best instruments for communication, social media has transformed how we interact with one another. Social media used nowadays may cause eating disorders. We can interact and communicate with anybody, anywhere, using the social media platform, whether we upload a picture, send a tweet, or change our status. Depending on how much or how little we want, our lives can be fully exposed. It can also cause havoc for someone with an eating disorder and be even more harmful to those who are recovering. Social media can have a big impact on those who are prone to eating-disordered behaviours, anxiety, and depression, even if it is often not the only factor in the development of an eating disorder.
Recent research on women between the ages of 18 and 25 found a connection between Instagram and greater self-objectification and body image problems, particularly among those who frequently viewed fitspiration photographs, according to the NEDA. Americans are potentially exposed to unattainable beauty standards, diet discourse, body shaming, thinspiration, weight loss messages, and more throughout their two hours per day on social media. Another study of social media users revealed an association between increased Instagram use and a higher prevalence of orthorexia Nervosa symptoms, illuminating the impact of social media on psychological health.
Social media is used to share everything and has developed into a powerful instrument for influencing people and elevating the significance of having the ideal body and appearance in a number of important ways.
Body Objectification: Social media images, many of which have been manipulated, play a part in how people seek approval, frequently judging their value by the number of “likes” and comments they receive. I’ve worked with people who utilised this to determine whether or not they would eat that day. Social media selfies have the ability to convey the message that our appearance dictates our worth and our body—a message that many people struggling with eating disorders find difficult to accept.
Comparison: The very structure of social media encourages it, as we frequently assess our own lives against the success and pleasure highlight reels of others. As individuals compare their body image to those they see on social media, this can be harmful to someone who is struggling with an eating disorder. As I mentioned before, these photographs are frequently edited and present an idealised version of how we believe we should appear.
Social media provides eating disordered habits with triggers for those in recovery. These triggers frequently appear in posts on dieting, exercise routines, and about unrealistic ideals of body size, according to my personal experience and that of the women I’ve treated. For instance, several uploads of before and after weight reduction images may make people feel the need to lose weight using any means possible.
Consider the nature of social media and see manipulated, flawless photographs for what they are. Be warned that some of the stuff you see may be fake and that folks who post may be hiding their problems behind smoke and mirrors. Protecting oneself from the negative of social media and valuing yourself for who you are.
Take care who you follow. Following the correct diet and fitness blogs and pages can be inspiring, but make sure you do so.
Be free to unfollow me if you want. Unfollow such users or pages if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed because you can’t live up to their expectations on social media. Do not hesitate to unfollow those who are detrimental to your physical or emotional well-being.
Social Media Usage Positively
Social media can be harmful, but it also gives us a platform to push for change. Social media can be changed from a toxic, upsetting environment to one that promotes learning, support, and encouragement. There are more and more online campaigns and responses to sexism and body shaming. Simply posting an encouraging remark about body image, a blog that focuses on recovery, or an article about eating disorder education on social media can help those with eating disorders feel more connected to the community.
People are starting to act to modify the dialogues on social media as the world is changing. #NEDAselfie is one hashtag that is trending. Selfies without filters are being posted online along with a comment describing what makes the person feel comfortable in their own skin. #WomenEatingFood is another hashtag that is changing how women view their bodies and themselves. This idea was developed by a body coach and certified dietitian to assist start the discussion about women eating genuine food without it being classified as “good” or “bad” food. Women can consume any meal without facing judgement or comments about their appearance.
It’s crucial to exercise caution when it comes to what we read, view, and allow our minds to process on social media. Feeling good about one’s physique is something that is simple to say, but for many people, it is difficult to achieve when social media presents an unrealistic image. Remember that you are worthwhile and take the time to enjoy everything about you, despite what a post may be trying to tell you.