Social Media and Eating Behaviors
By: Abby Emmert & Gabrielle Morreale
Alright, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. If you have a Facebook, Instagram, or Tiktok, you have probably noticed that these platforms have a lot of content on diet culture, recipes, unsolicited diet advice, and eating behaviors. Even if this isn’t something you go to these platforms for, you’re consuming that content every time you see it! Eventually, the messages you think you are just scrolling past start to seep in, and perhaps you find yourself thinking differently about that bagel you used to freely eat, or that ice cream you shared with your family at night.
But girl, I promise this isn’t your fault. A lot of our society depends on selling products, or beliefs, by providing us false information. These companies, cultures, or systems in diet culture make it seem as though they know better than us. That they have this hidden gem of a secret that will forever change our lives and make us better. They promise the “perfect body”, or my favorite: the beach body. As if your body has to look a certain way to be allowed at the beach. *eye roll* All bodies belong at the beach! Ugh, anyways…
News Flash Ladies….WE DO KNOW BETTER!!! We don’t actually need these fake messages, or this company’s laxative tea, or magic pill. At some point you were a baby that cried when you were hungry, stopped eating when you were full, spit out food you didn’t like, or asked for more because you just loved it that much. That natural instinct to listen to your body and feed it the way it needs to be has always been inside of you. Somewhere along the way, you were fed information that made you stop trusting your body. It was never your fault, the wounds you have; but now you have a choice what you want to do about it!
So let’s start with a cleanse! And the only cleanse I support...one of social media! Cleanse your content of anything that promotes diet culture. This would be companies selling the secret potion, message, or product that is supposed to “change your life”. I promise, if the product were really able to do that, they wouldn’t need to sell their stuff on social media. Cleanse your social media of any person that makes you feel less than. The comparison game is for another conversation, but if you have been comparing yourself to that girl that works out 5 times a week and drinks juice all day long, that energy is not getting you closer to healing these wounds. So ditch it! Finally, my favorite recommendation of all: look for accounts and people that show bodies similar AND different than yours! This is important, because you have most likely been seeing only a small fraction of the population, which are thin, white females with blonde hair and perfect skin. These women are beautiful, but they are not the ONLY beautiful women out there. There are so many other qualities, bodies, races, and identities that deserve this space! Find women then celebrate bodies that look like yours, so you can start to see that THIS IS OKAY! And then look for bodies that are different from yours, so you can start to challenge the messages you have been sold that say beautiful bodies look one way. Also lets take it one step further and lets also follow some accounts that align with your values...I know I'm talking crazy but social media can be used for good. There are so many different types of accounts out there after you expand who you are viewing. The next step is to find accounts that express your values. Please remember you are so much more than what you look like. Your body is the least interesting about you. Lets try tapping in to finding posts and accounts that reflect who you are and what you stand for. This won’t happen overnight. But the important message here is that when you consume every time you look at your phone or social media does make an impact only on our mental health. We don’t want you to ditch social media, we just want you to learn to be a conscious consumer of the messages you see, and know it's OK to ditch the content that doesn’t make you happy!