Social media might be one the biggest barriers in eating disorder treatment and true recovery.
I constantly scroll past people posting photos and status updates about their “body transformations” and how well they are doing with “healthy eating” or their latest attempt at a diet. Recently I was scrolling and came to before and after photos of an acquaintance. The photos of this (already thin) woman were accompanied by a caption talking about her 21 day body transformation, how she has worked her “booty off,” and been eating “healthy” in order to do it–oh and if anyone wanted to do it to ask her how. It was only a few days ago she posted about P90X and T25 as methods to work off her booty. The eating disordered part of my mind immediately jumped in, berating and comparing my body to hers. Playing the dangerous comparison game when there really is no comparison. I have hips, a butt, and yes, a belly. We are built differently, I was never and will never be her size unless I am seriously ill. This realization is something I would not have seen even a few months ago. The counter thought to the comparison is what prompted me to think deeper about her post.
Honestly, these “21 day transformations” are only the latest version of any other fad diet. They are not sustainable. Unless the individual is willing to follow a strict diet and exercise regimen for the remainder of his/her life it will not last. The weight will come back (maybe more) and the toned limbs will lose their taught appearance. It isn’t a sustainable, healthy life style if it requires that much dedication each day. The “transformations” are another “quick-fix” aimed to perpetuate the multi-billion dollar diet industry…and it works. People buy into the diet and exercise routine, giving it 100 percent effort initially but lose steam; only to become dissatisfied with the program and move on to the next fad.
Recently on Facebook I made an announcement to my friends to stop adding me to their “healthy living” groups. At first I was frustrated by the burden of going into the groups to remove myself permanently, while also choosing not to allow anyone to add me again. My eyes, without trying, always managed to catch the titles of the fads such as, “Rich Food, Poor Food” and “Tips on Healthy Eating.” As tempted as my eating disordered brain was to follow the links and see what I could do to lose some weight, I resisted. I countered the temptation by feeling sorry for the people that buy into the diet industry’s empty promises in hopes of feeling better about themselves. I wanted to be blunt and ask, “Are you a dietician? Are you telling me what to do under the guidance of one? No? Okay, then stop bothering me because I already have one and I am learning TRUE balanced eating.” However, I simply made a more polite post and continued to be thankful for my awareness. By having an eating disorder I am learning more about food and “healthy living” than any book the diet industry publishes can promise.
I leave you today with a challenge.
Next time you see a post about a new diet, cleanse, or other product offering a quick-fix body transformation, ask yourself if it is sustainable.
Chances are, it is not.
With Body Love,