How Social Media is Normalizing Disordered Eating Behaviours

From before and after shots, to tips for building your own fat loss meal, social media is normalizing disordered eating behaviours.  While I’m sure the authors of these accounts are well meaning, many are encouraging behaviours that create an unhealthy relationship with food that is then seen as “normal” for followers. Read on for 4 unhealthy eating behaviours to look out for:

1. Classifying food as “good” versus “bad”:

Spoiler alert: There is no one food that is the secret to good health or another food that is going to be detrimental to your health. It’s about the overall balance of your diet. Completely eliminating a food or group of foods over fear that it is going to “make you fat” or “unhealthy” is not normal eating behaviour. You have no reason to feel guilty after eating a “bad” food.

2. Overly focusing on calories:

You know the accounts that I’m talking about. The ones that post the calorie information and if you’re lucky, the macros of various food options. While this might be insightful, if this is the only factor that is influencing your food decisions, then it is not healthy. It’s important to be satisfied and enjoy the food that you eat, even if a social media account told you that it has too many calories. If you feel like eating ice cream, then have ice cream rather than saving “x” number of calories by having yogurt instead.

3. Encouraging not listening to your body:

Our bodies are truly the best at knowing what they need. An account giving advice on “natural appetite suppressants” or “foods to reduce hunger” should probably be unfollowed. If you feel hungry, there is a reason and that reason is a need for energy. You don’t need to try to suppress this hunger with some magic fix. The solution is simple: eat some food.  

4. Overly focusing on body shape:

Believe it our not, health is influenced by so much more than your weight. Accounts that are only focused on losing body fat or gaining muscle mass make body size look like the ultimate health goal. Being only concerned about body size and not the outcomes of lifestyle change is not a healthy behaviour. Rather than focusing just on weight, look at more insightful outcomes of your health like your energy levels or improvements in lab values.

My main advice: be careful who you follow. Whether we would like to think it or not, we are all influenced by social media. Social media not only normalizes disordered behaviours, but also causes constant comparison. We compare how our bodies look to the posted images, other people’s exercise routines to our own, and the food choices of others to what we are eating. Fill your social media feeds with those that make you feel good about yourself and encourage healthy eating behaviours.

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2018-07-29T19:07:46+00:00 July 31st, 2018|

About the Author:

Learn to fuel your health and performance with Megan Kuikman, Registered Dietitian. Megan provides professional nutrition advice that you can trust. To work with Megan, call: 519-802-9445 or e-mail megankuikmanRD@gmail.com.