Eating disorders affect around 1.25 million people in the UK and unfortunately this number is rising everyday. This year for eating disorder awareness week rather than giving tips and advice, I wanted to write in a more formal manner about my thoughts on eating disorders (ED’s) and why they are on the rise.
As you know on this blog page, I am extremely passionate when it comes to talking about ED’s and it’s something I continue to educate myself about. As much as it may just seem like an issue with food to some people, ED’s result in death more than any other mental illness in the world.
As much as ED’s are not necessarily caused by one single external factor, I believe that the factors we are creating in society today are fuelling these disorders even more.
The culprit, AKA, Social media-
As much as I love social media and think it’s an amazing asset to the modern world, it is so damaging to people’s minds and perceptions. Filters, angles, lighting, photoshop, the list is endless. All of these things listed create a misconception. Under one lighting you may have cellulite, yet under another lighting it disappears. Which one are you going to pick for social media? Of course the one in which you look better. But over time this choice of lighting turns to slight editing, more filters and before you know it you are trapped in the cycle of “Instagrammable photos”. We are victims of it all.
A good example of this is the new update on the iPhone. As you can see below. The first picture is one I took on my camera, unedited. My OWN iphone has suggested that I change it to this in the second photo👇🏻clear skin, brighter eyes, more “flawless”.🙄Even my phone is suggesting I should just “edit” as few things. And this is where the cycle begins. Social media makes us believe we need to change.
As a child I remember Instagram being a really nice platform. I would be able to stay in contact with other kids id met on holiday, I could post photos of me and my friends out at the weekend and I could post silly quotes about being heartbroken when I’d not even had a boyfriend yet (lol). But over time it evolved. People don’t post memories anymore. People post photos that they know will get likes. Photos of themselves in a bikini because a photo with their boyfriend won’t get as many likes. This is the world we live in. People now create fake lives online, posting only the good days and only the good angles, basing their worth off how many likes they receive.
With all of this comes comparison. Why don’t I look like her in a bikini? Why don’t I have as big muscles as him? How do they afford all these luxury holidays when I can’t afford food this week? We have created a monster. Comparison and unrealistic realities lead to self doubt, a knock in confidence and worst of all a misconception of what life, your body and relationships should look like.
Now I’m sitting here writing all this and I know that all of these things have affected me before. But right now I feel like they don’t bother me, and this might be the case for you. But without even realising…every click, every scroll and every image will be acknowledged subconsciously and can affect you without even realising.
Social media has led us to question our own bodies and has given us unrealistic standards of beauty.
YouTube is one of my favourite platforms. I think it can be so positive and informative and it gets me through a lot of bad days. Some YouTube creators create content which is perfect for recovery. However in more recent years it seems to be more “food” based than ever. I’m not saying this is a bad thing at all, I think it’s great that creators show how to have a positive relationship with food and it often really helps me, however it still needs to be addressed as a possible trigger point. In lockdown a lot of us spent time watching YouTube, I know I did, and it seemed the majority of these were food based. “The 10,000 calorie challenge”, “what I eat in a day”, “eating like a Victoria’s Secret model”, the list is endless. It seems YouTube and tik tok trends are hugely food based and unfortunately this is bound to have some sort of affect on its young viewers today.
We are in 2022 yet we still haven’t moved away from diet culture. Britain is obsessed with new fad diets and what you can and can’t eat each week. We also haven’t moved away from eyeballing celebrities for weight change. We all know that as soon as someone gains 10 pounds it straight in hello magazine…yes even in this modern day!! One prime example was when Adele lost loads of weight. Papers, magazines and social media were more interested in her weight loss than the new music she had released. The photo shown on the right went viral, everyone wanting to know how to lose weight like Adele and everyone became obsessed with her “transformation”. The truth is, she was always beautiful, and her music is what should be making the papers, not how much weight she lost.
I know that there’s a lot of factors can lead to an eating disorder and not one factor is solely responsible, but I do personally feel today’s society is making the situation worse. Please just remind yourself that social media is not always real. It’s important to take breaks from the world sometimes and realise what really matters. Love yourself a little extra, speak positively to yourself and speak positively to those around you. Be mindful of what you post and be mindful of what is good for your soul and what isn’t. If anyone needs support for an eating disorder, here is a useful helpline that you can contact🥰-
BEAT eating disorders- 0808 801 0677
I also just want to make people aware of the signs of symptoms of an eating disorder-
Signs can also include-
-Feeling guilty after eating
-Obsession with weight- whether that’s yours or other people’s
– Feeling like you have to “earn” your food
– Obsessive calorie counting
– Starvation/ Binging
– Avoiding certain “bad” foods
– Anxiety around food
– Anxiety about eating in front of others
Remember it doesn’t matter what weight you are or how “ill” you feel. Everyone deserves to recover from an eating disorder and you are just as worthy as everyone else. I send my love to anyone struggling…the world is tough out there but you are tougher. Fuel your body and take on the world. Thanks so much for reading, love to you all.❤️