There was a time my eating disorder decided we should follow a bunch of weight-loss social media influencers. “We could always use some extra weight-loss motivation,” my eating disorder told me.
“Fair enough,” I responded, taking out my phone and following multiple hashtags relating to weight-loss. Throughout the coming months and years, I became a loyal follower of multiple weight-loss influencers and hashtags. I also became obsessed with weight-loss videos on YouTube.
In the back of my head, I knew following these influencers wasn’t healthy for me. While I believe they can be inspiring and motivational to those with a healthy mindset looking to lose a few extra pounds, they were terribly damaging to me. They were putting me in a dark head space and focusing my mind on disordered thoughts. Unfortunately, my eating disorder was almost always way louder than my voice of reason.
ED vs. Reason
“Look at those before and after pictures,” it would tell me as I scrolled through my Instagram feed. “You could look like that if you just exercised more and ate less.”
“I’m already hungry all the time,” I would tell me eating disorder.
“Yeah, but you’re also fat,” it would point out.
“True…” I would answer, deflated.
This past summer, I was sitting with my boyfriend, mindlessly scrolling through my feed. My boyfriend glanced over my shoulder and said, “You know, you really shouldn’t be following those people. It’s not good for you.”
“Tell him ‘They’re just encouraging people to be healthy,'” whispered my eating disorder.
“They’re just encouraging people to be healthy,” I told my boyfriend.
“You know it’s not good for you to look at those things.”
Of course I knew he was right. I gave him my phone and watched as he unfollowed all my weight-loss hashtags and triggering influencers. My eating disorder almost fell to the floor in shock. “What will ever motivate you to lose weight now??” It cried. I was scared, but I knew this was the truly healthy decision. Since that day, I’ve tried hard to censor the media I consume. I’m definitely not perfect and I still fall into the habit of looking up videos or posts that encourage my eating disorder behaviors.
Here’s a confession: Recently I have fallen into the habit of listening to this one YouTuber read weight-loss advice from Reddit before bed. The unemotional tone of his voice eventually lulls me to sleep, but not after filling my mind with dozens of weight-loss tips and advice. I know this is unhealthy for me and not conducive to recovery, but it’s so hard to break these habits! But I haven’t given up.
Social media can be both a positive and negative force. I encourage you to take a few minutes to think about the content you allow to influence you on a daily basis. This could be hashtags or social media influencers, Youtubers, or something/someone else. Maybe it’s time to commit to a final purge—a purge of negative and toxic influences. If you need extra motivation to make that final purge, talk to a close friend or loved one and give them full permission to delete any negative influences on your device. It’s hard, I know—I’m right there with you! But keep your head up, beautiful! You’ve got this.
Also, if you want an encouraging social media account to follow, check out my ED Heal Facebook page.
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