Most of us think of Instagram as a place to scope pretty home pics or beauty inspo. Would you be surprised to learn IG has a growing eating disorder recovery community? A group of girls are kicking their EDs to the curb with the help of social media.
Guess social media doesn’t have to equal body shame. Instagram actually has a huge network of girls (and some guys) using it to support their recovery from eating disorders.
Approximately 10 million women and 1 million men in the U.S. have eating disorders. Now experts believe even healthy diet and exercise tactics can grow out of control, a condition called orthorexia. Hospitalization, therapy, and nutrition counseling have been traditional means of addressing eating disorder recovery.
No doubt, social media can fuel major body guilt. With the flood of pics of ultra thin, super fit people to look at, it’s easy to begin feeling like you don’t match up. But social media as a support tool for those working to recover from EDs? You betcha.
Yes, there is plenty of pro ana (promotion of anorexia) and “thinspiration” material available on social media. On the flip side, Instagram has a large self recovery network of girls working to get healthy. Most users post images of what they are eating or collage images of what they’ve had for the day. Some accounts are private to protect identities or stave off haters, but many girls post pics of their changing (for the better) bodies as inspiration and to keep a diary, of sorts.
This type of self help community not only holds users accountable to themselves and creates a safe atmosphere for sharing, but has initiated many real life friendships. These girls are meeting others going through the same things as themselves, in similar or different stages of recovery. They can help and be helped.
Some experts worry this is still a form of food obsession. Posting images of junk food, obsessive calorie counting, and exercise pics could be a slippery slope for those dealing with an eating disorder. But women like @amalielee, who has openly documented her recovery from anorexia, feel IG is hugely beneficial in getting healthy.
Runways featuring healthier looking models (Gigi Hadid just announced she ate 52 burgers last year!) and social media becoming a platform for ED recovery? We may be on the right track.
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Image of girl taking picture of food via Shutterstock