Have you ever questioned if social media is subconsciously expanding your thought patterns, behaviours and beliefs in a positive and/or negative way?
Social media provides us with the ability to connect with those who live away from us, keep up to date with news of the world, and provide us with a sense of connection and inspiration. It has changed the way we communicate.
On the other side of this, however, there can be many rabbit holes in the world of social media that lead you down a path that does not align with your recovery.
How does the platform decide what we see?
Social media works off an algorithm that will show you, what you are actively searching for. If you have ever searched for something related to weight, exercise, eating, or even healthy recipes, then social media is programmed to show you more content relating to these topics. This can be challenging in recovery as this content is often quite disordered.
Content that may seem harmless yet is harmful includes:
What I eat in a day
This trend is a popular one, but unfortunately can be a cue for disordered eating behaviours for someone who is susceptible to or battling an eating disorder, or who is currently in recovery. Eating disorders can be competitive and comparative. Using these posts as a basis for your own nutritional needs can lead to a disconnect of your internal cues, undernutrition, creation of food rules (e.g. good and bad foods) and potentially unpleasant emotions such as stress, to highlight a few. If you are unsure as to whether you are nourishing your body adequately, reach out to our eating disorder Dietitians.
Gentle thought: If we all nourished our body the same way, we would all still have our unique body shape and size.
Before and After pictures
A post is often used to ‘highlight’ changes that have occurred by following a set plan. These posts are particularly unhelpful as they reinforce the idea that our bodies must look a certain way to be desirable or good. These posts do not share things like how a person’s body may be responding (e.g. fatigue, low mood, irregular bowel movements), the lighting used, change of camera angle or positioning of the body.
Swapping foods for ‘healthier’ versions can lead to the labelling of foods and the creation of food rules. This can make eating stressful and exacerbate feelings of guilt when eating foods that are deemed less healthy. It can be helpful to take a step back and question ‘what are they portraying as healthy?’. A lot of the time, social media promotes healthy to be low calorie, which does not take into account the macro and micronutrients of foods and how they will benefit both our mental and physical health.
Creating a more helpful feed. Where to start?
Exposure to a variety of content on your feed can be helpful to broaden interest areas,
- Follow content beyond food and exercise, focusing on other hobbies or interests that make you happy e.g., travel, landscapes, language, animals
- Remind yourself that social media is a highlight reel – it does not show you the bloopers
- Diversify the range of body shapes, sizes, and cultures on your feed
- Switch off and look up – Take active breaks from social media to focus on the present moment
If you would like support and to explore this topic further reach out to us as we can offer both in person or online appointments with one of our team of clinicians. We can be best contacted on (02)43623443 or visit the contact page.