Best dating eating disorder recovery instagrams

best dating eating disorder recovery instagrams

More than any other social media platform, Instagram is food-obsessed. Movements such as ‘clean eating’ and veganism have Instagram to thank for their popularity over the last few years. As does the #recovery community. The images and accounts that populate the ‘recovery’ hashtag are primarily teenage girls, all – supposedly – in recovery from eating disorders. In reality, many of these accounts are alarmingly fixated on food and exercise, the young users behind them relying on validation from followers as unwell as they are. No specifics. When I attended my first group therapy session for peo .

best dating eating disorder recovery instagrams

Drake Coleman sat in his family’s hotel room, weighing the small plate of meat and vegetables he would eat for dinner on the scale he’d packed for vacation. While the rest of his family was out to dinner together, the 18-year-old sat and ate alone, listening to podcasts about the ketogenic and paleo diets.

He was on a ski trip with his family, but Coleman barely skied at all — his body wouldn’t allow it. “I would go up on the mountain and I would feel way too cold and have to come back down, because my body temperature was so low,” he said. Every morning of the vacation he would wake up, weigh himself, run 10 miles in the hotel gym, have a small carbohydrate-free, sugar-free, gluten-free and dairy-free breakfast, and attempt to hit the slopes. He’d end his days alone, eating in the hotel room.

It was on this trip that Coleman realized his disordered eating had gotten out of control. When he returned home to Texas, he sought professional help and was diagnosed with an eating disorder called . People with orthorexia are overly concerned with whether their food is “pure,” “healthy” and “clean” enough, and often restrict their diet to a small number of “safe” foods.

Those foods tend to be fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and little else. While anorexia is an obsession with controlling the amount of food consumed, orthorexia is an obsession with controlling the quality of food consumed.

The disorder is thought to have a close connection to . Many people, like Coleman, are believed to experience both anorexia and orthorexia concurrently. Orthorexia has yet to be officially recognized as a disorder separate from anorexia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

That is at least partially due to the about orthorexia the last time the DSM was updated. Though it’s not an officially diagnosable condition, many psychologists and dietitians believe that and should be treated as such.

The eating disorder treatment facility that Coleman attends even publicizes its special programs for orthorexics. Although the word orthorexia isn’t as familiar as anorexia or bulimia, the imagery associated with the condition is pervasive. Orthorexia thrives on Instagram. When a person posts endless photos of elaborate smoothie bowls, salads and abdominal muscles, this could be a sign that they’re experiencing a real problem. Some argue that Instagram may of comparison and obsession for people prone to eating disorders.

The study’s authors suggest three main reasons that Instagram use is linked to symptoms of orthorexia. First, the authors say that Instagram’s image-based platform plays into the , a psychological phenomenon meaning people are more likely to remember images than words. Second, they say individuals curate their personal feeds with accounts they’re interested in.

Finally, Instagram celebrities with lots of followers are seen as experts, even if they have little to no qualifications to tell someone what they should or shouldn’t be eating. Social media has transformed the way people judge how they eat and what they weigh. “It used to be that people weigh themselves on a scale,” Sondra Kronberg, founder of the National Eating Disorder Association, said. Now people are more concerned about how they appear to others on social media, Kronberg explained.

Due to the constant flow of images on sites like Instagram, people are comparing their bodies to older photos of themselves as well as photos of other people. Coleman said he initially fell down the rabbit hole of “wellness” Instagram by following a man named , a proponent of the ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet (known as “keto”) advises its followers to cut out all carbohydrates and stock up on fats and protein with the promise of weight loss.

It’s essentially the that was popular in the 1990s. Like all highly restrictive diets, keto is difficult to stick with and doesn’t seem to have many . The dangerous journey into “wellness” Instagram Coleman made a separate Instagram account called DailyMetamorphosis just to follow people like Dr. Axe and to share his own health journey. Posts from that page can be found throughout this story. He posted photos of his extremely low-calorie meals, his body composition and his workout routines.

He was using hashtags like #keto, #primal, #paleo, #glutenfree, #fasting, #lowcarb, #antiaging and #fatloss. Coleman’s Instagram feed at the time was filled with “pictures of beautiful food that had been curated and designed and perfectly plated,” he said. “There’s no way that what I was eating could have gotten anywhere close to how pretty that was … because it’s not real.” He said it made him jealous to see all these Instagram influencers posting their smoothie bowls and fancy salads.

He was spending a lot of time crafting his own beautiful meals, but they were never as photogenic as the ones he saw other people post.

A photo posted by (@) on On a platform like Instagram, “It’s hard to get a good picture of what’s real, what’s staged, and what’s healthy and what’s not,” Kelly Boaz, a holistic nutritionist specializing in eating disorders, said. “Yeah, that plate of vegetables looks good, but if that’s all you’re eating in a day, that’s problematic,” she said. More than anything, though, Coleman said scrolling through his Instagram feed made him hungry.

“I was drawn to using Instagram as a way to experience food when I wasn’t eating it,” Coleman said. “I think most people who are so obsessed with food that they have to follow all of these Instagram accounts ... are probably hungry.” He said that he believes his body was sending him signals, telling him to look at food constantly because he wasn’t eating enough.

Besides the hunger he was trying to combat, he was also using Instagram to find validation from the people he saw living what he thought were perfect lives.

“I was drawn to using Instagram as a way to experience food when I wasn’t eating it.” “I’d lost a lot of social connections in that season of my life, when I was having to be restrictive around food,” Coleman said.

“So I guess I was looking for that online through my food, without realizing that what I was really searching for was connection and relationships and not this perfect plate.” The other side of Instagram — recovery communities Since going into treatment, Coleman says that his approach to Instagram has changed significantly.

On Jan. 24, he posted a photo of himself holding a milkshake. The next day he took a hammer and smashed his scale. He posted a photo of the destroyed scale on his page, announcing that he had met with an eating-disorder specialist and a dietician. He gave up all the #paleo and #lowcarb hashtags and switched to #orthorexiarecovery, #bodypositive and #intuitiveeating.

To give a sense of scale: there are more than 60,000 posts on Instagram tagged #orthorexiarecovery and 121,000 posts tagged #orthorexia. “Reaching out and creating this community, and even just a food and body-positive bubble for yourself can actually really be helpful in helping you feel like there’s other people who are fighting this, and other people who have fought it, and who I can find hope and reassurance from,” Emily Fonnesbeck, a registered dietician, said.

“You get to decide what media you take in ... If you’re following something that is making you feel anxious, or causing unfair comparisons or unrealistic expectations, it’s probably best to unfollow it.” Some popular hashtags in the eating disorder recovery space include #edrecovery, #prorecovery, #antidiet and #losehatenotweight.

A photo posted by (@) on The eating disorder recovery community on social media “makes recovery accessible to everyone,” Boaz said. “There’s lots of opportunities to connect with people who are doing their damnedest to challenge what’s going on in the mainstream culture around food.” Coleman hopes his account will help his followers in their recovery journeys, and sees his Instagram page as the first step to getting involved in the eating disorder recovery community professionally.

“My long-term goal would be to create resources and materials as well as have a private practice, to help people balance the important things in life like food, faith and community in a way that is empowering and leads to health — mind, body and spirit,” he said.


best dating eating disorder recovery instagrams

best dating eating disorder recovery instagrams - Women Are Using Instagram To Document Eating Disorder Recovery


best dating eating disorder recovery instagrams

When you picture someone with an eating disorder, who do you picture? As a researcher and PhD candidate in family relations and human development, I have asked this question of audiences ranging from high school students to community groups to tenured professors, and the answer remains largely the same: a thin, young, white, privileged, heterosexual, cisgender woman.

Despite accumulating evidence that eating disorders can impact anyone, eating disorders continue to be presented – in the media, in public discourse, in doctors’ surgeries and even in much of the research literature – in stereotypical ways. During Eating Disorder Awareness Week in Canada last week, the campaign used a theme of “One size does NOT fit all,” to emphasise the diversity of people who suffer from eating disorders. The #7BillionSizes campaign led by the National Eating Disorder Information Centre, asks for large-scale change in the conversations we have about eating disorders.

Such social media campaigns can help to reduce the significant shame and stigma associated with experiencing a mental illness, particularly one so often framed as “a thin white woman’s disease”. But how do people with eating disorders represent themselves on social media? Do online communities provide valuable space for supportive community, or do they reinforce the stereotypes of our wider discourse? Marginalised bodies in a slimming world Much of my research has focused on representations of eating disorders, and the impact they have on those attempting to recover.

People in recovery often struggle to find their footing in a world that is fixated on slimming. Often, they engage in eating and exercise patterns that feel profoundly “counter-cultural” – eating a piece of cake for therapeutic reasons may sound amazing to someone without an eating disorder, but can be incredibly difficult for someone in recovery, particularly when they are not visibly ill.

People in large bodies, people of colour, people of different genders, people with disabilities, and others who are socially marginalised do not often find themselves in the picture of “the person with the eating disorder”, let alone “the recovered person”. They often face double or triple stigma, living in bodies that are not made welcome in a society with narrow standards.

Their bodies are subject to increased scrutiny, which can compound the challenges of recovery. Individuals may feel reduced to their eating disorders – forever marked, in the eyes of the public and health professionals, by distressing relationships with food.

Recovering on Instagram Seeking alternatives, people often express their own recoveries on social media. By establishing recovery communities online, they may find a space that does not exist elsewhere – a community to support the process of acting counter-cultural.

But, do these communities simply serve as another metric against which people must measure themselves? How diverse are the bodies, and recoveries, represented in social media? Tommy Clarke My advisor, Dr Carla Rice, and I undertook an analysis of 1,056 images of “eating disorder recovery” on Instagram. We found that people using Instagram to document their recovery processes did appear to be engaging in community-building on the social media platform. However, the kinds of recovery represented retained the stereotypical trappings of the experience of eating disorders.

Most posts continued to feature thin, young, white, women. Further, they frequently featured stylised versions of food, reflecting a certain class status and engagement with “foodie” cultures, as well as focusing on food in eating disorders, which are about more than food.

Neither too thin nor too fat Studies have identified how “healthy eating” curricula in schools can increase the incidence of eating disorders. Our analysis revealed how easily health can become entangled with particular ways of eating. Often, hashtags like “#EatingDisorderRecovery” were used alongside “#CleanEating” and “#HealthyFood”.

This coincidence of hashtags within the eating disorder recovery context raises questions about the challenge of navigating that place between healthy and ill – and the kinds of bodies we imagine existing in these places. We cannot ignore how health is often judged based on how a person appears. In our society, health is often equated with thinness in a way that can lead to significant discrimination against people in large bodies and worse health outcomes for those individuals.

People with eating disorders negotiate their recoveries in a world that values restrained eating. It is not surprising, then, that their hashtags reflect a wider societal confusion about how to be healthy, and what health “looks like”. Those in recovery are also faced with the challenge of “proving” their recoveries by enacting a body that is neither too thin nor too fat. In our study, we saw replication of stereotypes about whose bodies are considered eating disordered and recovered.

Only one image of a non-feminine-performing body was present. Most users appeared to be white and thin (but not emaciated). Many of the messages conveyed in captions centred around appealing to the male gaze, gesturing at heterosexuality. Challenging perfection, with real-life impact Could these representations of recovery serve to reinforce a particular kind of recovery? While the overall picture of recovery in these images was quite narrow, we hesitate to condemn the Instagram community as unhelpful to those in recovery.

Some users did engage with Instagram as a way of challenging the perfection and self-management demanded of all of us, particularly when it comes to health. Read more • However, in order for such communities to be truly transformational – to challenge the stereotypical representations of eating disorders and recovery – they would need to present a wider range of bodies and practices.

They would need to integrate the #7BillionSizes of people with eating disorders and in recovery, and recognise that #OneSizeDoesntFitAll. In the meantime, we can take inspiration from those working to challenge representations of eating disorders: Trans Folx Fighting Eating Disorders, Nalgona Positivity Pride and others working in the social justice space offer a blueprint.

This work has real-life impacts – opening up access to treatment, creating appropriate treatment where it does not exist, and generally making life easier for the some half a million Canadians who struggle with eating disorders.

Andrea LaMarre is a PhD candidate in the department of family relations and applied nutrition at the University of Guelph. This article first appeared on The Conversation (theconversation.com) More about • You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully • Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable • Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties • We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification You can find our Community Guidelines in full {{^nickname}} Community Guidelines • You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully • Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable • Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties • We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification You can find our Community Guidelines in full {{^nickname}} About The Independent commenting Independent Minds Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Minds.

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best dating eating disorder recovery instagrams

More than any other social media platform, is food-obsessed. Movements such as ‘clean eating’ and have Instagram to thank for their popularity over the last few years.

As does the #recovery community. The images and accounts that populate the ‘recovery’ hashtag are primarily teenage girls, all – supposedly – in recovery from eating disorders. In reality, many of these accounts are alarmingly fixated on food and exercise, the young users behind them relying on validation from followers as unwell as they are.

No specifics When I attended my first group therapy session for people with eating disorders, the first and only ground rule was ‘no specifics’. This meant no specifics of your disordered behaviours – binging, purging, over-exercising – or your daily intake, or your weight. Recovery accounts on Instagram break almost all of these rules every single day. Most share exclusively photographs of their meals, captions describing their feelings about the meal or detailing what they had eaten the rest of the day and whether they had worked out.

“Can you possibly be protecting yourself enough to recover?” Eating disorder charity Beat lays out clear guidelines for supporting people with eating disorders at mealtimes; this includes ensuring conversation is “neutral” – not discussing the food or overthinking the meaning of eating it – and trying to “take their mind off it” immediately afterwards with an engrossing chat or a film. When your first thought after eating is uploading a photograph of the meal to be viewed by hundreds or thousands of followers and dissecting your feelings on it in the caption, can you possibly be protecting yourself enough to recover?

Disordered eating on Instagram Many of these accounts list in their bio the number of times they’ve been inpatient or hospitalised, some featuring their current and goal weights. It makes it hard to tell some ‘recovery’ accounts apart from ‘pro-ana’ and ‘pro-mia’ accounts. In fact, while scrolling #recovery some pro-anorexia accounts popped up with images of stick-thin, bony women and captions coveting the extreme body type.

The line between recovery and active promotion of disordered eating on Instagram is so thin that these accounts share the same hashtags. “Recovery is not linear and can be hard to distinguish from relapse” Scarily, the worst is hidden on privatised Instagrams with handles that feature words such as “thinspo”, “skeletal”, “calories”. Though you can’t see what they are posting, you can see these accounts liking public ‘thinspo’ posts, their bios stating “DON’T REPORT JUST BLOCK”. It is clear that the users, almost all of whom will be suffering from eating disorders, know what they do online is so far from recovery people may be driven to Instagram’s ‘report for self-harm’ function.

Recovery is not linear While genuine recovery accounts are not comparable to pro-eating disorder accounts, the people behind them are just as real and fallible. Some are as young as 13. When they build up audiences of hundreds or thousands of fellow eating disorder sufferers, they become influential in a way that a struggling teenager should not be. Recovery is not linear and can be hard to distinguish from relapse.

Eating disorder charity Beat acknowledges online recovery spaces can be useful, but would “advise caution to those who are vulnerable, because sometimes the lines between pro-recovery and triggering content may be blurred”. Beat also recommends using one of their moderated online support groups, where there is no risk of being exposed to negative content. It’s likely Instagram is not the best platform for that. Recovery might not be picture-perfect.

Instagram says it does not allow content that glorifies self-harm or encourages others to harm themselves and works quickly remove any content which break their community guidelines. It recognises eating disorders are a complex issue and strives to go beyond simply removing the content and take a multi-layered approach, including in app tools to report content.

If anyone reports an image which they feel is encouraging eating disorders, the person who posted the image will receive a message with information and links to resources on how to get help and support. It also works with the National Eating Disorders Association to produce both in-app content and advice on our Help Centre for anyone with an eating disorder, or for anyone worried about a friend. 10/04: This post was updated to reflect a response from Instagram More from i : • • The i's Essential Daily Briefing We know that sometimes it’s easier for us to come to you with the news.

That's why our new email newsletter will deliver a mobile-friendly snapshot of inews.co.uk to your inbox every morning, from Monday to Saturday. This will feature the stories you need to know, as well as a curated selection of the best reads from across the site. Of course, you can easily opt out at any time, but we're confident that you won't. Oliver Duff, Editor


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