By; Anna Maggio
Picture in your head an average portion of your basic balanced dinner; a veggie, protein and starch. Got it?
Okay now times each portion by 3 and welcome to my child hood dinners. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, I was grateful enough to be born in a full blooded Italian family who cook like chefs but unfortunately none of them are trainers. 60 pounds and a hell of a lot of insecurities later, I became so obsessed with losing weight that I was fine with malnourishing my body. Although we can try to deny it all we want, there is an unspoken standard of what’s “attractive” because of the influence advertising, social media, and celebrities have on our society.
Judging by the way social media is prioritized now, it seems as if getting attention through a filtered image on Instagram is more rewarding than being healthy. I found this article on BBC news about an inspiring woman who runs a mentoring program training teachers on how to deal with body confidence issues in schools, her name is Kelsey Hibberd. “In her view, the answer to body anxiety is to showcase a more diverse range of bodies in the media because there is not just one way to be healthy or one ideal look. “
One residential eating disorder treatment center found that 30- 50% of their patients are actively using social networking sites to support their eating disorders. 2006 Stanford University Study found that 96% of girls who already had eating disorders had visited pro-anorexia websites and learned new weight loss techniques. The media represents the “evolution” of body image more than we realize, so how do we use it to our advantage?
Instagram has recently banned the use of hashtags like #thinspiration and #bikinibody so that’s awesome. A great example of using social media as a strong voice is Demi Lovato speaking up about how she overcame her eating disorders. Demi says, “Social media started impacting my life when I was about 14 years old. I would check it obsessively, reading comments and wondering if people noticed that I’d gained or lost weight. I allowed social media to define what I thought of my body..”. I realize it is going to take a lot more than this to eliminate body shaming on social media but it’s a start to the appreciation of natural beauty. Confidence is key yall!