Do you ever find yourself scrolling through your feed on your Instagram feed wondering “Ugh, how does she eat that and look like that?” or “Is he on testosterone. His abs don’t even look real…” or “How does she make the perfect, photogenic meal Every. Single. Time. She. Eats”?
Well. You’re not alone. And the negative thought cycle that can stem from social media overload might be sabotaging your efforts to achieve your health goals.
A recent (March 1st) study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders looked at the relationship between social media use and binge eating in preteens. Ready for some wild results?
The study found that for each hour spent on social media, there was an association with a 62% higher risk of binge-eating disorder one year later.
This is just one study, but I’m sure there will be many more to come given our limited understanding of social media and how it influences our mental and physical health.
With or without the studies, one thing is clear: the urge to constantly compare ourselves to everyone else’s highlight reel—the perfect meals, outfits, trendy work out sessions—can make scrolling stressful. Not to mention, there are millions of influencers and celebrities with ZERO knowledge of nutrition as a science or how to approach nutrition in a way that prevents their followers from developing disordered eating patterns telling you what to eat and how to eat it. You know the people—the ones who pose with those oh so yummy #brand snack bars and shakes in their #brand outfit with their visible abs and blinding white teeth. And they sell you those special #brand shakes and supplements promising you you’ll have abs of your very own if you just take the shake 3 times a day and the 6 supplements every 6 hours.
They make a lot of money selling you these items, but they rarely work. There is no quick fix and most of those influencers spend their lives exercising and grooming to look that way. Why not look to the Registered Dietitians who spend their lives studying the science of nutrition instead?
If you feel depressed when scrolling your Instagram feed, unfollow the people who make you feel less than. If someone is selling you quick fixes, delete. Curate your feed to include inventive recipe pages versus skinny-minis telling you which weird supplement to throw into your green juice every morning. Follow Registered Dietitians who keep it real versus the yummy mummys and gym bros who have a team of people making them look good. Or, if you’re really feeling rebellious, delete your social media altogether and see how your brain and your body react. You might be surprised by the results.