For an assignment I completed in university, I was asked to create a blog dedicated to how social media impacts a particular topic. I created a blog conveying information regarding the correlation between social media and eating disorders in hopes of educating others about the topic. Check it out if you’re interested in learning more!

Eating After An Eating Disorder

Eating disorder survivors often struggle with their current eating habits after dealing with an eating disorder. It is so important to educate persons about how severe the impact of an eating disorder is on an individual and how such impact often time resonates with them for the remainder of their life. Without treatment, up to 20% of people with serious eating disorders die. It is difficult for someone who has never struggled with an eating disorder to comprehend how eating habits and patterns never return to ‘normal’ for someone who has had Anorexia or Bulimia, and it can be extremely frustrating to listen to someone tell you to simply stop counting calories or to refrain from having such a strict eating regime.

It can be challenging to get back into healthy eating habits during eating disorder recovery.

It is crucial to conduct research on the topic of eating after having an eating disorder, and it is quite normal for individuals to continue behavior they exhibited throughout their disorder whilst in remission, but in a much more controlled and appropriate manner. It is crucial to ensure eating disorder survivors ingest enough food to fuel their bodies and to maintain a healthy body weight once in recovery. Personally, I am unsure if I will ever be able to eat food without calculating the nutritional information of such food in my head, and as much as this realization perturbs me, I have learned to accept it because I am now healthy and eating normally.

Before questioning someone who has struggled with an eating disorder about their eating habits, consider the fact that they are far more informed of their routines and patterns than you may realize. Education is key when it comes to understanding eating disorders, and chances are a survivor will be happy to properly educate you about key details if you approach them with genuine interest.

The Correlation Between Social Media and Eating Disorders


Social media websites and eating disorders share a unique connection.

Platforms like Instagram can encourage negative body image through means of photos and pictures, and the way in which social media influences eating disorders is often overlooked. Users of social media websites have direct access to forums where individuals discuss and encourage ways to dangerously diet, purge, and exercise compulsively.

Eating disorders having the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, however, simply searching “Anorexia” or “Bulimia” on Instagram will bring a user to pictures of eating disorders, pictures which depict the starved bodies of individuals in a nonchalant manner.

Some social media content can encourage eating disorder behavior.

Many accounts of this type promote eating disorder behavior, posting images that state expressions such as “name a food and I won’t eat it for a whole month” or “skip dinner wake up thinner.” I discovered these types of accounts when I was dealing with my own eating disorder, and they are dangerously influential. Seeing posts that promote eating disorder behavior trigger thoughts and actions that only worsen an individual’s already existing condition.

The intention of these accounts on social media websites is to glorify eating disorders and the devastation they inflict. Seeing individuals publicly displaying the very thoughts victims of eating disorders internalize and attempt to block out often convinces a person that their condition is normal, or not serious because many other victims feel the same way. These accounts act as a veil to hide and glorify fear, and they are comforting in the sense they allow social media users to negatively interact with one another by promoting eating disorder behaviors.

While the National Eating Disorder Association has attempted to abolish these sort of accounts, thousands still exist and continue to promote eating disorders via social media. Please report an account that promotes eating disorders.

The Danger of Counting Calories

Calorie counting often occurs within diet plans and regimes. It involves recording and keeping track of the number of calories you consume in a single day and determining an appropriate, or inappropriate amount of calories to ingest.

In a broad perspective, calories counting seems like an effective means of regulating dietary intake. Perhaps for some persons, it serves as a reliable way to lose or maintain weight, but many eating disorder survivors are likely to agree that it is one of the most dangerous things you can do in both a mental and physical sense.

Healing the mind and body through food and drink.

Many people begin counting calories when dealing with Anorexia and Bulimia, and are not able to stop doing so even after recovery.

If there is one thing I wish I, and likely other survivors, could change in regards to eating disorder history, we would go back in time and stop ourselves from engaging in the process of recording calories. Eating disorders are incredibly powerful psychological disorders, with Anorexia Nervosa having the highest death rate of any psychiatric illness (including depression). After conducting thorough research on this type of mental illness, it is evident that counting calories are the one thing victims of eating disorders have tremendous difficulty with in regards to ending this behavior.

Eating habits can become normalized once someone enters recovery from an eating disorder, however, for many survivors, calorie counting habits are still prevalent in their everyday life. If you ever encounter an individual who is dangerously counting calories for the sake of a diet plan, please urge them to stop doing so in an attempt to spare them from this relentless habit.

“Why Don’t You Just Eat?” – Things To Avoid Asking Someone With An Eating Disorder

There is a lack of social recognition regarding the implications of eating disorders. Despite the fact that roughly eight million Americans suffer from eating disorders, there is still a heavy stigma affiliated with mental illness. Is this because persons are unsure of how to approach someone they suspect may be suffering from an eating disorder? Regardless, there are definitely things that should not be said to any person dealing with this type of mental illness.

(1) Can’t you just eat? – This is arguably the most ignorant and insensitive statement that could be proposed to someone dealing with an eating disorder. Time is the key factor involved in eating disorder recovery and it takes significant effort to overcome the fear of food, calories and weight gain.

Not knowing how to approach someone with an eating disorder can lead to serious implications.

(2) Don’t you want to get better? – Again, saying this to a person who is quite literally dying before you is incredibly insensitive. Chances are, yes, the individual would like to get better and begin their recovery, but fear is such a powerful component of eating disorders and it often obscures a person’s perception of reality, convincing them that recovery is the enemy rather than the illness itself.

(3) Are you doing this for attention? – No. I cannot absolutely guarantee that every single person who has dealt with an eating disorder feels the same way as I do in regard to these three statements, but I would argue that a majority of individuals dealing with an eating disorder are not putting their body and mind through hell simply for attention or social recognition.

If you are concerned that someone you know may be struggling with an eating disorder, consult an expert or a survivor. The wrong choice of words can do far more harm than good when it comes to this type of illness.

The Harsh Reality of Eating Disorders and How They Impact the Body

Though it is difficult, sharing one’s experience with a former eating disorder is something of tremendous importance. It is helpful to victims to refrain from keeping one’s past illness to themselves in hopes of educating and helping others, and education is the most effective way to end the negative stigma affiliated with mental illness, specifically eating disorders.

Many people deal with a combination of anorexia and bulimia. The long-term impact that eating disorders have on the body is tremendous.

The food intolerances I currently deal with are a result of damage done to my stomach, and I learned that I have chronic inflammation within the lining of my stomach from purging while I was ill. This prevents my body from properly digesting the food I consume and forces it to exit my body in a rapid manner (a condition that impacts 98% of individuals who have experienced an eating disorder). My body, therefore, cannot absorb a majority of the nutrients from the foods and vitamins I intake, resulting in nutritional deficiencies.

Looking for healing and pursuing health.

I am working to improve and furthermore heal the damage done to my digestive system, but I am unsure of how long this process will take or if I will ever entirely heal my stomach. Eating disorders wreak havoc on the body and it can be difficult to resolve these problems. There is a definite lack of information available for persons dealing with long-term consequences from former eating disorders, and conversation needs to occur in order to improve the limited awareness addressing these problems.

If you or someone you know has any question or concerns regarding eating disorders, please do not hesitate to reach out. It is my goal to help others dealing with the same problems I experienced.

Why Blog About Eating Disorders?

Mental illness and body image are two topics of extreme relevance to me, and I feel as though it is extremely important to be open and vulnerable in order to communicate the reality of both topics.

The development of my eating disorder began when I was in grade 11. I have always been active and interested in nutrition and healthy eating, but over time food and exercise became a means for me to exhibit rigid control over my mind and body. I refused to consume over 700 calories a day at my lowest point (the daily recommendation is minimum 1200) and was running for at least 60 minutes every day after school, on top of attending rugby practice four days a week. I am 5’9, and prior to developing an eating disorder, I weighed approximately 160 pounds. I weighed approximately 115 pounds at my lowest.

Practicing regrowth and physical and mental healing.

After seeking professional help and being diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia, I would love to say that today I am completely satisfied and confident with my body, however, I am not.

I want to share my experiences with mental illness and body image issues. A 2002 survey revealed 1.5% of Canadian women aged 15–24 years struggle with an eating disorder, therefore I do not believe it is something to be ashamed of or to live in fear of. It is something that many individuals can relate to, and I think being able to converse with someone who has gone through a similar experience is one of the best ways to come to terms with the fact that resolution needs to be sought.

Eating disorder discussion can be difficult, but it does not have to be done alone. This blog aims to provide a helpful resource to any person struggling, and to further demonstrate that communication and education regarding mental illness are key.