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My Eating Disorder Started With an App

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At 15 years old I surfed the app store and downloaded the little orange icon with a scale. This app had you set a goal weight and told you how many calories to eat in a day. You were supposed to log your every bite and exercise, and so I did. I started to see some “progress” and felt a rush of confidence I had not experienced in a long time. It started as an effort to be “healthy” and became an obsession in which I felt guilty for eating as little as an apple at times. Every morning I would step on the scale hoping to see progress. As a result of my obsession due to this app, I lost a lot friends, weight and the stability of my mental health. I began to isolate, and the depression I had dealt with for a few years kicked up. If I went above my inadequate budget, I would see the disappointing red color thinking I had failed.

Four years later, I struggle to eat without logging my every bite on this platform. I have received help for my eating disorder and struggled with medical issues such as dehydration, dizziness, headaches, slow metabolism and thyroid, low blood pressure, rapid heart rate and imbalanced electrolyte levels. I am in recovery and am physically healthy, but the mental aspect is deeply engrained in my brain. Even though I may eat “normally,” the app still follows my patterns to this day. I do not weigh myself frequently anymore, but the app is the hardest habit for me to break.

As seen on the news and social media, Kurbo WW’s app for kids poses a serious threat to those who have the potential to develop eating disorders. Kids are impressionable, and many professionals are concerned for the safety of our youth due to this app. There are so many more important things to teach kids rather than how to diet. Kids should enjoy food without guilt and have the freedom to eat what they want. Nutritional education is something I support, but this is purely destructive in nature from a psychological standpoint.

I am just one person with a story to tell about how calorie counting changed my life for the worse and left me miserable. We must set an example as adults and not fixate on the numbers. We should encourage body positivity in youth instead of forcing the message that they are never enough. Eating disorders are serious and potentially fatal disorders we need to take seriously, and this set up is dangerous for kids.

Please be a decent human and let kids be kids. Let them enjoy their birthday cake without logging it in their phone. The idea of a 10-year-old logging their every bite is heartbreaking. No one deserves to be wrapped up in an obsession that isolates them and controls their lives.

Getty image by fizkes

Originally published: March 12, 2020
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