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Why We Need to Stop Sharing Posts That Promote Eating Disorder Behavior

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Editor's Note

If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741741.

I was scrolling through last night, as one does when they should be studying for their midterm, and came across this photo:

Text reads "my fall look this year is drinking my coffee on an empty stomach and visibly shaking until lunch time."

It said, “my fall look this year is drinking my coffee on an empty stomach and visibly shaking until lunch time.”

Now listen, I love fall and flannel, and there’s nothing in this world I love more than coffee. But this post was promoting something we have got to stop celebrating. We cannot celebrate skipping meals. We cannot celebrate only surviving on caffeine and not eating. We cannot celebrate “shaking until lunch time.”

Eating disorders are real things, and they are horrific. I have struggled with bulimia that turned into anorexia and has gone back and forth for several years now, and it is one of the hardest wars I’ve ever had to wage. I’ve fallen down a flight of stairs from shaking so much because I hadn’t eaten. I’ve blacked out because of starvation. I’ve had to have people bring me blankets and food because I was so weak I couldn’t walk back to my apartment.

I know no one posts these things with an intent to promote eating disorder behaviors. But we have got to be educated about them. These posts should not be things we quote and share saying, “relatable,” or “a mood,” or “I feel attacked.”

We already live in a society that is far too focused on being thin, comparing ourselves and tearing each other down instead of building each other up. We do not need posts like this. We do not need things that promote these behaviors, even if they’re meant as a joke. What’s a joke to you might be triggering to me. And yes, you can say we live in a world where everyone is offended by everything all of the time, and this is just me being one of those people, and this is just one of those cases.

Except it’s not. This is real. There are so many people who struggle with eating disorders. And even if you don’t struggle with an eating disorder, I can’t even put a number on how many people struggle with their self-image — how many people have looked in a mirror and not liked what they’ve seen.

It’s too many people to be posting things like this and encouraging behaviors like this. We have got to step up and be better. Can we encourage each other to eat three meals a day? Can we be accepting of all body shapes and sizes? Can we stop spreading this ridiculous notion that women have to be skinny to be beautiful and men have to be athletic and strong? Can we just love and respect each other? Is that really asking too much?

Just take a second before you post something, and ask yourself if it’s really something you want to be promoting. It’s not being overly sensitive; it’s taking care of each other. And God knows we could all use an extra person looking out for us.

Getty image by Softulka

Originally published: October 25, 2019
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