Since being diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2017, which is a disease that causes my body to not be able to absorb gluten or the proper nutrients, I have always been on the underweight side. This has caused many issues throughout my everyday life, including developing an eating disorder, comments being made by everyone around me about my weight, and body image issues that stemmed from social media as well.
Developing an eating disorder was a very challenging point in my life because up until I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, my relationship with food was almost perfect. I always stopped eating when I was full, and never restricted myself from what I could and could not eat. Once I was forced to restrict myself and read nutrition labels on every single item I picked up at the grocery store, my relationship with food plummeted. My eating disorder caused me to develop mental health issues as well, which then affected my abilities to do regular life tasks. I was unable to focus on my schoolwork, or even get out of bed some days due to the brain fog caused by not eating. The raw details of eating disorders are not talked about enough, even though nearly half of all Americans personally know someone with an eating disorder. I know that not everyone needs to get diagnosed with an autoimmune disease to develop an eating disorder, and these issues affect so many young girls and boys who go through the same situation caused by many other factors, such as social media and people making comments to them about their weight.
Social media is a major contribution in the way these young people view their bodies, including me as well. We have gotten accustomed to constantly being shown what the “perfect” body type should be, but seem to forget that with social media comes deception and lies through filters, what people choose to post and not to post, etc. This causes young people to compare themselves to everyone, including celebrities who have the money to get botox and plastic surgery to change the way they look. Social media also gives the false narrative to men of what the “ideal” woman’s body should look like. The whole point of social media is that we are able to each be unique in our own ways and show off our lives, but
Another issue that goes hand in hand with this topic is the way people treat you when you are thin or “too thin.” Growing up, I was almost 30 pounds heavier than what I am today. Since I have lost this weight instead of gaining it, people make comments such as, “you should eat a burger or something to fatten you up,” or “I wish I looked like you and had your body.” People make the assumption that just because I am thin, that it is a positive thing and they’re “jealous of me,” when deep down I would give anything to be able to gain weight and go back to how I used to look before my diagnosis. Another issue with the comments that are made towards me and people of my stature is if I was on the opposite side of this and was heavier-set, no one would be telling me to go to the gym or that I need to eat a salad to lose some weight.
Society is changing. Just recently, My Beach Body Fitness Program announced that they would be changing their name because they don’t want their focus to be on the ideal body in a bathing suit on the beach, but instead focused on health esteem for full body, mind, and spirit, not just about the outward appearance and the way you look. Slowly, changes are going in effect, and people on social media are even starting to post more raw images that have not been edited as well.