You see the cover of the magazine, and a skinny woman gazes back at you. You turn on the television, and a buff man gazes back at you. You log into Instagram, and a model with a lean body gazes back at you. Your brain then thinks, if you want to be pretty, you need to be thin.
And this is how, as a society, we have encouraged eating disorders. While most people understand them to be one’s relationship with food, so are grounded in physical health, however, eating disorders are a mental health condition.
An eating disorder is an illness that affects the way we view food and alters our relationship with food and our perception of self. There are different eating disorders, and while some are not necessarily about weight loss, an overwhelming majority pertain to skinny figures.
Eating disorders and skinny figures need to be addressed
Globally, the more common forms of eating disorders include anorexia nervosa and bulimia, both of which have principals in losing weight. In anorexia, people have body dysmorphia, and they stop eating. With bulimia, people might eat or even binge on food, and then remove it via vomiting or laxatives before it is assimilated.
Eating disorders are not just a serious threat to mental health, but they also have a grave impact on the person’s physical health; in some serious cases, people can also die because of the eating disorder.
Hence, it is imperative that eating disorders be addressed, so they can be prevented.
Some ways to raise awareness and prevent eating disorders
Stop praising the size
Generally, when someone loses weight, people tend to praise them. However, what they do not realize is that they are promoting an unhealthy mindset whereby the person must keep losing weight to get praise.
It then increases the risk of eating disorders and one that becomes more serious. Hence, stop complimenting people solely based on their looks. Encourage them in all the right avenues.
Encourage body positivity
Everyone needs to encourage body positivity by celebrating all sizes. You do not need to be skinny to be beautiful, you already are beautiful!
Express your concern
If you observe eating disorder signs in your loved one, try to get them the help that they need. Timely help can prevent psychological and physical health from suffering.
Encourage healthy eating
It helps to also encourage healthy eating habits so instead of focusing on the calories, people focus instead on the nutritional value of the food.
Reject problematic content
If some content promotes being skinny, pushes for unrealistic body-size expectations, and endorses unhealthy eating and exercising habits, actively reject it and campaign against it so that toxic content is not created, to begin with.
Healthy family environment
Family can play a huge role in promoting and preventing eating disorders. When people are fat-shamed by their own families, they are at a higher risk for developing eating disorders.
Similarly, living in a stressful family environment can also cause people to turn to food for solace, increasing the risk for binge eating disorder.
Hence, families need to be kind to one another. Parents must be careful about their attitude towards their children, not size-shame them, and love them regardless of their dress size. For those having issues within the family, it is best that you get the help of a counselor or a therapist so that healthy family life can be promoted. You may find certified and affordable counsellors at fitcyhealth.com