What Causes Eating Disorders?
We often ask ourselves, even I find myself asking “WHY DID THIS HAPPEN TO ME?” … or even “HOW DID THIS HAPPEN TO ME - OR HOW DID I LET THIS HAPPEN?”.
I came from a healthy upbringing. At the time, and including now, I have an amazing relationships with my parents, brother and close relatives. My friendships were (and are still) extremely positive. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by people who have supported my goals, intentions, actions and kept me motivated along the way. To this day, I still speak to majority of my friends I had growing up - that, I am thankful for. I spent most of my days in pure happiness - laughing, running around on the field at recess, participating and being involved in dance teams, cheerleading, soccer and many different sports.
So, how can someone that seems so happy, and have the simple necessities to survive, experience such a mental illness?
For me, it was growing up around a naturally skinny friend who sometimes would say she needed to workout, another was social media that triggered every thought that came after. From then on, everything went down hill.
Eating disorders can come from many triggers from the real world, social media, or even root from those close to us that play a large role in influencing our lives. I personally have no idea if an eating disorder is linked to something that ‘ran in a family’ or a chemical imbalance in your body. Who really knows the true depth of it and how something as small as thinking your fat can create endless years of horrifying battles.
This post is just to focus mainly on making sure that you are doing whatever you think is right and is acceptable to be healthy. If you think your happiness is based on an exposure to social media and the affiliation with individuals who are skinny (either naturally or through extensive dieting) then think again. At first it might not seem like a big deal to you. But, the more and more you continue to scroll through an influencer’s photos, or read deeper and deeper into an article on ‘unhealthy foods to avoid’, you are hooked. It can literally only take a couple hours to a few days for your mind to be brainwashed.., because of HOW MUCH the media influences everyone’s choices, thoughts and actions.
I know on another hand some people don’t fall under the influence of gaining an eating disorder because of social media, but rather a family situation. Loosing a loved one or things similar to having an uncomfortable at home atmosphere can also cause an eating disorder. We, as humans, want to feel in control, and ALWAYS be in control. When we are unable to control something out of our means, we look to other things to control. Kind of similar to someone having a bad day. We take it out on other people and get angry at them for probably no reason because we hate that they are happy and we are angry. With an eating disorder and control, we think controlling our food, and creating a unhealthy routine out of this is going to help us feel better about our situation at home. It doesn’t start out as an unhealthy relationship with food or the desire to be thin until we start to notice changes in our body and decide that maybe controlling our physical appearance will make us feel better as well. And from then on, an eating disorder is created and potentially anorexia follows. The main thing to take away, is knowing that if you are in a situation where your home life is not healthy, or you lost a loved one, then find someone you feel comfortable speaking to. Make sure they can help you cope with the emotions and fears you feel at home so that you avoid turning to the limiting of food to feel safe.
With regards to social media, and what you can do to avoid the diet culture - AND this desire to be thin, is to SIMPLY. SO EASILY. UNFOLLOW anyone who makes you think twice about how you look, or even makes you upset regarding a comparison of your life to theirs. That is something someone close to me told me to do a while back, and I went from following almost 900 people on Instagram to 200, and unsubscribing from anyone on Youtube who spoke about their “Top 5 Ways to Get Healthy, Lose Weight, etc.”. Majority of these people have no clue what they are talking about, and are giving you these ideas based off of what they perceive as ‘health’. No nutritionist or dietitian should ever tell you to not eat something or eat a specific way UNLESS you are allergic, or have a real problem that needs to be tackled through nutrition.
Go out, eat ice cream, unfollow influencers who make you unhappy, speak up when you are upset or fearful, and enjoy your life. Every. Single. Day.