How to use social media to heal your eating


Clear out your social media feed and load up some joy!

Social media impacts us emotionally – we’re all emotional animals. And if you’re an emotional eating or a stress eater, that means social media is also going to affect your eating, and unless you’re careful and mindful of what you allow into your online emotional world, it can actually be pretty awful.


Are you social media feeds supporting your goals? Or are the bringing you down?


If you’ve ever checked your social media and felt

  • envious
  • fat
  • weak
  • poor
  • unlucky
  • jealous
  • angry
  • frustrated
  • … you get the picture…

You’re SO not alone. And you know that all these emotions – if left unchecked – can lead to unwanted eating.

But never fear!

Today I’m going to show you exactly how to get the social media feeds of your dreams! Social media that brings you joy, empowers you to follow your heart, and helps you heal your unwanted eating.

But first, let’s look at some of the science behind why you should be purposefully creating an online environment that supports you, then we’ll get into how to do it.


Social media can feed into ‘negative’ emotions

Let me start by saying that ‘negative’ emotions are nothing to be afraid of, and not to be avoided in life. However, they’re unpleasant. And if you’re in the middle of (or the start of) healing your emotional eating, you don’t yet have the strategies and mindset shifts to constantly deal with… crap, basically.

So, while in the long-run, I think more internal, deeper strategies should definitely be the goal, removing unneeded and unnecessary negative stuff from your world can have a massive positive impact on your health, wellbeing, and eating. That’s what you’re going to do today.


Let’s look at some science:

While reports of ‘Facebook depression’ are not supported by research, and the idea that social media is the cause of all your problems is certainly not true – if you aren’t paying attention to how you use social media, or you’re plugging into people, places, and things that disempower, weaken, or enrage you… chances are social media is not a source of joy or healing in your life.

When used unwisely, social media can lead to problems with:

1) Stress:

Social pressure, comparisons, idiots, insults, and a fear of missing out all make social media the perfect place to build stress. These researchers go as far as to say that “These [social media] technologies are [putting] people at risk for the negative physical and psychological health effects that can result from stress.”

And if you’re here, you know that stress makes you eat in ways that do not make you happy.

Therefore, if

social media = stress = unwanted eating,

you’ve got a problem!

However, this same research details the findings that (for women only) some kinds of social media usage can actually lower stress levels. They hypothesise that sharing your life with others is good for women’s stress levels, and increases their feelings of having social support. Which is totally a good thing!

So, it’s not that all social media is bad or stressful; it’s all about how you use it.

2) Body image:

Body image in integral to your sense of self, how you treat your self, and therefore how you eat. Positive body image is a huge source of connection and healing for emotional eaters, and as I’m sure you know, negative body image is a MASSIVE source of stress, rejection, and increased emotional eating.

Sadly, the major majority of images and messages that come through your average social media feed are definitely not helping. Research shows us that “Exposure to media images of thin-and-beautiful women negatively affects the body image and mood states of young women.”

All those pictures of flat tummies with a tape measure wrapped around, or of a thin person standing inside a pair of jeans that are 5 times too big for them (implying they lost all that weight), are adding fuel to your already delicate body image worries. There’s a lot of research to support the idea that these idealised images really do have a bad effect on how you feel about your body.

So what can you do? Well, these researchers say that limiting negative media exposure and instead looking at stuff that promotes health, wellbeing, and self-esteem is a great idea.

And that’s exactly what I’m going to show you how to do!


Social media should be a source of empowerment and joy

Ok, so you’ve seen how, if not done right, social media can impact you badly and definitely contribute you your unwanted eating. Luckily, most of the research also shows that your feed can be used for the power of good!

So, let’s get you some of that!


How to clear out your social media feeds and jam pack them with goodies to help, heal, and bring you joy:

Basic idea: Clear out/unfriend/unfollow anyone or anything that

  • is overly negative
  • promotes unrealistic or unhealthy images, advice, or opinions
  • makes you feel like your life is lacking
  • makes you feel shame or failure
  • makes you angry
  • tells you that you need to change to be happy/successful/loved

For example…

5c1ac397aa1378ca235a8ead26ff7537
9d5f18a6449e84bd6cd48685dc2f8253

Both of these were on my Pinterest feed before I cleaned it out. The one on the left is unrealistic in both the time frame and the suggested results. It’s about looking like HER. The one on the right is all about YOU and your well being, and how you can actively and realistically make your life more awesome.

Now find, follow, and ‘like’ any person or content that promotes your well being and empowers you to feel great.


Facebook

Unfriend: This means you’ll be unconnected from that person. They won’t get a notification that you’ve unfriended them, but they will be able to tell if they try to contact you or visit your profile.

Un-like: The same as above, but for pages not people.

Leave group: Same thing again, but for Facebook groups.

Unfollow: You’ll still be friends, or stay ‘liking’ the page, but you won’t get any of the content in your feed. No one will know about this except you.

How and where all these options are, changes from time to time, so I won’t go into detail here (you can just google it for the latest), but if you see something in your feed that’s not serving you, click the little arrow in the top right corner of the particular item and you’ll get a bunch of options for keeping it out of your life.

You can also go through your friends list, apps list, groups, and like pages and just unfriend, unfollow, and leave it all behind!

Ok, so now you’ve got a clean, friendly, and suck-free Facebook feed, you can fill it up with some awesome!

Recommended pages and groups:

Live the Whole Emotional Eating Healing (of course!)

The Nourishing Nutters

Empowered Queen

The Institute for the Psychology of Eating

Girls gone Strong

Whole by Nature


Pinterest

This is the one I needed the most! My feed was full of ‘Shed x pounds in 10 days’ kind of stuff. I followed this great advice on how to clean up my Pinterest home feed, and now am seeing way more gorgeous recipes, inspiring quotes, and empowering info.

I love following:

Live the Whole (I LOVE pinning!)

Institute for the Psychology of Eating

Mental and Body Care

 

No shame in Emotional Eating


Twitter

This one’s easy. No one ever checks their Twitter followers and notices if someone’s not there (and if you get caught out – claim a technical glitch!). So, if someone is filling your feed with things that aren’t good for you, simply click on ‘following’ on your twitter homepage and ‘unfollow’ that negative Nancy!

Alternatively, if you can’t unfollow them for some personal reason, on the same page as above, click the little cog and choose ‘mute’. You’ll still be connected, but you don’t have to hear them any more 🙂

Tweeters I love:

@artofwb

@NerdFitness

@GeneenRoth

@kindnessgirl


Instagram

Instagram is a dangerous place for body image, if you’re not very careful. Photos are so easy to manipulate, and have a huge visual impact on you. So, if you’re following ‘fitspo’ accounts that are unrealistic, or images that promote that awful ‘if you’re not pushing yourself you suck’ message, get those outta there!

Similarly, if the posts that fill your feed are tagged with ridiculousness like #thighgap, #thinspo, or #mylifeandbodyarewaybetterthanaythingyoulleverhavehaha – shut that shit down.

Again, just navigate to your profile and click ‘following’ and hit the ‘unfollow’ button to get rid of anyone who’s images or messages are not bringing you joy.

I love looking at:

@honorcurves 

@elizabeth_gilbert_writer

@happsters

@deepakchopra


So, you have your mission.

You have your instructions.

Now get out there and make your online environment support and uplift you!


About Samantha

Hello! I'm Sam and I'm an Eating Psychology Coach. I work with women who struggle with emotional eating and weight loss to develop new strategies and lifestyles so they can stop using food to cope, lose weight, and eat happy.

Leave a Reply