Sharing Isn’t Caring:
One of the first things you do every day is to look on your phone. You check your text messages, you check your emails, you scroll through your social media accounts, and you check your favorite news app. It’s not surprising to find posts related to fitness or wellness as the trend and fad continues to take over your newsfeed and timelines. Ever so often, you find a meme or post that you can identify with regarding your own fitness and wellness goals and before you can even think about, almost instinctively, you either re-share or repost it -in an eye blink. But what if what you are re-sharing can trigger negative thoughts for someone who may be suffering from body image issues, mental health disorders, poor self-esteem, or even eating disorders? Some of the memes I have seen online posted by my own friends and family makes me cringe. While innocent, unbeknownst to them, they are creating and contributing to the body shaming or “fat shaming” culture- unintentionally. All it takes is one share, and before you know it, that one post has gone viral for all the world to see-to be viewed by those who struggle in silence. What you post and share can have negative effects to people and their mindset. Many times, I have come across status updates where someone is talking about what they ate and how they “feel fat.” I don’t quite remember “fat” being a feeling or emotion (insert hand to chin, pondering emoji face here). Other times, I read status updates which attempts to justify the reason behind your indulgence of food; like that big slice of pizza or cheesesteak you devoured-labeling it “#fatkidproblems” – one simple search of this hashtag will show you how often people feel the need to “excuse” their eating habits. My message to you, eat what you want and balance-don’t ever make an excuse as to why you provide your body with one of its core needs for survival food.
Let’s take a look at some questionable memes and posts:
Posts like these imply that “dieting” or eating healthy is tasteless and boring-when in fact, it’s the person creating the meals who is tasteless and boring-hard truth here. I tell my wellness client’s all the time-get creative in the kitchen! There are so many different ways to cook things and they don’t have to be bland at all! Take a look at some of my recipes on my website www.findyourwillwellness/recipes. Have a little fun in the kitchen that doesn’t compromise your time or waistline.
This post sheds light on restrictive forms of eating. If you read my blog entry on my website titled, “The No Diet-Diet” https://findyourwillwellness.com/2015/11/09/the-no-diet-diet/ you will get a better understanding of why diet’s DON”T WORK! Implement healthy habits and changes into your lifestyle that will be long lasting. This post implies that in order to gain results- you must restrict or starve yourself. As a mental health professional, I have worked with many patients and clients who suffer from eating disorders. It is believed, the less you eat, the more you starve yourself, the better the results. If you are hungry-YOU HAVE TO EAT! I always am surprised when I hear people make comments or pass judgments on the amount of food I eat throughout the day. I am often reminded how “small” or “tiny” or “skinny” I am, and yet I eat “soo much”. News flash: It’s not about how much you eat, it’s about how much of WHAT you eat. I aim to eat 5-6 times a day, three meals and 3 snacks in between in each meal. More importantly, I eat when my body tells me to, if I’m hungry-I eat-in moderation, eat as clean as possible, and I ensure I eat appropriate portions! Don’t deprive yourself, you are causing more harm than good. When your body is in starvation mode that is when bad fat begins to store itself in all the most common problematic areas.
These posts make me chuckle because neither of these are the reality for me. First and foremost as stated above, you shouldn’t be depriving or restricting yourself. It’s ok to have a slice or slither of that chocolate cake at a birthday party or while out at dinner. These posts promote binging behaviors which can spiral into an eating disorder. How many times have you actually sat in front of a cake and devoured or inhaled it all in one sitting? If you have ever done this, you likely haven’t nourished your body very well throughout the day. Life and wellness is about balance!
Again, you don’t have to eat literally NOTHING in order to be healthy or tackle your fitness goals! While it is good to begin to implement more raw natural products into your everyday intake such as, vegan, gluten free, soy free, antibiotics free, non-GMO, and/or organic products; restricting things such as “fat” or “carbs” will hinder your progress. You should have a balanced intake in your daily diet or eating regimen and routine. I re-assure you, eating purely ice will land you in a hospital bed as there are many medical and organ complications associated with restrictive eating.
The next time you see a post similar to the ones above, think twice before liking and re-sharing it. I know you mean no harm, but think of the individuals who will not look past the humor of this all and internalize it. This also contributes to YOUR own negative self-talk with regards to your own personal views and relationship with food, dieting, and wellness. Remember, sometimes sharing isn’t caring. Say it with me, YOU NEED FOOD FOR SURVIVAL! YOU NEED FOOD FOR FUEL! YOU NEED FOOD FOR NOURISHMENT! FOOD IS GOOD FOR ME!
Stay Positive and remember, “Change begins in your mind.”
Iris L. Mendez, MSW
Find Your Will Wellness
Certified Wellness Coach
Please consult with a medical physician and/or mental health provider before beginning any fitness, nutrition, or mindfulness regimen or program.