Diet culture or the idea of maintaining rigorous appearance standards is a dangerous yet pervasive element of modern society. Unfortunately, it is a problem that is not going away anytime soon. Without understanding the impacts of diet culture, the challenges and struggles it creates can lead to significant physical and psychological difficulties.

What is Diet Culture?

Diet culture is a term used to describe many Americans’ growing preoccupation with attaining the “perfect” physical appearance. It also encompasses finding and adhering to perfect eating standards or the perfect diet. Someone who succumbs to the pitfalls of diet culture may seem obsessed with habits such as calorie counting, cataloging the foods they consume, following rigorous exercise schedules, and experimenting with other diet fads, all in the name of losing weight.

Diet culture is not restricted to a specific demographic. It can appear in any age group or gender. However, it is often more prevalent in circumstances where one’s appearance can put them at the forefront of being noticed. Consider examples such as models, entertainers, athletes, and celebrities. Diet culture is also, unfortunately, common among adolescents and teens who struggle to maintain a particular physical appearance to “fit in” with members of their social circle.

Examples of Diet Culture

It is important to understand the difference between diet culture and nutritious eating. Ideas about diet culture often go undetected because they get lumped into conversations about disease prevention, healthy eating, and “optimal” nutrition standards. This makes diet culture scarier because people prescribe to potentially dangerous diet patterns in the name of health. Not only can diet culture lead to harmful effects on your physical health, but it can also significantly affect your mental well-being.

You may notice many signs of diet culture in a friend or loved one struggling to separate healthy eating from potentially dangerous habits. Often, many of these examples seem benign; however, when one or more occur or happen in the presence of disordered eating or another mental health concern, they can lead to dangerous side effects. Some common examples might include:

  • Using exercise to “burn off” calories or to earn a reward in the form of dessert or similar.
  • Eliminating entire food groups because they are “bad for you.”
  • Avoiding social situations or social events because eating is a part of the experience.
  • Consistently checking body weight and using the scale to determine future eating behaviors.
  • Engaging in fat-shaming behaviors or feeling shameful for your physical appearance.
  • Giving food labels such as good, bad, fattening.
  • Using dietary aids, caffeine, nicotine, or water to suppress your appetite by increasing the sensation of fullness.

Why is Diet Culture Dangerous?

Diet culture can lead to significant and sometimes life-threatening physical and mental health emergencies. When someone puts substantial value on thinness or excessive weight loss, physical health struggles are usually quick to follow. While it is important to note that diet culture is not entirely responsible for disordered eating, it can quickly worsen the struggle for someone who is predisposed to it. Additionally, many youth and teens are exposed to diet culture standards at an age where they may not understand the physical and mental health risks of excessive dieting or excessive weight loss. This can lead to the development of potentially life-threatening eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. A significant body of research indicates that excessive dieting can be harmful. Data from the National Eating Disorders Association suggests that up to 25% of diets evolved into disordered eating.

Mental health struggles can also develop out of diet culture. When someone cannot achieve or maintain the “ideal” body standards defined by diet culture, it can lead to overwhelming feelings of embarrassment and shame. Additionally, youth and teens can feel stigmatized by fellow classmates who present an ideal body image or engage in body shaming behaviors.  Distinguish surrounding body weight and body image has long been linked to struggles with mood and mood disorders. It has also been connected to disordered eating and an increased pattern of weight cycling. Weight cycling occurs when someone strives to maintain body weight by trying diet after diet, often gaining more weight than they are capable of losing.

How to Seek Help

Disordered eating is a serious and potentially life-threatening mental illness that can arise out of diet culture. In fact, one death every 52 minutes is linked to disordered eating. Second only to opioid overdose, eating disorders are right among the deadliest of mental illnesses. If you or a loved one struggles with an eating disorder, it is crucial to seek early and comprehensive help at a professional treatment center where you can heal and develop a healthy relationship with food.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that places significant value on appearance. One only needs to turn on the television or scroll through social media to see numerous ads about body image, fitness, and how to use exercise, cosmetic treatments, clothing, and makeup to appear skinnier and achieve ideal beauty. In an environment where standards are set high, it can be challenging to avoid the impact of diet culture. However, it is crucial to prioritize physical and psychological health in favor of succumbing to diet culture.  If you were a loved one are struggling with the effects of diet culture or disordered eating, it is crucial to reach out for help today. Contact a member of our admissions team at Shoreline Center for Eating Disorder Treatment today to learn more about how our southern California treatment center can help you.

Intuitive eating is the idea that everyone has an innate knowledge of what and how much to eat. It’s oftentimes misunderstood and seen as another approach to dieting, especially nowadays. But intuitive eating is the exact opposite of a diet. While a diet is restrictive and holds you back from certain things, intuitive eating relies on the concept of trusting that your body will inform you when it’s time for food.

This can look like cleaning your plate because you are hungry to stopping because you feel full. It can look like preferring a burger for lunch one day or a salad the next. We have an incredible amount of resource within when we really pay attention and listen to what our bodies need.

But what exactly is intuitive eating?

What is Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive eating has become a buzzword over the last few years. With all the misconceptions surrounding intuitive eating nowadays, it’s almost easier to describe intuitive eating by what it is not before explaining what it is.

Intuitive eating is not a weight gain or weight loss tool. If you look at the practice as a tool to manage your weight then you’re incorporating a diet, not intuitive eating. Intuitive eating is also not “giving up.” It’s not about eating whatever foods that come to mind. You can’t eat chips, ice cream, and cookies for every meal and call it intuitive eating. It’s not consuming food with reckless abandon.

Instead, intuitive eating is trusting your body to inform you of what it needs and when. All people are born with an innate understanding of eating when hungry and stopping when full. Your body needs specific nutrients to function and can inform you of what you need as you learn how you respond to different types foods.

Hunger and Eating Disorders

Every human being has innate hunger cues that let them know when they are hungry. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that motivates people to eat. It sends signals to your mind and body that it’s time to eat and then you ideally consume enough food to satiate that natural impulse.

Problems arise for individuals with eating disorders. Research reveals that people with conditions like anorexia or bulimia can ignore or reject these hunger cues. Over time, they can condition their brain to override signals from the hypothalamus, eventually even to the point of eliminating taste-reward or hunger itself.

Eating disorders create serious concerns and misconceptions about food. Whether it’s anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or another form of disordered eating, this harmful relationship with food makes it difficult to trust your mind and body. After months or years of overriding natural hunger cues, how can you learn to listen to that innate natural drive?

Eating Disorders and Intuitive Eating

Using intuitive eating in eating disorder recovery can be a difficult practice in the beginning. It’s hard to understand what is a legitimate hunger cue and what is the result of your brain’s reconditioned state. The most effective way to incorporate intuitive eating in eating disorder recovery is to first address your misconceptions and misunderstandings around food.

Many people enter eating disorder treatment labeling foods as good vs. bad, safe vs. unsafe, or comfortable vs. triggering. Labeling foods is not a helpful way to approach intuitive eating. You shouldn’t see yourself as a bad person for eating a certain type of food. You aren’t making a mistake if you eat a little bit more on one day and a little bit less on another.

But this is why seeking effective eating disorder treatment before attempting intuitive eating is so critical. It’ll be difficult to find success with intuitive eating while still holding onto harmful beliefs about food. Once you repair your relationship with food, though, you can begin to approach intuitive eating.

How can you find effective eating disorder treatment? Seeking help at a specialized eating disorder treatment facility is oftentimes the first step. Programs like the one available at Shoreline Center for Eating Disorder Treatment offer the compassionate care you need to overcome your eating disorder.

Shoreline centers its approach around the crucial aspect of individuality in treatment. Everyone comes to the program with their backgrounds and experiences. Trying to apply a one-size-fits-all plan will only hurt, not help. Each person has a unique story that requires an individualized program tailored to their needs.

If you’re looking for that in-depth care, Shoreline can help. Fill out a contact form or give us a call today and we’ll be in touch! We’re here to help you through every step of the process from the very first moment you reach out. You never need to struggle with your eating disorder alone again; Shoreline is here for you.

Have you ever tried using positive affirmations? The self-help tool has grown in popularity over the years and people often stress their life-changing benefits. But why would someone stand in front of a mirror, look into their own eyes, and tell themselves, “I love you”? How does talking to yourself have any effect on your wellbeing or the way you see yourself?

While those in the self-help sphere have stressed the importance of affirmations and positive self-talk for decades, there seems to be some serious power behind their beliefs. Positive affirmations are one of the great ways to harness the power of self-talk and research is just now starting to focus on the truth behind the practice.

When it comes to body image, though, how helpful can self-talk be? It’s difficult for many people with body dysmorphia or an eating disorder to look at themselves in the mirror, much less say positive things about the reflection looking back at them.

What does positive self-talk consist of, how does it work, and why should you apply it to your life? Can the power of self-talk have a lasting impact on the way you see yourself? Once you understand the power of the connection between body image and the power of self-talk, you’ll feel far more confident in putting some effort toward altering your inner dialogue.

What is Self-Talk?

Everyone talks to themselves all day long, every single day. That internal monologue is a powerful thing and it’s taken years to develop it. The way you talk to yourself has a powerful impact on your self-esteem, your self-confidence, your interactions with the world, and your overall psychological well-being.

Think about it for a moment. How do you talk to yourself? Are you gentle with yourself or do you never seem to give yourself a break? Do you search out your perceived flaws when you look into a mirror or do you appreciate yourself for all that you’ve worked to become?

Most people are harsh critics of themselves. They seek out the wrong things, emphasize their shortcomings, and struggle to notice their positive attributes. Those who battle negative self-talk often call themselves names or say things they would never say to another person.

In reality, the harsher you are with yourself, the more self-conscious and stressed you feel. It’s exhausting to live with a critic in your head constantly reminding you of what a terrible job you’re doing and how awful you look while doing it.

Conversely, those who are committed to positive self-talk have a more positive attitude. They’re less stressed and have better self-esteem than those who put themselves down all the time. But if saying is truly believing, does self-talk work for body image, too?

How Does Self-Talk Affect Body Image?

Negative self-talk and body image typically go hand in hand. It’s even more pronounced for individuals who struggle with body dysmorphia or an eating disorder. You probably notice a few perceived flaws when it comes to your body image and have said a few less-than-kind things about yourself over the years. Do you have a hard time looking in the mirror without picking yourself apart?

Self-talk applies to body image, too. Too many people, men and women alike, tear themselves down over their physical appearance. Some women feel their stomach is disgusting or their muscles are manly. Some men believe their physique is much too small or their abdominals aren’t defined enough.

Whatever your specific body struggles are, self-talk feeds into your insecurities. When you focus on these perceived flaws it magnifies them in your mind and leads to more negative self-talk. Then the harder you are on yourself, the harder it is to make a change. How do you escape the negative self-talk cycle?

Adjusting Your Self-Talk

David Sarwer, clinical director at the University of Pennsylvania Center for Weight and Eating Disorders, is well aware of the language people use to describe their bodies. He works extensively with individuals trying to overcome their disordered eating behaviors and body dysmorphia.

When Sarwer works with patients he starts by teaching them to refer to themselves using gentler language. No matter which physical changes they make, if they don’t change their body image through self-talk then the changes won’t last. Positive body image starts by changing your thoughts, not by changing your body.

You can start changing your body image by using the power of self-talk, accepting your flaws, and seeing yourself in a more positive light. These changes won’t happen all at once, though. You can’t suddenly undo years of negative self-talk. But with time, patience, and persistence, you can adjust the way you talk to yourself to shift the way you see yourself.

If you’re struggling with negative self-talk and can’t make the changes on your own, professional treatment can help. It’s difficult to overcome severe body dysmorphia or eating disorders alone; reaching out may be the missing thing you need.

An eating disorder treatment facility like Shoreline Center is dedicated to providing individualized care to each person who comes through the doors. Shoreline recognizes that unique attributes and aspects make up every individual. Through our commitment to clinical excellence, evidence-based practices, and an overall compassionate approach, we’re here to help you every step of the way.

To learn more about the programs available at Shoreline, fill out our contact form or give us a call today!

“You are not your eating disorder.”

If you’re in eating disorder treatment, you’ve likely heard this phrase at least a few times. It’s repeated often by those in recovery. Your disorder does not define you. You are more than your condition. You can build a life apart from your eating disorder.

But how? It’s a lot easier said than done when you’re active in your eating disorder or early in your recovery. Can you imagine a life that doesn’t center around the foods you eat or don’t eat? The idea of building an identity separate from your eating disorder seems like an impossible feat.

Who are you?

If you’ve battled your eating disorder for a long time, you may not know how to answer this question. You might be able to think back to a time before your mind wasn’t consumed by food, exercise, and weight. Or maybe your eating disorder began during your adolescence and you can’t remember who you are without your condition.

But you can build an identity that doesn’t center around your symptoms. You can build a life that is more than your eating disorder. Your world doesn’t have to revolve around food or the scale or the mirror. Eating disorder recovery makes this possible.

When Diagnosis Becomes Identity

Adopting your diagnosis as an identity is not something that’s limited to eating disorders. People with all different kinds of illnesses use their conditions as a label for themselves. From depression to anxiety to chronic illness, many people build their identity around the conditions they struggle with.

It’s an understandable phenomenon when you have a condition that consumes your attention. Eating disordersusually bring people to a point where all they can think about is their weight and using their food intake to control it. It severely affects the way you navigate both your personal and professional life and often limits your ability to function every day.

When your diagnosis interferes with your family, friends, work, education, and general responsibilities, it’s difficult not to let it define you. Even if few or no people know about your condition it becomes the driving force in your daily life. Over time it may feel like you’ve lost yourself to your eating disorder and you can’t separate yourself from it.

Adolescents also struggle with separating their diagnosis from their identity when these conditions develop in their early teenage years. As they’re forming their sense of self, they’re also engaging in disordered eating behaviors. This may lead to the false idea that their eating disorder is part of their identity, creating a problem that lasts well into adulthood.

Eating Disorders Dictate Your Behavior

It’s difficult to separate who you are from your eating disorder because it often dictates your actions. Instead of living life free from the chains of disordered eating, those chains often determine what you do with your days, weeks, and months.

Your eating disorder decides whether you go out with your friends or spend time at a family barbecue, or whether you go to the gym and then head home for the “safe” foods stored there. It’s easier to stick with your routinebecause at least it’s predictable and you know what to expect.

Your thoughts were once completely consumed by how to avoid food and how to keep people from realizing what was going on. When you spend so much time building your life to accommodate your eating disorder, it’s hard to know who you are without those behaviors.

Building Your Identity Outside Your Disorder

If you aren’t your eating disorder then who are you? The beautiful thing about eating disorder recovery is the freedom it returns to you. It’s a long road to recovery but you’re allowed to discover who you really are. You get to build an identity outside of your disorder that’s free from food obsession, weight concerns, and compulsive exercise.

There is so much more to you than your eating disorder. Your story involves more than the disordered eating behaviors that crept into your life. Overcoming your eating disorder means you are a survivor and able to explore the world that’s now open to you. You can decide what you like to do, where you like to go, and who you like to spend time with.

Ask yourself the question: who are you without your eating disorder?

If you could do anything, go anywhere, or meet anyone, what would your life look like? Once you’re in recovery, you have the opportunity to answer all these questions and more. It might feel paralyzing to consider the vast world that’s open to you but it’s also full of possibilities.

How do you feel considering the view up ahead? Are you nervous? Curious? Ready to heal? Feeling hopeful? Do you feel a mix of emotions that’s difficult to describe? That’s okay – you get to experience all these things and more. Once you overcome your disorder through treatment, everything opens up to you.

Finding Help at Shoreline

Shoreline Center for Eating Disorder Treatment understands the difficulties of overcoming an eating disorder. Your symptoms are only part of the problem; the underlying condition runs much deeper. We work with you to uncover the story within and work through the things that hold you back from recovery. To learn more about the programs we offer, get in touch with us today. We’re ready and waiting to help you!

Oftentimes the idea of self-care brings to mind overindulgent spa treatments or shopping sprees. While there is a time and a place for facials and retail therapy, neither of those things qualify as authentic self-care. They’re also the reason many people equate self-care with selfishness.

Self-care is not about pampering yourself or treating yourself to the latest and greatest. It doesn’t require spending exorbitant amounts of money to feel better. Self-care is about taking the time to care for yourself in the most basic of ways. We often neglect self-care in favor of looking after others, whether that’s family members or friends. But setting aside space to check in with and show up for yourself is the basis of self-care.

Sure, self-care can involve some at-home skin treatments or taking a bath. It can also mean sitting out in the sun, going for a walk in nature, or something as simple as doing a craft or going to bed a little earlier. Everyone has their preferred self-care practices that help them get back to center. What are your go-to methods for self-care?

When practiced properly, self-care isn’t selfish. It helps you reconnect with yourself so you can show up in life as the best version of yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll feel more stressed and irritable and likely take these feelings out on the people you love. The following are 9 important reasons why self-care isn’t selfish.

1. It serves as a “time out” from the stresses of the world.

It’s hard to slow down and take a step back from everyday responsibilities when you’re in the thick of things. An object in motion stays in motion, after all. Setting aside time for self-care isn’t selfish; it carves out a little bit of space in your busy life to take a “time out” from all the stress of daily life.

2. It offers time to recharge.

You can’t recharge when you never take the time to slow down and rest. You probably convince yourself that you don’t have spare moments with all the things you need to get done. But if you don’t recharge then you’re quick to anger and frustration. Self-care is a time for you to pause, rest, and recharge so you can handle life with a clear head.

3. It allows you to engage in activities that you enjoy.

Oftentimes your interests end up pushed to the side when you have a full life with family, work, and friends. Self-care gives you the time to engage in activities that you enjoy without worrying about whether others enjoy them. Engaging in activities that you love makes it easier to participate in those that are less exciting later on.

4. It gives you space for self-reflection.

We are nothing without self-reflection. If you don’t pause and reflect on how you’re moving through life, you can easily do or say things that you don’t mean. Self-care isn’t selfish because it’s the perfect reflection time. Self-reflection asks you to consider your actions and empowers you to live intentionally.

5. It serves as a practice to redefine what’s important to you.

When you’re busy and get into the groove of things, you may forget to reconsider your priorities. Are the things you’re spending time on truly things you enjoy? If not, your self-care time gives you the opportunity to redefine what is and isn’t important to you.

6. It lets you show up authentically in the world.

When you’re spending time recharging and reflecting, it ensures that you’re showing up as the most authentic version of yourself. It allows you to clear away the aspects of yourself that hold you back to make space for your character assets.

7. It allows you to effectively care for others.

There’s truth behind the cliché of putting on your oxygen mask before putting on someone else’s. Until you know how to care for yourself and put it into practice, you’ll never be able to care for others effectively. For this reason alone self-care isn’t selfish; it allows you to better help others.

9. It reminds you that you are worth it.

It’s easy to forget that you’re worth the time and effort when you’re in the groove of daily life. Setting aside time for self-care isn’t selfish; it reminds you that you are worth the time and energy that you so willingly give to others.

10. It is an empowering practice.

Self-care is the most effective way to show up as the true, authentic version of yourself. When practiced properly, it’s an empowering practice that rejuvenates and reconnects you with you!

Finding Professional Help

Shoreline Center for Eating Disorder treatment is an intensive eating disorder treatment facility for anyone ages 13 and older. Our programs work with individuals trying to overcome anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and more. We approach treatment using a multidisciplinary team of specialists who understand the way eating disorders manifest.

Shoreline takes a compassionate, comprehensive path to treatment using evidence-based modalities with our clients. If you’re looking for an individualized, caring approach to eating disorder treatment, we are here to help. Reach out to us to speak with an admissions specialist today, who can answer any questions you may have or connect you to the program that’s right for you!

With all the societal pressure to maintain our appearance, it’s hard not to let it influence you. Beauty standards about body size cause people to act out in many unhealthy and harmful ways. For example, disordered eating is one of the most common and accessible ways to manipulate your physical appearance.

Eating disorders are behavioral conditions marked by compulsive, abnormal patterns of eating. These conditions are serious and oftentimes progressive and affect physical and psychological health and social function. Eating disorders cause severe disturbances in eating behaviors as well as thoughts and emotions.

There are three main types of eating disorders:

  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Binge eating disorder

Eating disorders affect an estimated 5% of the population, especially adolescents and young adults. Most individuals don’t start out recognizing their disordered eating. They’re simply trying to drop a few pounds or look a certain way. Others turn to food as a way to cope with overwhelming emotions or a lack of control.

After some time, though, these behaviors set in and the signs of an eating disorder become apparent. Have you reached this point? Are you asking yourself if you have an eating disorder?

Do You Have an Eating Disorder?

It feels scary to wonder whether you have an eating disorder. Losing control over what, how, and when you eat, whether you restrict or binge eat, is a terrifying place to be. You might try to convince yourself that everything is okay and you don’t have a problem, but it’s better to honestly ask yourself if you have an eating disorder. Answering these questions is a great place to start.

Do you worry excessively about your weight or body image?

Preoccupation with weight and body image are usually the primary motivators for eating disorders. If how much you weigh or the way your body looks influences the way you eat, this could be a problem.

How scary does gaining 3 pounds sound?

An overwhelming fear of gaining weight drives many people to restrict their food intake. You might weigh yourself multiple times during the day to make sure you’re not gaining weight. Sometimes the number on the scale even becomes the most important thing in your life.

When was the last time you went on a diet?

If you’re constantly trying new diets or adopting various food restrictions to manage your weight, you might have a cause for concern. Individuals with eating disorders turn to many different types of diets to keep their weight in check.

How often do you track the calories you eat?

Can you eat a meal without taking a mental tally of the nutritional content in your food? Keeping an obsessive log of the calories you consume is a common sign of disordered eating.

Is it hard for you to eat around other people?

Many people with eating disorders find it difficult to eat around others, whether it’s to avoid eating at all or for fearing judgment that they’re eating too much. It’s easier to eat or restrict at home and avoid the opinions of others.

Do you exercise more than the average person?

Behaviors like maintaining a rigid exercise regimen, feeling guilt or anxiety when you can’t work out, finding that your exercise interferes with other important activities, or not taking time off for injuries, are signs of compulsive exercise and may indicate the presence of an eating disorder.

Does it feel impossible to eat when you feel hungry, or to regulate how much you eat?

Do you ignore hunger cues in favor of restricting how much you eat? Or do you feel a total lack of control over how much you eat once you start? Both of these extremes are harmful and may be a sign of an eating disorder.

Do you make yourself throw up, or use diuretics or laxatives?

Self-inducing vomiting, using diuretics, and using laxatives are all methods to manipulate weight or avoid weight gain.

Do you use food as a way to comfort yourself?

Using food as a way to comfort yourself can help from time to time. When food is your go-to method of coping with difficult situations or emotions, though, this pushes into the territory of disordered eating.

Does manipulating what you eat give you a feeling of control?

Oftentimes people with eating disorders feel a lack of control in certain areas of their life so they seek control through regulating what they eat. Unfortunately, this regulation usually progresses to an unhealthy point.

Finding Help for an Eating Disorder

It’s not easy to come to terms with having an eating disorder but it’s the first step towards finding recovery. Letting go of the false sense of control that your eating behaviors give you is challenging but you don’t have to do it alone. Eating disorder treatment like the programs offered at Shoreline was a vital starting point for millions in recovery.

Shoreline provides compassionate and caring treatment for eating disorders in Southern California. Whether you’re looking for a residential program, day treatment, or intensive outpatient program, we have a level of care that’s right for you. Contact us through our online request form or give us a call to learn how we can get you the help you need today!

Humans long to be a part of a group of people who understand their experiences. The age of the Internet has connected people around the world and made it much easier to find people with similar experiences. The positive impacts of these connections are undeniable. For example, those struggling with rare conditions could now find others fighting the same battles.

At the same time, it’s impossible to ignore the darker side of these connections. Online eating disorder communities have been around since the use of the Internet became widespread more than 20 years ago. Back in 2001, Yahoo removed more than 100 pro-ED websites from its servers for promoting and sharing “tips” for anorexia and bulimia.

Now more people are online than ever before. The birth of social media made it even easier to discover these like-minded communities. Image sharing sites like Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest are notorious for connecting individuals battling active eating disorders. Though most platforms banned popular ED-related hashtags like #thinspo, it’s done very little to address the problem as a whole.

How have online eating disorder communities evolved over the years? What kind of impact do they have on the individuals trapped in the darkness of their disorder? And where can users turn for help when their algorithms keep them locked in an endless scroll of thinspiration day after day?

The Spread of Social Media and Eating Disorders

Image-sharing platforms like Instagram and Tumblr are hotbeds for girls seeking inspiration to continue pursuing their goal of thinness. Combining the words “thin” and “inspiration,” thinspo refers to content that persuades viewers to maintain their commitment to their disorders.

Thinspo consists of many types of content. Images of smiling women whose skeletal frames are seen beneath their skin. Food diaries outlining the minuscule amounts of nourishment users consume. Weight logs tracking “progress” to ever-decreasing “goal weights.” Girls battling EDs spend hours poring over feeds featuring hundreds of posts like these.

According to a 2012 exposé release by HuffPose, a treatment facility reported 30 to 50 percent of their adolescent patients are a part of ED communities on social media. They share tips for burning extra calories and ignoring the gnawing hunger pains. Whenever they feel tempted to give in to the discomfort, all it takes is a quick message to an online friend for encouragement to stick it out.

Social media platforms try to regulate the millions of images uploaded by users daily, but it is a daunting task. The endless barrage of thinspiration posts, masquerading as support, only serve to slash self-esteem, affirm negative body image, and keep girls locked in their disordered eating habits. Unless they find an alternative source of support, the outcomes are potentially deadly.

Breaking Free From Online Communities

The heartbreaking reality is that many of these girls find the community they so desperately need, but it’s in the wrong places. #Thinspo is a dangerous mentality to chase after but detaching from the ideology is no easy task. It’s not as simple as logging out of social media or deactivating accounts; overcoming the thinspiration mentality of eating disorders often requires intervention and treatment.

Thankfully, there is far more understanding and knowledge surrounding eating disorders today than ever before. Girls and women struggling with the severity of their disordered eating have many different resources available to them.

Intensive eating disorder treatment programs offer the support they strive for with a life-saving goal rather than a life-taking one. Treatment addresses the intense self-esteem issues and severe body dysmorphia that develops after spending time in these online ED communities. They help girls challenge the false beliefs they hold about food, exercise, body image, and especially themselves.

Treatment facilities use a combination of treatment methods including individual counseling, group therapy, nutritional education, and holistic methods to initiate recovery. Challenging and controlling old ideas is a daunting task and eating disorder treatment makes it possible.

If you’re looking for an informed, compassionate eating disorder treatment program for you or a loved one, Shoreline is available. We understand the complex and severe ways that eating disorders infiltrate a person’s life and are here to offer hope and solution. Give us a call today to let us know what we can do to connect you with the support you need.