National Eating Disorders Association

In today’s culture, social media has begun to dominate even more of our lives, and its influence can quickly turn negative, according to a new study that focuses specifically on the effects of Instagram. 

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How often do advertisements and social media posts generate discussion not about the cause of the post or advertisement, but because of the way the message was delivered?

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Social media has such a defining impact on our society, despite only increasing in popularity within the past few years. This is particularly true when it comes to young adults and eating disorders.

A study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine revealed that young adults who use social media a lot are more likely to develop negative body images and eating disorders.

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It’s a social media phenomenon. It’s in our faces every day. But for those of us with body image struggles, does it help or hinder? “Love your body!” So cries social media, preaching a shiny gospel of body positivity to all of us. At first glance, this seems a welcome oasis amid the onslaught of shaming advertisements and fitness and diet posts.

The “body-posi” movement can be beneficial in so many ways, but we need to have a bigger conversation about it—which aspects of the movement are actually beneficial, and which parts can, themselves, be triggering and harmful? 

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In honor of World Eating Disorders Action Day, NEDA is hosting a Twitter chat to explore the relationship between body shaming, bullying and eating disorders. Join us Thursday, June 2nd at 1PM ET and follow #WeDoAct

Body Shaming, Bullying and Eating Disorders

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I have been doing a lot of reflection lately about my eating disorder journey, and what it was exactly that made me come to my senses and recognize that I needed to start recovering before it got as bad as it could have gotten. I read a lot of books, blogs and emails written by others who have suffered and in many ways dealt with their illness for much longer than I did, and it has caused me to stop and think — what was it that made me come to my senses after two years of intense restriction? What caused that shift?

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For years, my body didn’t belong to me. It was my disorder’s. Signed and paid for with my own self-hatred; countless hours at the gym on almost zero food; a scrap of paper I kept in my calendar to proudly mark the number of calories I’d burned, far greater than what I’d consumed. My anorexia had had her brittle hands on me for years, and I didn’t want to admit it. She was with me when I tried on wedding dresses, forcing me to choose the one I felt least fat in. She would whisper in my ear every time I bought groceries.

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For the week of April 27th–May 1st, the CSU Northridge Proud2Bme On Campus team has created a 5 Day Photo Challenge activity on social media. The idea came about after a successful week of campus events during NEDAwareness week.

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 The Internet has played a complicated role in my battle against an eating disorder.

In the depths of my illness, I used to scour the web to learn how to become a “better” anorexic. I was a slave to it. With every year that I lived with it (twelve in all), anorexia consumed increasingly more of my mind and body, until its goals fused completely with my own. I wanted—I needed—to lose weight, and the Internet, a vast fund of information and pro-eating disorder communities, seemed to hold the key.

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