It’s not new that the internet has a powerful influence on how we perceive our own bodies and eating habits. The space, which should be used for connection and sharing, often turns into a battlefield where what – almost always – loses is the users’ self-esteem. The pressure to fit into unattainable beauty standards, perpetuated by retouched photos and seemingly perfect bodies, has led to absurd concerns, such as guilt over what we eat and the eternal struggle with our own appearance.
Online food terrorism, characterized by extremist discourses about diets, dietary restrictions and exhaustive exercise, is disseminated on digital platforms, fueling anxiety around food.
This not only affects women’s relationship with food, but leads to a series of emotional and psychological problems.
Minas Gerais psychologist Juliana Pereira, a relationship specialist, warns that this obsession with unattainable standards can lead to eating disorders, depression and anxiety, damaging not only physical health, but also mental well-being.
“The internet creates an illusion that social validation is linked to appearance. There is a need to receive approval online, whether through likes or messages. This often leads to extreme behaviors, resulting in an unhealthy cycle.”
These constant comparisons with digital influencers and celebrities, according to the expert, lead women to constantly question what they see in the mirror and develop a negative relationship with food.
“To reverse this scenario, it is essential to invest in promoting self-acceptance and self-esteem. Emotional education from childhood, addressing the importance of body diversity and individual accessibility, can help build a solid foundation for a healthy relationship with the body and food. Furthermore, it is crucial to promote critical thinking in relation to messages and images disseminated on social media, teaching women to consider unrealistic standards.”
Psychotherapy and counseling also play a vital role in regaining self-confidence.
“By working with mental health professionals, women can explore their emotions, understand the triggers that lead to specific behaviors, and learn strategies to build a positive self-image and a balanced relationship with food. Because this distorted self-portrait also ends up influencing and impacting other relationships, including emotional ones, causing them to diminish or not feel worthy of having someone by their side.”
Furthermore, Juliana talks about the importance of social media platforms promoting a culture of accessible reach, prohibiting content that encourages unattainable beauty standards or that promotes food terrorism.
“Implementing strict policies can help create a healthier and more positive online environment,” he concludes.
Self-Acceptance and Compassion
: Learning to accept and love yourself, regardless of weight or appearance, is essential to building a positive self-image.
Take care of mental health
: This helps us reconnect with our body and emotions, developing greater awareness of the signs of hunger, satiety and emotions associated with eating.
: Seek help from a good professional psychologist to deconstruct unrealistic standards imposed by society and the media. This may involve cognitive-behavioral techniques to modify negative thoughts.
Establish Healthy Goals
: Instead of focusing on weight loss goals, adopt a balanced diet, engage in regular physical activity, and ensure you get adequate sleep.
Develop Coping Skills
: Learning flexible coping strategies to deal with social pressure and emotional triggers is crucial. This may involve relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, or creative activities to express emotions.
Have social support and limit your exposure to social networks
: Build a support network with friends, family who can offer a safe environment to share experiences and emotions and reduce time spent on social media, especially on accounts that promote unattainable beauty standards.
Don’t hesitate to seek help! This is essential to significantly impact your quality of life.
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