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Here Are Some of The Ways That Social Media Diet Culture Can Affect Bariatric Patients (And Yourself)

What Is Social Media Diet Culture?

someone taking a picture of food on a smartphone

Social media diet culture is the influence of social media in society and expectations around body image and dieting. This includes the promotion of "quick fixes" and extreme weight loss methods.

The most common types of these unhealthy methods include collagen powder, green tea pills, or even taking medication to lose weight.

While there are many social media moguls trying to spread body positivity, there are still many who glorify extreme thinness and provide a constant stream of "before and after" transformation photos that sometimes do more harm than good.

This toxic culture leads to unhealthy behaviors, such as obsessively tracking food intake and exercise or engaging in disordered eating patterns, like binge eating or anorexia. It can also create pressure for individuals to conform to certain beauty standards and unrealistic trends on Instagram and TikTok.

Over time, constant comparison between yourself and heavily FaceTuned and Photoshopped photos can lead to overall negative thoughts and behaviors.

Social media diet culture can have a negative impact on physical and mental health, and it's important for individuals to be mindful of this influence and strive for a healthy relationship with these platforms.

How Diet Culture Is Promoted on Social Media

bowl and utensils covered in unhealthy diet pills and waist tape measurer

Social media platforms are filled with images and messages promoting quick fixes, like fad diets and extreme weight loss methods.

Fad diets can also be particularly harmful for bariatric patients who have undergone weight loss surgery and are often advised to follow strict dietary guidelines and make lifestyle changes. Engaging in fad diets can undermine the positive effects of weight loss surgery and may even be dangerous to one's health.

Seeing these unrealistic and potentially unhealthy weight loss methods leads to feelings of inferiority and frustration for bariatric patients, and can even discourage them from sticking to their own weight loss journey.

The constant stream of "before and after" transformation photos creates a lot of pressure for bariatric patients because of the sudden urge to look fit or thin after surgery.

Fad diets can really undermine the positive effects of weight loss surgery and can be extremely dangerous to your health.

Comparing Yourself on Social Media Can Be Dangerous

self-conscious about oneself in the mirror

Social media also increases the temptation to compare yourself to others. This is especially dangerous for bariatric patients, as they are already at a vulnerable stage (mentally and physically) in their weight loss journey.

Seeing others who seem to be losing weight faster or achieving better results can lead to feelings of self-doubt and straight-up just not feeling good about yourself when you look in the mirror.

It's so important to remember that everyone's journey is different, and it's not healthy or productive to compare yourself to anyone else.

Bariatric patients must focus on their own progress and celebrate their own victories, rather than feeling discouraged by the perceived success of others (“perceived” is the key word here).

Remember that no one on social media posts their failures, only their wins.

Try To Find a Healthy Relationship With Social Media

family laughing together at something on a smartphone

While it may not be possible to completely avoid the influence of social media on body image and diet culture, there are steps that bariatric patients (and everyone else as well) can take to develop a healthy relationship with these platforms.

First and foremost, it's important to remember that social media is not always an accurate representation of reality. The "perfect" bodies and lifestyles depicted on these platforms are often heavily edited by apps, like FaceTune and Photoshop, and it's important to always keep this in mind when comparing oneself to others.

It can also be helpful to follow accounts and hashtags that promote body positivity and self-acceptance.

Surrounding yourself with daily positive and supportive messages can really help to counteract the negative influence of diet culture on social media.

Finally, it's important to remember that the most important part of a healthy weight loss journey is not the number on the scale but rather the overall improvements in physical and mental well-being.

Bariatric patients should focus on their own progress and well-being rather than getting caught up in the comparison trap of social media.

It is also significant to note that no specific eating plan works for everyone!

Falling into the trap of fad diets can be super detrimental to your mental health and overall weight loss goals. When you're dieting, you typically go through periods of extreme restriction to periods of regular (or binge) eating, making weight loss much harder.

Hopefully You've Learned Something New Today!

Bariatric surgery can be a powerful tool for achieving healthy weight loss, but the journey toward successful weight loss is not easy by any means.

Social media can play a significant role in shaping body image and diet culture, and it's important for bariatric patients (and everyone else trying to lose weight) to be mindful of this heavy influence and take steps to really create a healthy relationship with these platforms.

By focusing on their own progress and well-being, bariatric patients can successfully navigate the challenges of social media and maintain a healthy weight loss journey.