Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Eating Disorders via Pinterest

You only need to be on the Pinterest website for 5 minutes to encounter countless negative-body-image messages and way too many harmful E.D. temptations.  One is too many in my opinion.  However, there are millions of wrong messages.  (Not to mention the millions of airbrushed models that you can't help compare yourself to.)

In this post, I am going to show several images that I found on Pinterest and tell you why they contribute to eating disorder tendencies and why they are very destructive to your overall mental health.  (Literally, I found these images in less than 5 minutes.)

*Important note: If you struggle, or have struggled, with an eating disorder, and you do not feel that you are ready to approach this analysis without risking a relapse, then, by all means, please skip this post.  If you find that after reading this article you are tempted to revert to old E.D. behaviors, then I beg you to seek help.

Personally, I could not have read this kind of post two years ago without experiencing severe set-backs.  Any encounter with E.D. information would have set me off because I didn’t have proper help.  Even though this article is written with the intention to help, I understand how it can be harmful if you aren’t in the right place.

Why should you guard your body image?
You need to protect your positive body image because how you view yourself on the inside can be greatly effected by how you view yourself on the outside.  If you are not content and do not accept how you look or appear, then you will struggle to love yourself as a whole person.  In our world today, the human person is under many forms of attack.  One of those ways is through “self-hate”.  It is impossible to love properly if you don’t love yourself first.  Your body, your being, your life, and your talents are a gift from God.  He wants you to love yourself as He loves you: unconditionally, mercifully, compassionately, and without reservations.  He wants you to see yourself as He sees you.  You are beautiful, and you are Loved!

Also, your children, nieces and nephews, and the future generation will learn how to treat themselves (and others) by your example.  If you do not have a positive body image, then it is highly likely that your children will struggle with depression, anxiety, and eating disorder tendencies.

With that said, let’s dive in.

Caption: 67 ways to lose weight
What is wrong with this message:  In case you weren't successful in believing that your body is flawed, here are 67 more ways to bring you down.  67 ways to develop and eating disorder.  67 ways to make you believe that you must change in order to be loved.  This picture alone should tell you that dieting does not work.  Wouldn't you need just 1 way instead of 67?
Caption: Lbs and Calories, 0.1lb = burning 350 calories, 0.2lb = burning 700 calories, 0.3lb = burning 1050 calories...............1.0 lb = burning 3500 calories
What is wrong with this message:  Food in does NOT equal calories out.  First of all, every person is different.  Your stress level, amount of sleep, overall health, and many other factors contribute to how much food you need on a daily basis.  This picture is a result of a lab experiment NOT real life!  This chart is highly technical down to the 0.1lb.  If you are spending your time figuring out how to burn X amount of calories to lose X amount of pounds, you have exercise-obsessive eating disorder tendencies.
Caption: I may not be skinny, but I'm freaking awesome and that's basically the same thing.
What is wrong with this message: are trying to sound like you don't care about your weight.  In reality, you've just told us that you believe being skinny is awesome.  Being skinny is NOT more awesome that being comfortable in your own skin.  Being skinny will NOT make you happy.
Caption: Make Yourself Proud
What is wrong with this message:  This picture says "make yourself proud" but it has an airbrushed picture of an angry model showing off her flat stomach.  This picture says, if you go through life and spend all your time and energy trying to have the "perfect" body, you deserve to be proud of yourself.  Wait...huh?  No. No. NO.  Don't waste your life trying to have a flat stomach or thin thighs or toned arms.  I guarantee you will not be proud of yourself at the end.  On your death bed, are you really going to think, "Gee, I am so glad I spend all my time and energy trying to be thin"?
Caption: Sweat Everyday
What is wrong with this message:  Why do you want to sweat everyday?  Because you "should"?  Because you'd be a bad person if you didn't?  Because you'll die?  I don't get it.  Does a sauna count?  I like to exercise because it feels good and enhances the quality of my life.  Do I exercise everyday?  No.  Three days a week is good enough for me.
Caption: What you eat in private you wear in public.
What is wrong with this message:  Ohhhhhhh soooooo many things!  I don't even know where to begin.  First of all, this sentence is intended to shame a person into not eating in private.  Let me make one thing clear.  It's OK to eat by yourself or in private.  The situation they're alluding to in this message is binge eating.  Binge Eating Disorder is a REAL eating disorder.  If you are struggling with B.E.D., then you need to get professional help.  Shame and threats do not work.  Compassion and patience is the only way to recover from such illness.  Click here to read more about B.E.D.
Caption: Would you rather be covered in sweat at the gym or covered in clothes at the beach?
What is wrong with this message:  Again, this is a similar message like the one above.  The tactic is shame and threats.  What is wrong with wearing clothes at the beach?  Nothing.  Nothing, I tell you.  Modesty is the best sign to tell if someone has a good body image or not.  If you feel like you have to wear bikinis at the beach in order to be accepted, then you've got a distorted view of self-love.  Click here for more on this modesty/body image topic.  Want modest swimwear?  Click here.

My point of showing all these images is to make you aware that we are bombarded with extreme body image negativity.  We see it so much, everyday, every time we're on the computer, every time we look at a magazine - we are de-sensitized to it.  It’s a part of our culture now.  But we don’t have to put up with it.  We must seek to rid our lives of this poison.
I am sorry to be dramatic.  Look at it this way; the enemy wants us to hate ourselves.  If you do not love your body and do not treat it with respect, then you will be more likely tempted to sin.  If you have no self-respect and no boundaries, then the enemy can convince you it doesn’t matter, when it does, tremendously.  Your body image is important.  Don’t let the enemy win the battle that easily.


  1. I don't know what kind of settings you have on pinterest but you can pick the things that it filters for you. I only get gardening stuff and kids crafts and cooking things. I have never seen anything like those pictures above on Pinterest. Pinterest isn't the enemy but you still have to filter what you choose to look at on Pinterest.

    1. You're right, Nina. There is a lot of good on Pinterest. I can't blame it for the evil in the world. Its just that innocent people like my younger sister, who's 13, is subjected to images like the above. All I had to do was click on the popluar page and I found this pictures in less than five minutes. I will put the filter on mine and spread the word that its possible to do that...thanks for letting me know! And thank you for the feedback!

  2. As a fellow Catholic reaidng this, I have to give you a big AMEN SISTER! I'm with you on the "what you eat in private you wear in public" meme! FYI, this is a quote that fitspiration pinners and bloggers "borrow" from thinspiration.

    Another offending variant of the quote include "You are what you eat, so don't be cheap, fast, easy, or fake." (Heck forbid if one explicitly puts up a poster with that saying in a place where it's a food desert and it's 20 miles from a store where fresh fruits or vegetables are cheap/available!)

    Or how about my "favorite," "Abs are made in the kitchen?" Grrrr... Nothing feels so blood-boiling as this unholy quote feels (sorry, Messr. Moss). And it's sadly true. You have to cut calories and food groups; do militant exercise (which is what fitspiration promotes); and photo edit your pic to further enhance your midsection.

    I'm blessed to be gifted from my cousin the book INtuitive Eating last Christmas! I knew about the fishiness of a lot of fitspo, and the negative body image they promote impelled me to want that book for Christmas. This has been my second Bible to me, and even before I got the book, I was already making body positve and food-peaceful fitspiration boards on Pinterest! They all adhere to Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size (HAES) principles.

    With apologies to Messrs. Sole-Smith and Hilton Andersen, fitspitation needn't be thinspiration in a sports bra! Besides my boards, #StopFitspiration ( - it may sound like a misnomer but it's actually a social media movement promoting body-positive fitspiration) is a great place to be inspired to get moving without getting shamed to do so! I have other suggestions, but this is the one I strongly suggest. Let me know what you think about it when you take a glance at it!