The only detox you'll ever need? A social media detox! Learn why ridding your life of negative influences and curating a more diverse view of beauty can build positive body image.
de - tox / noun /
A process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances.
Ahhh the detox. Right up there with "bad" and "clean" that when used in the context of eating, is like nails on a chalkboard to me.
The idea of a detox is that by eating (or more commonly drinking) a diet limited to only foods perceived as pure, the body is able to eliminate accumulated toxins. According to wellness gurus everywhere, health, vitality and a Jennifer Aniston figure are a few days of green juice away.
In reality, our body does the cleansing and detoxing for us, as this video hilariously explains. The idea that weird concoctions of lemon juice, cayenne and maple syrup or cleansing teas hawked by Chuck Bass from Gossip Girls are any more effective than your lungs and liver is kind of absurd.
That said, there is one type of detox that I can get down with - a social media detox.
Last week in my post on the Thin Myth, I discussed how the greatest barrier my clients face in achieving wellness is overcoming their focus on getting thin. A desire to lose weight or achieve a certain body type inevitably leads to restriction which inevitably leads to binging and emotional eating.
It's a predictable cycle.
There's no shame or blame in wanting to be thin. We're exposed to countless messages each and every day telling us health, happiness, and acceptance are all within grasp....if only we can achieve an "ideal" body. It's a problem with society, not with your thinking. In psychology, there's a theory that I think is called the social comparison theory (yay just googled it and it IS called the social comparison theory - check out that psychology degree paying off!). It postulates that as humans, we are hardwired to accurately evaluate ourselves and we do that by comparing to others. When we've created an artificially narrow definition of beauty that doesn't at all reflect the diversity you see in the real world, it's no wonder we feel inadequate.
There's no way to avoid all of these messages - the Weight Watchers commercial that pops up during your favorite show, the people next to you on the train chatting about their attempt at the latest fad diet, the cover of fitness magazines staring at you in the grocery checkout.
However you do have control over what messages you consume on social media. With social media, you can curate a world that more accurately represents reality and how beauty should be represented - diverse, inspiring, inclusive, imperfect and empowering. By consuming more positive social media influences, this in turn changes how you perceive the world and can actually create a more positive body image.
[Tweet "The only detox you'll ever need...a social media detox!"]
How to go on a social media detox in three steps:
- Go to all your social media accounts - instagram, facebook, pinterest...all the ones I've never heard of because I'm too old. Don't forget facebook friends, because these people can have a powerful impact. Make a list of all the blogs, newsletters and magazines you subscribe to.
- Take an honest look at each influence. Does it leave you feeling inspired, joyful or create a sense of community or camaraderie? Do you feel neutral about it? Or does it make you feel insecure, inadequate or angry. If it's the latter, unfollow. There's no place in life for influences and messages that don't serve you.
- Actively search out inspiring, body positive social media accounts. Diversify your mental image of beauty. Not sure where to start? Five of my favorites are listed below!
[Tweet "A three step method for detoxing your social media! #bodypositive"]
Five Best Body Positive Social Media Accounts:
EFF YOUR BEAUTY STANDARDS (Instagram) // Run by seven body positive ladies and one guy (who is a Columbia, SC native! Woohoo!), this account features gorgeous and fashionable men and women proving style has no size.
THE MODERATION MOVEMENT (Facebook) // Run by an Australia based private practice dietitian and a trainer, they share links and quotes that promote balance in food and fitness.
TESS HOLLIDAY (Instagram) // One of the most stunning and clasically beautiful models I've ever seen. She's also the largest plus size model to get signed to a mainstream modeling agency.
ANASTASIA AMOUR (Facebook) // I just love the wit and honesty of this body image and self esteem coach, who survived an eating disorder and now helps men and women discover self love.
BODYPOSIPANDA (Instagram) // For all the super cute body positive memes.
What are some of your favorite body positive and inspiring social media accounts? Feel free to share in the comments below!