It is possible to use social media to support the life you want to live. Consider these expert tips for a more attentive online experience.
1| Branch out
Follow people who post about things other than their bodies or breakfast bowls.
“Instagram is a great place to look at pretty pictures of nature or photos of cute puppies,” explains the Emily Program’s chief strategy officer, Jillian Lampert, PhD, MPH, RD, LD. “It’s not the place to get health advice.”
2| Be discerning
“One problem with social media is that we don’t question what we see enough,” says Pamela Ramos, MD, psychiatrist for the Baltimore Food Recovery Center. Don’t trust people just because they have a large following.
Instead, think critically about their content. Are they making hyperbolic or unrealistic claims, and how might they be benefiting from them? Are they promoting calorie restriction or glamorizing certain body types? Those are signs to be wary of their posts.
3| Notice your reaction
Your own emotional reaction is a good clue as to whether someone’s platform can help or hurt you. “If you are looking at a message and you feel disappointed in yourself, or if you close the app feeling worse than when you opened it, this probably isn’t the best feel-good message. “, advises Lampert.
4| Set boundaries
Remember that you get to decide if you want to continue seeing someone’s posts. “When in doubt, it’s best to unfollow,” says psychologist Charlotte Markey, PhD.
5| Step away
If you find that social media is damaging your relationship with food, try spending less time scrolling. Set time limits for apps, turn off notifications, or take a social-media break.