Is social media benefiting us?

They say never meet your idols, you’ll always be disappointed. I am newish to YouTube and even newer to Instagram, so I am just getting to know these already well-established bloggers, vloggers and influencers. I have the body positive women that I follow but there are a few others that I like to follow just for fun. I didn’t see them ever invading my recovery minded lifestyle and I liked it like that. I could follow them just to see their apartments, where they travelled, how they did their makeup and what they wore. As time went on these influencers began to share their diet choices, as is their choice, and it concerned me. Honestly it was more than concern it was disappointment. I wanted to learn to do my makeup and watch someone declutter their closet without thinking that they were engaging in activities that are not in the mind frame of positivity and recovery. The fad right now is the Keto diet and that is popular in the influencer community as well. Again, what someone chooses to do with their own body is their choice, but I am then placed in a position where I must decide whether I continue to follow this person or not.

I decided to look up information on the Keto diet because all I knew it was the diet of the moment that cut out carbohydrates. This instantly sent off alarms in my heard. Eliminating an entire food group does not sound like a sustainable life change rather a short-term weight loss solution. According to the Harvard Health Blog the Keto diet causes the body to release ketones into the bloodstream. Cells prefer to use blood sugar which come from our main energy source, carbs When this cant happen our bodies break down the stored fat (hence the draw) into ketone bodies. This continues until our bodies can get carbs back for energy. The Keto diet does have its positives. There has been evidence to show that the Keto diet has reduced seizures in young children, improve sleep disorders and help those with Autism.  But the bottom line is the majority of people are not using it for brain or sleep disorders or Autism, they are using it to lose weight. The improvability of blood sugar control in diabetic patients, has shown only to be a short-term effect much like the weight loss. Concerns include the consumption of fatty proteins and lack of vegetables and fruits in their diets. Wellness diets are used when a person may need to minimize or even eliminate a food or food groups due to a health condition. This can become an issue when the person then decides to use it as a way to lose weight. They may continue to eliminate more foods or they may find themselves in a binge and restrict cycle. Rather than monitoring certain food intake for physical safety people end up in a yo-yo diet cycle. Their weight will drop but it will not likely last. For example, I know about 10 people who have self diagnosed themselves with a gluten allergy. Their favorite phrases are “I can’t eat that” to anything that looks like it may have a carb in it. This is actually not the point of the diet and now there are increasing amounts of gluten free options of breads, pastas and other barley or rye infused foods. The frustrating thing is that there are people who really have a gluten allergy or celiac disease can have symptoms including fatigue, bowel irritation, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain. Even having these symptoms don’t give you a pass to hop on an elimination diet. It is SERIOUS business to take this step and if its lasting it doesn’t mean you have a new way to lose weight.   Please note in terms of the Keto diet there is not enough long-term data to show if there are physical dangers to the body, but I would imagine that this “diet” will not stick around long enough for any concerns to be discovered. We are a culture who wants what we want, and we want it now. I’m not judging, I’m right in the middle of it. I have taken a step back when it comes to physical and mental health. I will not be more satisfied with my body if I lose 15 pounds by tomorrow or learn to love the body I have in the next year. I will experience that initial high, but it will taper off and my issues will sneak back in. Change takes time. A true lifestyle change is necessary for anything to stick.

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So whats a girl ( I use the term girl loosely as I am 35) to do when her favorite beauty vlogger is dropping weight, promoting the Keto diet and sharing her continued slip ups from the diet? If you are strong enough in your recovery journey, something only you can determine, then you can continue to watch that person for the content that you do enjoy. Right now I feel I can ignore any content that discusses her personal life. And truth be told I can find someone else. The internet is oversaturated with vloggers, bloggers and instagrammers. I have found one particular influencer, @allanaramaa, who is just a ray of sunshine and you can’t help but smile when you watch her videos. She embraces her body, her workouts and her love of food. Lastly, I can say something. There is always a space to leave a comment sharing my opinion on body positivity and how yo-yo diets like the Keto diet don’t fit together. Spread the word and educate. Even if the original person may not hear you someone else may learn more about body positivity and a healthy lifestyle that can be maintained. It is easy to say screw it and stay off of social media all together. However, there are so many body positive resources and eating disorder recovery supporters that it is worth it to wade through the crap to get to them. With that being said you have to know where your resolve is because a PROANA rabbit hole is always waiting for you to get lost in. So follow my lead and watch some makeup tutorials, cute goats and body positive girls and guys. Look me up on instagram @balderamarandi