Eating Disorders – How to Survive in a Fat-Shaming Food Culture

teenagers at the beach

New health trends and fads are continuously cropping up in today’s modern world. For the most part, these trends usually lead to health benefits to those that follow them. It can be a good thing, promoting a healthy lifestyle.


However, as good as the effects are, this also leads to serious and negative issues for some people.


Some people suffer from negative body image issues. While body image issues had long existed even before healthy living was a trend, a modern-day infatuation with thin models and super-fit bodies has made the psychological issues more intense.


Healthy lifestyles and those who lead them should not be blamed as there are many other factors to take into account.


Social media also plays a significant role. However, body image issues have constantly been the topics of discussion in recent years. Even celebrities have come out with their own body image issues. Fat-shaming, in particular, has become very common.

Body Image Issues and Fat-Shaming


A person’s body image refers to one’s own perception of his or her personal attractiveness. A negative outlook about oneself can lead to body image issues. People even sometimes equate self-worth with their attractiveness. It’s unhealthy. Many factors lead to people developing body image issues. Some of these factors are the following:


young woman in bedroom

  • Social media: Social media has undoubtedly influenced how people think they need to look to be attractive. It can create unrealistic expectations about how people should look and what people should strive to achieve.
  • Bullying: Body image issues also exist due to bullying. Recent studies show that many teenagers developed a negative body image when teased about their weight.
  • Culture and media: The media and modern culture excessively glorify the “perfect” body. Media gives people the idea that everyone needs to look a certain way to be desirable. It can cause many people to develop a negative body image.
  • Fat-shaming: Fat-shaming is a type of bullying that focuses on a person’s weight. Fat-shamers often criticize a person’s weight and lifestyle that can lead to weight gain. Note that anyone can be a subject of fat-shaming. Studies also show that fat-shaming in media and celebrities can affect the general public’s anti-fat sentiments.


Many other factors lead to a negative body image in people. Some eventually develop disorders, and these disorders can lead to further complications.

The Effects of Fat-Shaming


Fat-shaming can cause a whole slew of adverse effects on people. Some of these include loss of self-confidence, social issues, depression, and more. Very notably, fat-shaming can also cause people to develop eating disorders.


Knowledge about eating disorders has become more commonplace in recent times. Little do many people know is that there are more eating disorders aside from anorexia. Some of the most notable eating disorders are the following:


  • Anorexia nervosa: Anorexia is characterized by an excessive fear of gaining weight. It leads to the patient taking extreme actions to limit weight gain. Some of these include vomiting, excessive exercising, and many more. It’s a potentially life-threatening disorder.
  • Bulimia nervosa: Bulimia is also known as binge-and-purge, and is another fatal disorder. It involves a person eating excessively and unhealthily getting rid of the calories afterward. It is often a cycle in bulimia patients.
  • Binge-eating disorder: Bouts of excessive eating characterize this disorder. The main difference that this has with bulimia is that no effort is taken to remove the calories taken in.
  • Other disorders: There are other eating disorders that people can be diagnosed with. Some examples are ruminant disorder and restrictive food intake disorder.


These eating disorders can further cause complications in patients. These complications can either be mental, emotional, or physical.

Effects of eating disorders on patients

young woman struggling at gym with weight issues

Eating disorders can all cause negative effects on the people that are affected. Some of the notable effects of eating disorders are the following:


  • Mental and emotional disorders: Some people develop conditions like anxiety, depression, and other emotional issues because of eating disorders.
  • Social problems: Many people with eating disorders suffer from social problems. Examples of these include low self-esteem, social anxiety, or fear of being ridiculed by their peers. Many people with eating disorders shy away from socializing as a result.
  • Professional and academic issues: Eating disorders can impact a person’s professional or academic life negatively.
  • Substance use and abuse: Some people who suffer from eating disorders go on to use and abuse substances. Studies suggest that there is a strong relationship between eating disorders and substance abuse.
  • Health problems: Eating disorders can cause a person to lose or gain weight excessively. Sudden weight gain or weight loss can cause problems in a person’s physical health.


Eating disorders are far from simple. They can lead to many serious complications that can affect all aspects of a person’s life. This is why people need to have a positive body image.

Dealing with Fat-Shaming, Food Shaming & and Body Image Issues


There are ways of dealing with today’s fat-shaming and food shaming culture. Dealing with them properly can help prevent body image issues. Some good ways of surviving today’s fat-shaming culture or preventing eating disorders are the following:


  1. Developing good eating habits and exercising regularly.

Make sure that you develop good eating habits and not just starve to keep excess weight off. Many eating disorders are characterized by unhealthy eating habits even though the calorie count remains normal. Eating healthy is an excellent way of keeping off excess weight. Getting the right amount of nutrients every day can help keep you in top shape.


Regular exercise also plays a significant role. Also, make sure that you get the regular and proper amount of exercise. Excessive exercising can do you more harm than good. Staying in top shape because of a proper diet and regular exercise is essential. Your physical health impacts your mental and emotional health, after all.


  1. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

Did you skip a day of exercise? Did you eat more of that ice cream than you intended? Are you itching to eat a big, juicy burger but you don’t want to gain weight? Many cases of eating disorders can start this way. Make sure that you are not too hard on yourself when it comes to health concerns. Give yourself some time off, have a cheat day, and let yourself rest. A day off in a week of being healthy won’t impact you as long as you stay within controllable limits.


girl looks at plate of food

  1. Give yourself constant reminders about what you see on social media and modern culture.

A study showed that many people felt terrible after viewing the social media pages of attractive people. What you see on TV, in the movies, or social media does not reflect what everyone is like. Always remind yourself that many of these things cause unrealistic expectations. Most importantly, remind yourself that your appearance is not an indicator of your value as a person.


Studies have shown that lessening social media use can have positive effects on a person’s body image. Reducing time spent online may help.


  1. Seek and give support.

Family and friends should always be the first line of assistance in any problem. Body issues should not be an exception. Seeking support when you need it can help in reducing the amount of stress that you go through. It can also lower the negative feelings that you experience.


Lowering stress levels and dealing with negative emotions the right way can help you avoid developing eating disorders. Make sure that you also give help to family and friends when needed.


  1. Never condone bullying

Bullying is never okay. Never tolerate any form of bullying. Do not be afraid to stand up for yourself. Fat-shaming is a common occurrence. If you witness an instance of fat-shaming, do not be afraid to speak up. You can even take it a step further and impart on others the value of body positivity.


happy group of young friends

  1. Think positively within reason.

Think positively when it comes to your body image. It’s vital to staying happy. However do this within reason. For example, some people glorify obesity even though this can cause many health issues. Make sure that you still think positively within reason.



  1. Seek professional help

Not everyone can deal with these issues alone. If you feel like you or someone you know needs professional help, then seek a counselor.


There are many ways of dealing with today’s fat-shaming and body-shaming culture. Make sure that you deal with these healthily.


How to Cope with Fat-shamers & Eating Disorders in a Healthy Way


Fat-shaming can lead to many complications, and eating disorders are some of these. If you or someone you know needs help in this regard, contact Capital Choice Counseling.


Capital Choice Counselling has licensed and experienced professionals, and we have been serving the Ottawa area since 2006. We have an extensive range of services that you can make use of. Contact us here, or give us a call at 1-613-425-4257.