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ED Hell
The Media And Its' Influence
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The Media And Its' Influence

Contrary to popular belief the media DOES NOT cause eating distress.  However, it can certainly be counter-productive in recovery.  I believe that people are born with a predisposition on whether or not they have the likelihood of developing eating distress. 
If the media were to blame for causing eating distress, I sincerely believe, that there would be a lot more sufferers walking the streets.  Even though the numbers are probably higher than anyone realises, they would most certainly be a lot higher if the media were to blame.
I am a sufferer of eating distress, and have suffered in this hell for longer than I would care to admit.
I am not going to tell you about how I used to look at photos in magazines to trigger myself, nor am I going to talk about how I used to gorge (no pun intended) diet/healthy eating articles, other peoples stores of suffering/recovering from this hell etc, for the simple reason, that we have heard it all before.  As a whole, magazine NEVER did hold any interest for me, UNLESS they had articles pertaining to the above in them - it really does make you wonder.  But it also shows you, that the media are feeding into the minds of sufferers, and hence, at the end of the day are making a profit!  In my opinion, that is all they care about, and to hell with the consequences.  Now that is hardly beneficial for sufferers!
Speaking from my own experience, I do not blame the media for my eating distress - but it has definitely helped me stay in this destructive cycle for longer than I would care to admit.  On my road to recovery it has definitely been a hinderence. 
What I am going to talk about was this one article that appeared in a magazine only a few years back (1999), at a time that I deemed myself "recovered", but obviously, by the mere fact that I picked up that magazine on that forsaken day, that was far from the case.  Although the intentions of this particular article were good, it did have a negative impact on how I took it.  I have also since realised, that I was never really "recovered" - the food issues never really did leave me.
The intentions of this particular article, on the outset, appeared to be good in that it was highlighting a relatively "new" trigger that people who suffer with eating distress use.  But, the fact that this particular article was in a teenage magazine meant that either the editors of the magazine were totally clueless, or they just wanted to sell the magazine, to vulnerable people like me who would use it as a tool.  I honestly do not believe that anyone could be as clueless as that.  Now, come on!  The article also claimed that eating distress was seen as the "new cult".  (I have chosen not to mention what the specifics of this particular article were as it could be triggering to some, even though I am in recovery I still get triggered ever so easily).  Before picking up this particular article I had absolutely no idea about this "new" method of triggers.  To make matters worse, this article not only highlighted the fact that it existed, but it even went so far as to get more specific than that.  It was not merely stating the facts.  That was definitely a turning point, for the worse, during my suffering with eating distress.  From the point I read that particular article I started using this "new" trigger on a daily basis.  This "new" trigger became my religion.

When you are being bombarded with articles such as this 24/7, and do honestly want out of this hell it does not make it any easier.  Ok, fair enough, I can choose not to buy a particular magazine on a given day.  It is not as easy as that I'm afraid - one day I may be strong enough not to buy a given magazine, but on another I just have to have it, despite the consequences. 

Also, the media does not stop with just newspapers/magazines.  The media takes many forms - these include newspapers, magazines, television, internet and radio.  The list is endless.  Personally, I believe that the visual forms have been the most harmful during my time in this destructive cycle.  You turn on the tv, you open a magazine or newspaper, you surf the net, and you are being bombarded with images.  One thing that we the sufferers, and also the general public, tend to forget is that most, if not all, images of models and/or celebrities that we see in magazines or newspapers have been airbrushed.  What we see is not real!  It would be virtually impossible to recreate that image in the real world.  At least, without it having some adverse affect to our health.  A philosophy that I have always followed is "if you feel healthy what does anything else matter", but having gone so long with being out of touch with what that is, it is hard to know what is real, and what is not.  Sometimes it is hard to differentiate between your true self, and the ed.
You turn on the tv, and again, you are being bombarded with adverts - which diet is better.  They all go to great lengths to tell you how great these diets are, and that they are the greatest thing since sliced bread.  But do they even tell you of any of the harmful affects these diets can have on your body and/or health?  No, they simply do not!  Why is that?  Because they want you to buy the book, the video or whatever their product of choice is.  It is imperative that before you buy into any of these influences to educate yourself.  Their goal is to make a profit - and to hell with the consequences.
"An informed consumer is a wise consumer"
"An uninformed consumer is a fool"
The internet for me has had a negative influence.  For example, only this morning when I checked my e-mail, I had received yet some more spam mail in my inbox from an internet diet company.  Sorry, but this is mockery!
Fact: Over the past twenty years, the average weight of women has increased, whereas the average weight of models over the same time span has decreased.  Now, what kind of message is that sending out?  What happened to the times when people like Marilyn Monroe were seen as being the essence of health/beauty.
So, what can be done about these messages that are being sent out?  Action is what is required - write to the media, and let them know that you are dissatisfied with how image is being portrayed in their magazines.  Even some of the health orientated magazines can be quite harmful.  They should talk less about diets, and more on healthy eating.  If you want to become pro-active in this check out the media group site on the links page.   
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder".  Dare you believe it?