The diet culture and media images of a perfect body have set a wrong example of how one should look. People start comparing their selves to these unrealistic standards and do not realize that they are beautiful as they are. The wish to look a certain way or look like a certain model, actress/actor or celebrity becomes so great that people go to extremes to be like them. In the process, they harm their mental and physical health alike. Eating disorders are on a rise because of this social comparison.
Social Comparison and Diet Culture
Khushi Jain sadly experienced the diet culture getting to her and developed eating disorders. She remembers that as a teen, she used to often compare herself to models like Kendal Jenner. Khushi mentioned, “We both had the same height. But I found her so perfect and wanted to look like her. The dissatisfaction with self-lead me to take extreme measures to lose weight.”
The Effects of Diet Culture
Khushi remembers that she was all good up until she competitively swam. When she stopped swimming in 2020, the diet culture got to her. She started worrying about everything she ate and developed an obsession with clean eating seen in orthorexia. She had a compulsive need to maintain an extreme calorie deficit. Khushi Jain didn’t realize when her habit developed into a full-blown eating disorder.
Struggling With Acceptance
Khushi Jain mentions, “My eating disorder made everything tough for me. I constantly criticized my body, and there was a lot of negative self-talk. The biggest struggle during recovery was to accept my body as it was and realize the fact that how I feel about my body won’t be the same every day. But in the process, I learned to accept my body.”
Eating disorders like Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa are harmful to mental and physical health. They constantly make a person feel unworthy and unsatisfied with their bodies. Individuals with Anorexia Nervosa try to maintain a below-average weight by eating very less and exercising way too much. People with Bulimia Nervosa overeat and then purge through their fingers or laxatives. Both the disorders are life-threatening.
Spreading Awareness On Diet Culture, Eating Disorders, and Unrealistic Expectations
Khushi’s experience with an eating disorder made her realize that many other people might also be suffering from body image issues and eating disorders. She realized that it was very important to spread awareness about the issue and make people understand the importance of accepting themselves. For this, Khushi started an Instagram Page @shetalksandeats. Through her Instagram handle, Khushi talks about body image issues, eating disorders, and what is considered healthy eating and diet. She raises awareness about how diet culture causes harm, and one should refrain from following it. The diet culture focuses too much on being perfect. Diet culture should not be followed as diet culture can lead to mental and physical health problems.
Self-Acceptance and Kindness
Khushi Jain mentioned, “There is nothing wrong with wanting to be healthy and fit. But there is a difference between starving yourself and trying to be healthy. Moderation between everything is a necessity. Too much for anything is not good for health. I remember when I was suffering from an eating disorder, my therapist asked me if I would treat my friends the same way I am treating myself. It made me realize that I need to be kinder to myself. I am learning to love and accept myself the way I am daily, and I hope to reach out to as many people as I can.” Mad4India wishes Khushi Jain all the best in all her future endeavors!
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