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The COVID-20: The Not-So-Funny Weight Meme

Posted by on May 1, 2020 | Comments Off on The COVID-20: The Not-So-Funny Weight Meme

The COVID-20: The Not-So-Funny Weight Meme

You’ve scrolled passed them in your timeline and read the headlines.

It’s nearly impossible not to scroll past memes, jokes, or TikTok videos related to our current reality of social distancing. While reposting a meme or joke can bring comedic relief to a bleak or frustrating situation, some memes promote harmful messages too.

Stop us if you’ve heard this one:

  • “So far COVID-19 is looking a lot more like my Freshman-20.”
  • “My weight gain graph these past few weeks looks like COVID-19 cases in the US…”
  • “Wearing a mask inside your home is now highly recommended. Not so much to prevent COVID-19 but to stop eating.”

Comments and jokes about weight gain or post-quarantine bodies have unfortunately become a normal occurrence on our timelines. This is an example of diet culture.

Diet culture is the belief that there is only one right way to have a body. Media, entertainment, social media, and peers play roles in increased pressure and expectation to look a certain way. Those unrealistic societal standards can lead individuals to be restrictive with their eating, fixate on calorie counting, and try to attain an impossible standard for their body, simply because society’s pressures have taught us that our value is dependent on our appearance and body type. Media outlets have also gotten into discussion with headlines as like:

“School closings drive risk for weight gain, unhealthy behaviors among children”

We get it. It’s important to acknowledge we are all living in a time when social media has become more important than ever for staying connected. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat – they’re platforms that allow us to relate to each other and open up about our stressors during this unusual time. While social media provides connection, it also makes it extremely easy to forget how many individuals can view our posts and the impact it might have on those people and their experiences. Someone dealing with disordered eating won’t read those headlines and memes the same way someone else will.

How can you help maintain mental wellness and promote a more body positive culture online? Try these four tips:

1. Think Holistic Health

Society often associates body size and weight as the main measures of health. Holistic health stresses the importance of caring for your physical, mental, and emotional health. It recognizes all three are important for our mental wellness. During isolation, try mindfulness meditation, journal, go on a walk, and take social media breaks.

2. Practice Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating is about finding a balance in the food we eat. Intuitive eating recognizes that our bodies need different things and supports us with maintaining a healthy body image. Practice intuitive eating by normalizing food and remembering food brings us the energy we need. Check out our blog post about healthy, happy eating here.

3. Body Positivity

All bodies are good bodies. Navigating negative body messages promoting diet culture can be a challenge. Combat it by filling your social media feeds with body positive individuals.  Some of Ophelia’s Place’s favorite body positive advocates are:  

4. Practice Self Compassion

The messages diet culture promotes have been ingrained in us from the beginning. They can be challenging to combat because we’ve always known them to be “normal.” Be kind to yourself. Spend time recognizing your strengths. Appreciate all that your body can do. Learn more about living a more body positive life by checking out our 10 Steps to a Positive Body Image.