11 Apr How to Overcome the Comparison Trap on Social Media
Throughout our lives, we compare ourselves to others whether that be through accomplishments, looks, wealth, etc. It’s easy to forget that social media is a highlight reel of other people’s lives. We see their best moments, but don’t usually witness their struggles.
Social media can be an amazing tool, but when you’re constantly comparing yourself to others, it can be a recipe for disaster.
How social media can negatively affect body image
One of the main ways that social media can harm your body image is by exposing you to images of “idealized” body types, which can lead to you comparing yourself to them. A recent study has found an association between the frequency of comparing one’s own physical appearance to that of people they followed on social media and body dissatisfaction and drive for thinness.1 Another study that surveyed 1,000 men and women found that 87% of women and 65% of men compared their bodies to images they consume on social media and traditional media.2
It is important to remember that every body is different. Even if we all ate the same foods and the same amount for an entire year, we STILL wouldn’t look the same. This is because each person’s genetic makeup influences their bone structure, body size, shape, and weight differently. Not to mention we all live different lives, and each have different responsibilities.
Know that it’s OK to draw healthy inspiration and motivation from others when it comes to fitness and nutrition goals, but these goals must be healthy and realistic for you as an individual!
Here are my TOP tips on how to improve your body image:
- Examine who you are following on social media and unfollow accounts if they do not make you feel good. Instead, pay attention to accounts, people, and images that lift you up. Follow accounts that promote body positivity!
- Remind yourself that not all you see on social media is real. Know that social media images are filled with people presenting the best version of themselves.
- Express gratitude. Every morning or before you go to bed, write in a gratitude journal, listing both the small and big things you maybe take for granted that are good in your life.
- Reduce your time on social media. Give yourself a designated amount of time to check your social media accounts. You can set screen-time limits specifically for social media in your phone’s settings.
- Work on improving your body image by appreciating all that your body can do, wear clothes that are comfortable and that make you feel good about your body, stop “body-checking”, and remind yourself that “true beauty” is not simply skin-deep.
Remember: The only person you should be comparing yourself to is yourself. The more you practice these tips, the better you will feel about who you are and the body you naturally have!
- Jiotsa, B., Naccache, B., Duval, M., Rocher, B., & Grall-Bronnec, M. (2021). Social media use and body image disorders: Association between frequency of comparing one’s own physical appearance to that of people being followed on social media and Body Dissatisfaction and drive for thinness. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(6), 2880.
- Link between social media & body image. (2019, October 9). King University Online.
|Maryann Walsh, MFN, RD, CDE
Registered Dietitian/ Consultant