“Let’s Eat Together”: TikTok Users Aim To Help Teens With Eating Disorders
To combat the harmful eating and diet content often found on social media, TikTok users are creating content that promotes body positivity and aims to help those experiencing eating disorders.
Though social media has brought about plenty of hilarious trends, viral dances, and sassy political pranks, it is also responsible for spreading diet, eating, and fitness trends that may be unsubstantiated or harmful — especially for viewers who are dealing with eating disorders.
Several TikTokers want to combat those trends, including 18-year-old Chicagoan Sara Sadok and 22-year-old New Jerseyite Chris Henrie, who are creating content to promote body positivity and help those experiencing eating disorders.
Sadok has posted many empowering videos for her 302,000+ followers encouraging users to stop trying to fix their bodies or comparing themselves to people they see on the internet.
She also creates “Let’s Eat Together” videos where she invites users to have a meal with her while encouraging them through each bite.
Sadok told “Good Morning America” she was inspired to make these videos after finding out a friend of hers was struggling with these issues.
"I wanted to be able to help her as well as anyone who's suffering with an eating disorder just as she is," Sadok said. "And since we're in the middle of a pandemic, and you're unable to see your friends and family as often as you'd like to, it's much easier to slip back into old habits even if you are recovering from an eating disorder."
Henrie, who currently has more than 302,000 followers on TikTok and more than 14,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel, has personally recovered from an eating disorder, and creates videos containing advice, commiseration, and encouragement.
“Through my videos, I try to illustrate a real and non-fabricated look at what recovery looks like, and I think people are drawn to and relate to a lot of what I say,” he told Teen Vogue.
According to an NBC report, the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) has seen a 70% increase in the number of calls and online chat inquiries to its hotline during the coronavirus pandemic compared to last year.