In this blog post, we shall answer the question “did Meredith Foster have an eating disorder?” and look at what body dysmorphia is, its causes and its symptoms. We shall also look at the treatment available for body dysmorphia.
Did Meredith Foster have an eating disorder?
Yes, Meredith Foster had an eating disorder. Though people first speculated that she suffered from anorexia nervosa, the actress denied the claims. She later confessed to having body dysmorphia. Before getting into detail about Meredith’s eating disorder, let us first look at who Meredith Foster is.
Who is Meredith Foster?
Meredith Elaine Foster is a 27-year-old American lifestyle vlogger who gained popularity due to her YouTube vlogs on lifestyle, beauty tips and makeup tutorials. Her self-titled channel has over 400 million views, while her second channel, called ‘VLOGSBYMERE’, has over 900k subscribers.
In 2017, her fans and followers started speculating that she was having an eating disorder. This was after numerous observations that she was getting thinner and had a vigorous fitness routine that made her cut a lot of weight.
Her fellow bloggers also fueled the rumours saying that they were concerned about the health of a friend. Meredith started a new workout and dieting regime that made her body frame even smaller. In July 2017, she took to her YouTube and denied having an eating disorder.
She then took a three months break from social media, and when she resurfaced, she admitted to having struggles with accepting her body. She captioned a side-by-side picture, one from May 2016 and the other from December 2016 and wrote, “I used to have so many negative thoughts about my body. I never felt good enough, even though I was…even though I had achieved a goal of becoming fit I still did not accept or love myself fully”.
This statement is a clear indication that she was having body image issues which is a symptom of a disorder called body dysmorphia. The unhappiness caused by dissatisfaction with her body made her engage in vigorous workouts to try and correct her perceived flaws.
Meredith Foster also implied that social media played a part in her developing body dysmorphia by saying, “If you find yourself on social media comparing yourself to others, let go of that thought and replace it with an affirmation: I am enough. I am beautiful. I am worthy. Our bodies are all made differently and will have routines that make them feel the happiest, so listen to what your body tells you.”
Foster also addressed those who criticized and accused her of having anorexia nervosa by saying, “spread words of encouragement. At the end of the day, our bodies are just a vessel for the soul. Treat your body the way you want your soul to be treated; gently, with love and tenderness.”
She now seems to be fully recovered, as she started posting photos of going to an In-N-Out burger with her boyfriend, something that she had not done in two years. “My goal for 2018 is to spread as much compassion and light as I can’ and her mantra is ‘to be beautiful not in the way your body looks but in the way your mind and soul work,” she said.
What is body dysmorphia?
It is a mental disorder where one spends a lot of time focusing on flaws in their appearance. Just like Meredith Foster, most of these flaws are perceived or too tiny that other people cannot recognize. People of all ages can get body dysmorphic disorder, but it is most common among teenagers and young adults.
Common features people with BDD focus on:
- Facial features like the nose or lips
- Size and shape of genitalia and breasts
- Body hairs and facial hairs
- Skin, i.e. moles, freckles, acne or scars
- Muscle size or tone
Signs and symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder
The signs and symptoms of BDD include:
Hiding so that others cannot see the offending body part
This is isolating yourself by avoiding work, social gatherings, school and public places so that others may not see you or leaving the hours during odd hours when people are unlikely to see you. Meredith stayed away from social media for three months and people presumed that she did not want to be seen.
Undergoing plastic surgery to correct the perceived imperfection
Undergoing procedures, thinking they will fix your problems, but even after it is done, you don’t get satisfied with your results
Spending a lot of time camouflaging or hiding the perceived ugly body part
You use makeup, accessories, or clothing to cover up your flaws. You might also position your body in a way that covers your flaws, wear hats or put on baggy clothes to hide your flaws.
Comparing yourself negatively to others
You compare yourself to pictures of your younger self or with celebrities and criticize yourself using those as comparisons. Meredith hinted that social media contributed to the development of her body issues as she found herself comparing herself to other people.
Overspending on personal grooming
You spend most of your income on products that will enhance your look and after a while; you get delusions about these products and therefore look for other better treatment options.
Risk factors of BDD
The risk factors of BDD include:
Attaching your value to how you look makes you become obsessed with how you look, as it is what makes you feel valuable. This can be seen in the case of Meredith who did not like how she looked. Having low self-esteem can make you become fixated on certain aspects of your body.
Fear of rejection or being alone
If you feel your body has to be a certain way so that you can fit into a certain group of friends or have a partner, there is a likelihood of developing BDD as you would do anything to maintain those standards. The breakdown of the friendship or relationship might worsen the symptoms and make you more concerned about your appearance.
Striving for perfectionism
Meredith Foster was trying to become physically perfect and this can make one develop BDD. wanting to look like the celebrity you look like contributes to the development of BDD. if you have a job that focuses on your appearance is also a risk factor i.e gymnastics, modelling or bodybuilding.
If there is a close family member with BDD, then there’s a likelihood of you developing it. However, there is no apparent reason to determine whether the symptoms are caused by genetics or are gained behaviours.
Depression, anxiety and OCD
People with other mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, or OCD are at a high risk of developing BDD. It is, however, not clear whether these illnesses cause BDD or BDD causes the onset of these illnesses.
Abuse and bullying
Abuse and bullying from a young age regarding your physical appearance can cause the development of BDD. it causes the development of a negative body image and makes you obsessed with your looks. Bullying in the teenage hood also affects how you view yourself as your body is changing.
Treatment options for Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
This is the most recommended type of therapy when treating BDD. It helps the individual in recognizing the negative thought patterns, changing them into positive thinking patterns and also finding positive coping mechanisms for dealing with BDD. It will help you step outside your body and view your body in an aim and forgiving manner.
There is no specific medication that has been made to treat BDD. However, some antidepressants like Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) help in easing anxious and obsessive behaviours. They also help to manage depression, a condition that co-occurs with BDD.
Self-help tips for managing BDD
Join a support group
Getting together with people going through the same thing can help you feel understood, not judged, and make you open to new suggestions and ideas.
Stay focused on your goals
Always keep your recovery goals in mind and keep on analyzing them to determine if you are still achieving them. Meredith asked people to love their bodies the way they are.
Don’t become isolated
Try as much as possible to reconnect with family and friends you feel bring positivity to your life and who are healthy support systems
Write in a journal
This will help you track your moods and you can identify your self-defeating thought patterns, emotions and behaviours and what causes them. This will help you identify ways to curb these feelings before they become catastrophic.
Take care of yourself
Make sure to always eat a well-balanced diet, have enough sleep and do exercise. Meredith taught people about self-love and caring for their bodies.
Learn relaxation techniques
Practice breathing techniques, yoga or meditation that will help you relax, sleep better and improve your mood.
Don’t make important decisions when you are feeling distressed
Making rash decisions when you are distressed might make you regret the decision later, i.e, shaving your hair after feeling discouraged when someone mentions that your hair looks terrible.
We have discussed who Meredith Foster is and whether she had an eating disorder. We have then looked at what body dysmorphia is, the signs and symptoms and risk factors. Finally, we have discussed treatment options for body dysmorphia and the self-help tips for managing body dysmorphia.
If you have any questions or comments, please let us know in the comment section below.
Frequently asked questions: Did Meredith Foster have an eating disorder?
What does Meredith Foster do?
She is a lifestyle vlogger who is famous for her YouTube channel has over 400 million views and another one called VLOGSBYMERE, with over 900k subscribers.
Why is not eating a coping mechanism?
People with anorexia describe it as a need to have control over something in a world where they feel otherwise. The restriction of food offers calm, security and order.
Can not eating cause depression?
When feeling anxious, worried, or sad, food is never appealing. Not eating, however, makes one irritable, which can worsen symptoms of depression.
Aoibhinn M.C., (January 18, 2018). Slender 22-year-old YouTube star who was labeled ‘anorexic’ after she began documenting her workouts and weight loss reveals her ongoing struggle with body dysmorphia. Retrieved from https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-5280635/Vlogger-body-dysmorphia-reveals-struggle.html
Zoellner D. (August 12, 2019). ‘This is a life-threatening epidemic’: YouTube star details her battle with a horrific eating disorder, revealing how she starved herself to lose 27LBS in just three months to feel liked by guys and accepted by her followers. Retrieved from https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-7349939/YouTube-star-eating-disorder-losing-27-pounds.html
Journal with Haley, Reacting to Meredith Foster. Retrieved from https://haleyisendostrong.wordpress.com/2019/08/13/reacting-to-meredith-foster/