Saturday, 25 Mar 2023

How to stop weight loss ads clogging up your Instagram feed this January

You can now block “triggering and dangerous” weight loss ads from appearing on your social media feeds. Here’s how. 

“New year, new you.”

Just four little words, but they come laden with some seriously heavy societal pressure – largely because they are frequently used to persuade us that, actually, we aren’t happy with the way we look. That we should “trim down”, or “tone up”, or “get beach body ready”. That we should spend a fortune on “skinny teas” and “detox diets”. That we should be counting calories every time we sit down to eat something. That we should be working out every spare moment we have.

That we look… well, that we look wrong, essentially. And that we ought to do something about it, so that we can better conform to the narrow-minded beauty standards being peddled to us at every single turn.

Weight loss adverts are harmful: not just to our bodies, but to our mental health. And they can prove incredibly triggering to those who have struggled (or are still struggling) with eating disorders or body image issues, especially when they begin flooding our social media feeds in the new year.

Thankfully, Instagram has adapted its settings in order to make our feeds healthier and happier places, allowing us to filter out these harmful adverts if we want.

Not sure how? Size-inclusive personal trainer Kira Onysko has shared the easy six-step process with her followers.

Check it out:

As Onysko explains, we need to:

  • Click the ‘settings’ tab on our Instagram profile page
  • Scroll down to the feature labelled ‘ads’
  • Click on ‘ad topics’
  • Type ‘weight loss’ or ‘body weight control’ into the search bar
  • Click ‘see list’
  • Toggle the option to ‘show less ads about this topic’

It’s a genuinely amazing feature, and one for which we owe a debt of thanks to body positive influencer Katie Bundenberg.

“It’s no secret that the aim of a weight loss ad is to make you feel inadequate in your body so that you are persuaded to pay the company large amounts of money to help you lose weight,” she said in 2021, when she launched the petition that compelled Instagram to make the important change.

“To some, these ads may be harmless and they can scroll on but for some these ads are triggering and dangerous.”

Thank goodness, then, that all of Budenberg’s campaigning has paid off.

For information and help on eating disorders, visit the eating disorder charity Beat’s website

Images: Getty

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