Ask a Health Coach: Social Media Triggers


Hey folks, board certified health coach Erin Power is here to talk about social media triggers and tidy up your feed. If you find social media harming your well-being, we have strategies, tips, and backups! Do you have a question for our health coaches? Leave it below in the comments or more in the Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook Group.

Anne asked:
“I switched to Primal a few months ago, and it’s going pretty well. Before that, I had a long history of intermittent dieting and calorie counting. FINALLY, I’m starting to feel like I can just eat real food and let go of weight control (without gaining weight in the process). The problem: Part of what helped me become Primal was following hashtags on Instagram like #paleo #primal #keto, etc. It actually helped me stick to it and feel part of a community of people eating that way and loving life. BUT lately I’ve noticed I’ve been super triggered by certain messages. These are usually super thin (possibly anorexic) women who use paleo and keto hashtags. Even though I’ve come a long way, I don’t look anything like this. It triggers old habits around food and body image. How can I handle this while still keeping the good parts of social media inspiration? Sorry for the long question lol.

Person checking social media on phone and laptopFirst of all, welcome to eat primary crew, and congratulations on your conscious efforts to surround yourself with messages of support and community. Creating a supportive environment is HUGE when it comes to implementing and sticking to healthy habit changes and change efforts.

I would also like to thank you for noticing what is NOT working when it comes to social media and your well-being. This realization is a neglected first step in self-care. In the end, we are our number 1 gatekeepers. By recognizing what is helpful and what isn’t, you can take steps to choose what truly nourishes you.

Tidy up your flow, tidy up your mind.

As you mentioned, social networks can be a great support for Primal eat and live. In a world where so many messages (online and IRL) are NOT health conscious, it’s good to know that you can go online and see or even connect with the many people adopting healthy and healthy lifestyles. fun along the way. Good for you for community search while you make support changes.

That said, social media is a mixed blessing. You never know who or what might enter your feed. This is the case whether you follow certain hashtags or whether the platform feeds you “recommended” or “suggested” posts and ads based on your previous activity.

Like a Primal Health Coach, I work with many clients who have a history of eating disorders or other unnecessary patterns related to the culture of food, diet and weight loss. One of the first things I do is recommend that they take a hard look at the content and posts they consume on a daily basis, including on social media. Is it useful? Or not so much?

I notice this myself from time to time on Instagram and take immediate and proactive action to remove what triggers or does not serve my best interests. I even have a saying: Get your Instagram feed in order. Clean up your mind.

If Instagram recommends posts that you find triggering and unnecessary, be sure to flag them as “Not Interested.” You do this on the post itself, clicking the three dots in the top right corner to see your options. Of course, if you follow the trigger account, unfollow! You can do this on the person’s profile page or by simply clicking on those dots at the top for the “Unfollow” option. If a particular hashtag seems to be getting you a lot of trigger messages, don’t follow it either. If the post is “sponsored”, you’ll see an option to stop seeing the ad.

Simply put: Whenever something or someone makes you feel bad about yourself or derails your healthy change efforts, take the power back and just make it go away. We focus on instagram, but this applies to all social media as well as other content you consume online or in person. Unfortunately, you’ll have to do it over and over again, because this stuff always seems to come back. But there is something intentional and empowering about this exercise! If you do it often enough, your flow changes.

Say no thank you, carefully.

Current beauty ideals have come a long way, but there is still a long way to go. A lot of social media content tries to convince us to be as lean and light as possible (whether through explicit messages or what is implied in images and captions).

Since you are already adopting a Primal lifestyle, you know that achieving a particular size or shape is not our goal. Yes, many people achieve their ideal body composition eating a nutrient-dense diet of real, whole, and minimally processed foods; high quality protein; healthy fats; fruits and vegetables; and high-fat dairy products. But the big picture is improved health, longevity, and vitality on the inside, regardless of our outward appearance.

This is true, AND, as long as there are no underlying health conditions and as long as the 10 Primary Plan Rules are typically applied with a consistency of at least 80%, desired changes in body composition tend to occur naturally, without counting calories or struggling.

Like a Primal Health Coach, I see this as the norm with my clients, rather than the exception. I also see it as something that helps a lot to get out of old, useless eating patterns: finally they can eat plenty of delicious, healthy food and not worry about unwanted weight gain or trying to fight it. their body and their biology. For most, this is the definition of food freedom.

I want to mention this, in part, because we can never know what people who post on social media are really going through. I suspect that many of those posting “trigger” content about weight and dieting are actually caught in their own places of pain and struggle. They didn’t find the kind of “accidental food freedom” that accompanies the primal approach to eat, move and live.

Rather than blaming or shaming them (or leaving mean comments), I try to send compassionate thoughts, delete them from my feed, and move on. I’m NOT saying it’s easy or that I don’t stay triggered or even angry at times. Truth be told, it can be so hard to pass up a triggering image, caption, or comment.

But the more we come to remember that they are humans too, with their own vulnerabilities and places of struggle reinforced by prevalent dietary and beauty ideals, the more actively we are helping to change the current culture.

But let’s come back to you, Annie: you are your number 1 babysitter and you must first and foremost take care of yourself. I just find that considering the larger context is helpful in mitigating the power of triggers, taking self-directed action, and moving on.

Social media strategy and support

To summarize:

  • Track accounts and hashtags that support your health, lifestyle and food choices. They are a great source of inspiration, motivation and community!
  • Remember to follow reliable sources. Mark’s Daily Apple, for example; or the Primal Health Coach Institute!
  • DO NOT follow accounts or hashtags that make you feel bad about yourself or undermine the healthy and empowering changes you are making.
  • Regularly edit your social media feeds, keeping what’s useful and deleting the rest.
  • Remember our shared humanity and start from a place of compassion and kindness whenever possible. We have no idea what others are going through behind the filtered lens of Instagram and other social media channels.

For anyone who needs extra help amid the culture of eating and unnecessary messaging, consider working with a one-on-one health coach. Imagine if you could take all the advice in an article like this and all the information you’ve gathered over the decades…and implement it reliably and consistently. This is where coaches help!

External Accountability is a real game-changer, and we can help you stay on track with your goals and navigate tricky social situations online and offline. Visit to learn more and get started!

Do you find social media helpful or harmful to your wellness journey? Any tips to share? Let us know and drop your favorite and most supportive Instagram accounts in the comments!


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