Unless I'm photographing a spectacularly beautiful food like a 10-layer chocolate cake or a slice of pizza that seems almost impossibly cheesy, most of my attempts to Instagram food are met with groans from my friends. I get it, though. They're ready to dig in before things get cold or melty, but there's just something beautiful about sharing my tastiest foodie adventures with my followers, and it turns out that a certain legendary actress feels the same way. Lana Condor talked about her relationship with food in a recent interview with Elle Canada, and the joy she's learned to find in eating is truly inspirational.
In the interview, Condor opened up about the real reason she celebrates her meals by posting photos of them on Instagram (specifically, her Instagram Stories, which I'll fangirl over in a bit), and it might not be what you'd expect. “You’re kind of the first person I’ve talked to about this, but I know what it’s like to have an eating disorder and body dysmorphia," Condor revealed to Elle Canada, "and also what it’s like to be a friend to someone who has that."
It's no secret that there's a constant pressure for women (and especially women in the spotlight, like Condor) to look a certain way. But for the 21-year-old actress, realizing how incredibly damaging this mindset can be changed the way she thought about the connections between food, aesthetics, and self-worth. “I look at my friends, and I’m like, ‘You’re f*cking gorgeous.’ But they feel like they’re fat and ugly," she told Elle Canada. "I don’t know how this happened, that women feel like they need to apologize [for their physical imperfections]."
As a result of her changed mindset, Condor told the magazine she's been taking a much more positive approach to food these days, and sharing images of the nourishing treats she's enjoying on a regular basis as a way to combat some of the societal pressures around dieting. "I think it’s time to give people comfort. You have to eat. You have to stop thinking that a certain body shape is ideal, because it’s not," she told Elle Canada.
By celebrating each plate of perfectly made sushi or heavenly scallop risotto, Condor is creating her own narrative about food, and sharing how wonderful it can be, and how much happiness it can bring you. “That’s why I literally post about every meal I eat," she explained.
Condor wasn't exaggerating in that interview, BTW. The To All the Boys I've Loved Before actress has compiled tons of her foodie adventures into two Instagram Highlights, titled "Food Lover" and "Paris Eats!" so if you're looking for some meal inspiration, you can flip through weeks of amazing dishes.
While Condor almost never posts food shots to her main feed, gathering the yummy photos into specific highlights gives her (and her followers) a space to look back on the pics she's casually taken on-the-go. In my own personal experience, photos of sugary baked goods get plenty of engagement on Instagram, but Condor isn't posting images of her food in an attempt to get likes. Instead, it has a lot more to do with pure appreciation, and the resulting food porn is, frankly, stunning.
To those of Condor's 6.6 million Instagram followers who might struggle with eating disorders or body image, these snapshots that show her gushing over the amazing delicacies she's eating can hopefully serve as a reminder to think about food in a positive way. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), "at least 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S.," and there's a lot more at stake than you might realize. As per ANAD, people with eating disorders have the highest mortality of those with any mental illness, with at least one person passing away from the disease every 62 minutes.
So whether you swoon over the cheesiest pasta ever, or you're more of a fresh seafood fan, tapping through Condor's Instagram Stories is sure to remind you just how wonderful food can be. Who knows — you could even find yourself inspired to start your own Highlight appreciating some of your all-time favorite treats.
If you or someone you know has an eating disorder and needs help, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline at 1-800-931-2237, text 741741, or chat online with a Helpline volunteer here.