A TikToker is going viral for helping people who struggle to eat sit down for a meal

Lindsay Dodgson
·6 min read
saratonin eating tiktok
Sara Sadok's TikTok where she helps people sit down for a meal has reached millions. saratonin.com / TikTok
  • 18-year-old Sara Sadok has been going viral with her kind and compassionate TikToks.

  • The video she made on her 18th birthday, where she helped viewers who have trouble eating sit down for a meal, has reached millions of people.

  • She told Insider she's only been making TikToks for three months, but has always wanted to find a way to help people.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

"Hi, so if you ever have a hard time sitting yourself down for a meal, let's have a meal together," Sara Sadok said in one of her recent TikToks. Sadok had made a few of these videos softly encouraging people to take the time for themselves to eat some food, but it was the one she posted on the 18th birthday that has gone completely viral, with 2.5 million views and hundreds of duets.

The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reports that 9% of the world's population may be affected by an eating disorder. Additionally, according to the mental health charity Mind, eating problems can occur for a variety of reasons, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or body dysmorphic disorder.

"They can be linked to feelings of low self-esteem, worthlessness or powerlessness," the website reads. "Having an eating problem can also cause you to experience these kinds of mental health problems."

Even if you're mentally healthy, you may be eating alone right now because you're isolated from friends and family during the coronavirus pandemic, or you might not get on well enough with your family to sit down for a meal with them. Sadok told Insider she wanted to reach out to anyone who was struggling right now.

"It's so crazy, it's like unbelievable," Sadok said of her sudden burst of virality, adding that her friends saw her pop up on their For You pages — TikTok's homescreen — multiple times. "I was like, 'What?' I couldn't even wrap my head around it."

In the TikTok, Sadok says she's going to be having her favorite breakfast — a Dunkin iced coffee and pumpkin spice doughnut — and says the viewer can have whatever they want too. She then takes a bite and encourages the viewer to take one too.

She told Insider she only started making TikToks about three months ago, and just wanted to make people smile after watching a TikTok where a woman read out her poem about the beauty of brown eyes, and saw how much it resonated with people in the comments.

"So I was like, let me try to do something similar to that, like confidence videos," Sadok said. "Even if you're scrolling through your For You page, and you see me reminding you that you're absolutely amazing and you should be confident, and it resonates you even for one second, that's like the best thing in the entire world."

She's reaching millions of people with her message

Sadok's gentle demeanor and soothing voice have helped hundreds of people already. In one duet video, TikTok user Eeon Boudreaux sat shaking in his car, noting in the caption he sometimes has anxiety and panic attacks. He ate french fries when Sadok prompted him to, even though it was clearly difficult for him to do. The duet has been watched over 15 million times.

@cajunpeaches

##duet with @saratonin.com I’ve come along way but some days are harder than others ##anxiety ##panicattacks ##staystrong ##fyp ##foryoupage happy bday

♬ The Wisp Sings - Winter Aid

Sadok said she made the TikTok to bring awareness to the fact some people struggle to eat, for whatever reason, in a positive way, because it may never occur to some people.

"It's sort of like me being peaceful with it, with you taking it at your own pace," she said, adding that it's also really important to her to bring kindness and compassion without being pitiful.

"I've always hated when people feel pity for me, because it's like not the same thing as sympathy," she said. "There's a very big difference. So I try my very best to never ever come across pitiful, but more sympathetic and caring."

'It shows other people you're not alone'

While it can still be difficult to talk openly about your mental health, dueting a video is a simple way to show you might be struggling without too much pressure.

"It shows other people you're not alone, and there are people who suffer," Sadok said. "If you don't feel comfortable sharing it with the internet, you don't have to. But there are so many people who suffer with similar things that you do, so it's nice for people also to see that."

Sadok said some of the duets have made her cry because they move her so much — and she's tried to watch every single one. She said her inbox is full of people telling her how much her videos helped them, and followers in her comments are all thanking her for helping them have their first meal in weeks, or feel less lonely because they can't sit down to eat with their family or friends. On a recent Instagram Live, one of her followers told her she saved their life.

"I have yet to get a hate comment," she said. "Because everyone, like my whole platform, is absolutely positive and I'm really grateful for that."

Sadok said she hopes everyone watching takes her messages to heart because "so many people don't understand their own value." Like everywhere on the internet, TikTok has its good and bad sides, she said, "but for the good stuff, I'm totally here for it."

"Hopefully something resonated with you and you truly believe what I'm telling you because it's 100% true," she said.

Sadok said she is proud of herself because helping people is all she's ever wanted to do. Giving comfort to people is "surreal," she said, but also "heartwarming. She's also now thinking about looking into becoming a therapist in the future. She's currently studying biology and is only in her first semester of college, so she's keeping her options pretty open.

"It always brings tears to my eyes when people tell me, 'You've been really helpful,' because I never, ever, ever thought I would be helping people on such a large scale," she said. "It could never foresee it. So I'm very grateful that I had the opportunity to help so many people."

Read the original article on Insider