The past few weeks have had me thinking a lot about my health and fitness. As I struggle with emotional eating, I have also been thinking about how I view my body, why I exercise, and what constitutes my definition of healthy.
I largely credit blogs with teaching me how to live a healthy lifestyle that didn’t include restriction, binges, or “diet” foods. I first started reading blogs in the period after I had recovered from Anorexia, but was overweight and didn’t understand my hunger cues. The first blogs I read weren’t quite as “fitness” focused, but rather just “health” focused. Sure there were runners and lots of work outs, but there were also creative meals, treats, social events, and general living.
I still love these blogs, and now there are dozens more that I adore and read often. One of the great, but tricky, things about blogging getting more popular is that I’ve been exposed to a lot of different types of health and fitness. Some I get fun ideas from, and others aren’t really my thing. FitFluential is a newly popular, and includes a mix of hard core fitness competitors, runners, yogis, crossfitters, and more. It’s a wonderful group of people, but can also be dangerous.
It’s somewhat natural that the people with fantastic, lean bodies are showing off their hard work. And good for them! There is nothing wrong with wanting to be very muscular and lean – it’s actually quite trendy right now – but it’s not necessarily what’s I want to be seeing when I scroll through my Instagram.
To me, seeing all this so-called “fitspiration” is far from inspiring.
Not my thing.
I will tell you now, with 100% certainty, that part of me is jealous of those women with crazy fit bodies! They are what society views as ideal, look fantastic in a bikini, are work their butts off to get that way. Lots of my favorite bloggers (and friends!) fall into that category, and I respect them very much.
However, that was never my goal. As far as I remember, growing up, a girl with a six pack was some genetic anomaly, not a normal body I should strive for. But these days pictures like that are flooding my brain through social media and twisting my concept of healthy.
When I step back and think about it, I know that healthy is not synonymous with lean. Sure we don’t want to be overweight, but we don’t have to have 15% body fat. I know that there is a wide range of healthy body types and weights, and that each person is going to look different. Some people’s bodies function best at a higher BMI, having a six pack isn’t realistic for many women, and focusing on nutrition and movement are what’s important.
These “fitspiration” pictures were making me feel bad about myself. I love working out and want to be in great shape, don’t get me wrong, but when my body doesn’t look like that I start to think I’m a failure. Why don’t I have that much dedication? Why can’t I just work harder? Do I need to stop enjoying meals out with friends or maybe just start working out even more?
That’s all crazy. I know what a healthy, balanced diet looks like for me and I know what type of workouts make me happy. I shouldn’t compare myself to other people.
It’s tough. There is a desire to be skinny and fit, which is largely the media’s influence and I definitely fall prey to, but we also have to recognize that we can each have our own version of fit and healthy.
We can’t necessarily argue “Fitspiration” images need to stop, we just need to acknowledge how these images are affecting us personally. They might be truly inspiring for some people, so who am I to say they are all bad? Heck, there are some tough love fitness quotes that I really like! But we should be confident no matter what our body size, and not let other people’s choices affect our happiness.
It’s okay to do fitness competitions. It’s okay to work really hard, have an amazingly ripped body, and eat foods that help you get there. Everyone has that choice, and as long as they are happy and healthy then that’s great! It’s not what I want right now, but never say never.
I had to perform a little “reader responsibility” and limit my exposure to some of the “fitspiration” I’m bombarded with every day. It was having an opposite affect on me, making me self conscious and possibly even adding to my struggle with emotional eating.
I’d really encourage you to think hard about the things you are reading every day and how they are affecting you. Maybe my own blog isn’t good for you and your current goals! Just make sure you’re taking care of yourself.
Other Fitspiration Articles: