For those of you who aren't familiar with the term fitspo, short for fitsporation, it is defined by Urban Dictionary as, "images of active, strong, and fit women that promote proper exercise and diet. May also include images healthy foods." Now why would motivational images of healthy people do anything to hinder your fitness goals you might ask? Doesn't it seem like looking at pictures of what you want to achieve, should HELP you be motivated to reach your goals? Well at first glance it may seem like a good idea, but in the long run it leaves you feeling inadequate and hopeless, and here's why.
1. You will never be someone you're not. While images of women that look like goddess may be what you hope to someday be, the plain truth is that it's probably not possible. I'm not particularly overweight, but I fully understand that working out won't make my breast larger or perkier or make my hips fuller. How many of these photos that you're finding online are also photoshopped? When you find a picture of a gorgeous woman and decide you're not stopping till you look like that, you set yourself up for failure. After a lot of dieting and working out, even if you are skinner, you're still not ever going to look like that which will make you feel like you failed. Rather than inspiring yourself with women you don't know, use your favorite pictures of yourself when you thought you looked great! 2. Fitspo neglects the fact that you are a human being. One of my other major beefs with fitspo and most health advice and TV shows is that it ignores the fact that as a human being you do need calories. Most "health" and fitness advice makes it seem as though you need to work off all the calories you consume which is not only unrealistic but dangerously unhealthy. Take a look at this info graphic from Women's Health Magazine, a pretty reputable wellness source I would say. But look at what it's telling you. It essentially says that if you eat a donut you have to do 88 minutes of crunches or some silliness.
While I can agree that yes, glazed donut's are not healthy and have a lot of calories I don't think you should be encouraged to work off exactly the amount of calories you consume. As a part of a normal diet you can eat that donut and still consume a little over 1,200 calories to meet your daily allowance. The idea that you need to punish yourself every time you indulge is ridiculous and will only leave you feeling bad about yourself. 3. Fitspo doesn't encourage balance. The final beef (not my last, but the last I will discuss on here) with fitspo is the fact that it treats health and fitness like something you should be thinking about 24-7. If you don't go to the gym today you are a failure, if you eat a hamburger instead of a salad you are a failure.
This skinny just isn't possible for most of us.
Your health should be a process and a part of your life, but not your whole life. You should be able to enjoy your life and your health rather than consume yourself with working out and dieting. When you start skipping out on social plans for your workouts and let it take over your life you have gone to far. The key to a healthy life is balance and moderation, in everything. Including healthy eating and exercise. They shouldn't prevent you from living your life. Final Thoughts So the moral of the story is that being concerned about your health is important but setting unrealistic goals and making it the focus of your entire life goes to far. Being obsessed with fitness and health is just as bad as not being concerned about it at all. The best thing to do is to make peace with who you are and understand that it's healthiest state may still not look like Giselle. As always, stay classy XOXO Hayley