But once I did, I felt free. I felt liberated. I reached my attainable and healthy weight loss goal. And I’m now armed with the knowledge of appropriate portion sizes, and a general idea of calories per food item. And has it helped me? Immensely. I now eat portions that are suitable for my body size and type. I also can pick out what types of food have the most potent nutritional punch. Best of all — I feel great.
During this time, I never relied on photos or quotes to inspire me. I never got lost in anything other than myself. I was probably hanging out with girls that were much skinnier than me, and I’m sure that influenced me a bit, but again, not the same. I was comparing myself to others, which is what all people do. If you say you don’t, you’re kidding yourself. There are degrees to which we do, some more than others, but it’s still there. It’s human nature, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
So while I can see how some people may be influenced more easily than others, I think it’s irresponsible and somewhat damaging to label “fitspo” and “fitspiration” as inherently bad, or to even compare it to thinspo. Each individual has the ability to make decisions for herself. Just because I see a picture of a rail thin model with some verbiage about the ideal body type doesn’t mean that I can fool myself into actually achieving that body type. I’ve got thighs that touch, I’m cool with that. They’ve always been like that, and there’s frankly no changing them now. I will never be stick thin, nor do I want to be. I want to be healthy and happy. I want to be passionate and strong. I want to inspire people — not just women and girls — to be healthy and fit. If that happens to be considered fitspiration, count me in.
“It’s easy to look upon trends as though they have some sort of magical power – just like I did when I first encountered Fitspo. Did I listen to every piece of fitspo out there? no. Why? because I believe in thinking about the things I read. I believe that people have choice.
Yes, it’s easy to blame something like fitspo for “losing” yourself into the fitness world, but is that the full picture? We’ve allowed ourselves to shelve our accountability and our responsibility to ourselves; we’re portrayed as easily influenced, thoughtless, robotic. Well sisters, is that true? Or do we think for ourselves?”
else on the internet, you have to evaluate the content of these images and know
the difference between those that inspire you and those that lead you to
self-deprecating thoughts. While the experts in this article say being a part
of online communities can enhance disordered behavior, other research shows
that fitness communities create support networks which help people stay more
consistent with exercise (I have reviewed this research on my blog). The bottom
line, as always, is to do your research and make healthy decisions for yourself
– don’t let media images ever define you. If you find yourself unable to do
this, your behavior is likely to be disordered with or without
“As a survivor of anorexia, I’ve found there is
something both encouraging and refreshing about a community of women joining
together to empower one another through taking care of – rather than starving –
their bodies. Instead of promoting detrimental messages or bone-thin images,
fitspiration – in my opinion, anyway – has struck a balance between health and
aesthetics. If I’m scrolling through ‘fitspo’ content on a social media
account, I don’t feel pressured to alter my appearance, I feel inspired to
strengthen and nourish my physical self. And this is coming from someone, who
has personally crossed into the ‘danger zone’ of eating disorders, so I can
spot triggering mantras from a mile away; ‘fitspo’ is – overall – a step in the
“Like many trends, the “fitspo” craze has its
benefits and its downfalls – the key, I believe, is in finding balance, and
realizing that each of us are unique. If a certain phrase acts as your
personal mantra, getting you through that tough mile or that next rep, embrace
it! But realize there is no perfect, only love and acceptance for who we
are – happiness and contentment ONLY comes from within.”
“Fitspo can be motivating, but some of the messages go too
far. It’s all good to push yourself, but your body does need rest and many of
messages make that seem like a weakness. I also find realistic images of fit
people more inspiring than photoshopped fitness models.”
Look, I’m not here to dispute that some people may be more inclined to be influenced by imagery and words than others. Disordered eating and control issues are no joke, no joke at all. And if you do a Google search for “fitspo” in images, my gosh do all the wrong things come up. But I don’t think it’s fair to label fitspiration as a bad thing because it’s not. What we need to do is to change the conversation. Instead of “fit is the new skinny” or whatever the phrase is, let’s turn the message into “fit is healthy,” or something like that. Instead of images of women in a sports bra, let’s make the images inspirational views with quotes.
|My version of #fitspo.|
|Let’s change the face of #fitspo and be inspiring.|
I just want to encourage you to get off your butt and go for a run. Is that so bad? #fitspo
Special thanks to all of the wonderful women who not only directly contributed to this post, but who reached out to start this discussion. It’s an important topic and I’m honored that y’all want to be part of it.
Open forum here, folks. Keep it clean, but let’s hear it!