When it comes to fitness and body image, I’ve taken a pretty firm stance. All bodies are good bodies. You can’t hate yourself healthy. You can’t determine someone’s health by looking at them. Comparison is the thief of joy (and pointless). What your body can do is more important than what it looks like. And the needs of our bodies trump the needs of our egos, when it comes to keeping them healthy. (Ego needs are important too, but they cannot be solved with diet and exercise. That’s about attitude and changing how you think and feel about your body).
Along those lines, I don’t post ‘fitspo’ images here. I don’t believe it’s necessary or helpful to compare ourselves to others, and I also recognize that much like the images of very thin models we’re used to seeing in magazines, many fitness models are also photoshopped and represent unrealistic ideals to aspire to. And in my body positive space, there’s simply no room for any of that.
Don’t get me wrong: I think some of these women are bad ass fitness rockstars. I’m at a place now where I can admire their bodies without feeling negative about my own. But I’m acutely aware that even they don’t look like that in real life. I know that the kind of life I’d have to live to even come close to their bodies is NOT one I want. I train hard. I eat healthy. I like my body. But i have a life outside of the gym. And it includes cake, wine, pizza and sometimes bacon. I need my body in order to live my life, but my body doesn’t rule my life.
The shift from very thin, emaciated looking role models to the ‘fitspo’ girls seems like a slightly better alternative at first glance. But it’s INCREDIBLY important that we not swap one unhealthy ideal for another. (honestly, we shouldn’t have any ideals). The truth is that many fitness models employ incredibly unhealthy techniques in order to get as lean as they are in pics and in competition. They also don’t look like that all year round.
This picture makes me cry. By no means is it the worst of its kind, but it represents a big problem we have here on Tumblr.
I love Tumblr. I find inspiration here every, single day. I love hearing from you guys, and seeing your familiar names pop up in my dashboard. But in between the recipes, workouts and tips, there’s an alarming (ALARMING, SADDENING, DANGEROUS) amount of Thinspo (pro-thin) and ProAna (pro-anorexia/eating disorders) blogs out there claiming to be pro-health. Some are quite obvious, and others not so much.
I’m not calling anyone out, nor do I think that all blogs with the following signs are terrible. I’m not mad at the girls who run these blogs: this is how they are reaching out and when you’re falling you hold on to whatever you can, including building a community of people who feel the same way. There’s a lot more going on than just the posts, so my purpose is not to bash them but to point out some of the characteristics of a blog that YOU might not want to follow. Communities can be great, but only if they’re helping. Many of these blogs reinforce the hurt we feel, which leaves us weaker not stronger. It’s up to the bloggers to change their tone if they choose. But it’s up to you to make sure the messages on your dashboard aren’t hurting you longterm.
Before you follow, look for some of the signs of an unhealthy blog: