I read a really interesting article yesterday that outlined the dangers of “fitspiration” sites.
We’ve probably all seen things tagged “Fitspiration”, whether it be instagram, facebook, blogs, twitter, whatever. Tumblr seems to have an awful lot of Fitspiration themed pages in particular.
I usually don’t pay attention to this type of thing, and I am not sure if that is because I see it as complete garbage or if I am protecting myself from anger and frustration. After reading that article, however, I was forced to really look into the issue and consider how it is affecting women.
I am at a place in my life where I tend to tune out the negative comments, insults and glares. It has been really, really hard to get to this point, but most days, I’m pretty blind to society’s criticism. That said, I came from a place of struggle. It was not that long ago that I would have massive panic attacks because I had to be seen in public. For years I have battled a body image disorder that has really crippled me at times. From the time was about 15 until just a few years ago, I felt like a prisoner in my own skin. It was a nightmare.
Is it better? Yeah. Is it gone? No. It tends to rear its ugly head when I have to attend a function with lots of people (Think wedding, company Christmas party, etc.) but for the most part, I have a pretty accurate and healthy view of myself these days. I no longer see a monster on the other end of the mirror. In fact, I actually like what I see, and love who that person is.
I would venture to say though, that there are probably far more plus sized women who are incapable of loving themselves than plus sized girls who can. It’s just not an acceptable opinion in our society. Fat cannot equal beautiful. Fat cannot equal healthy. Fat is not acceptable or worthy of love. It is all such deceitful garbage, but it is ingrained in our brains.
Before I proceed, I want to say that I am about to share some graphics from a fitspiration site. Some of them may be triggering to folks with body image issues, and it is not my intention to do that. I do think, however, that it is important to talk about this as I know there are so many women reading these sites and striving for an unrealistic ideal. Please do not read on if you are sensitive to these images.
Along with all of society’s pressures and lies, here we have the Fitspiration sentiment that Fat cannot be Fit. This graphic gives a pretty good example of the belief system:
Wrong. The only difference between fit and fat is lots of things. Fitness and weight are not the same thing, people. Someone who is thin isn’t always fit, in the same way that someone who is “fat” is not incapable of achieving fitness.
I like this one better. I’m more of a #fatspiration girl myself:
I also have to giggle that a common statement by the fitspiration community is “Exercising to be healthy, not skinny.”
and yet, on the very same page, just a few posts away are these two graphics:
along with another particularly mean-spirited one that portrayed a plus sized woman, in her underclothes, eating an entire cake on one side, with a very stick thin woman on the other side, wearing a bikini over her obviously enhanced breasts.I initially posted the graphic then decided not to contribute to it being passed around. It was vile and mean.
It read, “Eat delicious or be delicious. You decide.”
I will tell you what I decide, Fitspiration.
I decide to take care of my body.
I decide to eat food that nourishes my body and helps it function in the healthiest way possible. I also decide to eat chocolate sometimes.
I decide to exercise in a way that makes me feel happy and content. Not because I will have a six pack, or muscles in places I didn’t know I had, but because oxygen to my cells is good. My body loves me for the time I spend working towards FITNESS. ACTUAL FITNESS, Which in case you missed it earlier, isn’t the same as thin.
I decide to eat, live, and love responsibly because I am God’s creation. Nobody can walk the path before me. I am the only one it was given to. I take it seriously.
I decide to rock what I’ve got. All of what I’ve got. It’s a lot more that what you’ve got, but it’s still beautiful.
I decide to love those around me, and not chastise them for being too skinny. Good luck not chastising us for the opposite. Just a head’s up: This doesn’t have to an “us vs. them” situation. It really doesn’t.
I decide to spread the word. To encourage women to love themselves just the way they are. I’ve got news for you. When women love themselves, and by “themselves”, I mean their true inner SELF, they naturally want to care for themselves in a meaningful way. Not to achieve an ideal, but because damn it, they are WORTH IT.
Why? Because I love ME. All of me.
EVERY INCH OF THIS DELICIOUS CAKE.