No Pain, No Gain?
The idea of “fitspo” (short for fitspiration / fitness inspiration) has been on my radar for a while and I’m glad that it has received increased attention over the past few months! A huge part of my attempt to address this issue, and the issue of destructive behavior in the fitness world has been the creation of Destructively Fit®. Check out the recent press and more articles about Fitspo!
For me, it’s difficult to discuss “Fitspo” without first saying something about “Thinspo” (short for thinspiration / thin inspiration). Thinspo was first found on pro-ana and pro-mia (pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia) websites that shared eating disorder tips and tricks, blogs, journals and photos of emaciated women and men reinforcing destructive ideals and behaviors, particularly eating disorders. Oftentimes, the men and women who were engaged in these websites were those with an incredibly strong link between their identity and their eating disorder and demonstrated a significant denial of self.
(note: due to the efforts of media watchdogs, most of these websites have been removed from the internet)
While some Fitspo is truly healthy and inspiring, plenty of it is unhealthy and hauntingly similar to Thinspo, offering unrealistic and damaging expectations and fitness ideals. Many of the photos are of uber-cut scantily clad men and women.
Just to give you an idea, I’ve seen many messages like these:
“do it for the thigh gap”
“eat wise, drop a size”
“do it so you don’t have to untag yourself in pictures because you look fat”
I’ve seen an abundance of these types of Fitspo tweets:
“you can’t be small if you eat it all”
lists of foods that make you less hungry
how to have a “flatter stomach”
lots of tips + tricks that have nothing to do with fitness – at least in my opinion!
No pain, no gain? Healthy exercise is not about getting hurt. It’s about paying attention to your body. While it has always been important to maintain a balance and groundedness in your own self and your own personal health and fitness goals, it seems more important than ever to keep these things in mind and also, to manage your expectations!
Learn to recognize healthy and unhealthy messages and ALWAYS #HonorYourBody!
Jodi Rubin, ACSW, LCSW, CEDS