TW: Body shaming, fitspo (yes, it can definitely be a trigger!), anxiety, and weight loss-related discussion.
When I read this article (“Why Fit is the New Thin”) and reblogged it the other week, the damaging possibility of fitspo made sense to me at the time - but as I try super hard to avoid triggering content on the internet, my filters had previously kept most of the damage at bay - until recently.
Sometimes no matter how hard you try to limit and censor your intake of media and visual culture, shit slips through the cracks and smacks you on the nose. And this came out of no where.
I can’t explain why or how, but this sudden increase in fitspo on my Pinterest page has really been making me insane - this illustration particularly triggered so many things for me, so be warned.
[Comic/illustration of straight-sized white girl, crossing her arms and holding a jump rope. To the left of her: “YES I’m trying to lose weight.” To the right of her: “NO I don’t hate my current body.”]
Can someone just explain to me how this is possible? Because obviously someone thinks it’s possible and the logic escapes me.
To me, in my mind, the desire to lose weight directly correlates to body hate in every conceivable way. This is why I can’t bring myself to be more active and am struggling with the physical aspect of my personal wellness. This is why my mind is in constant turmoil about the need or desire to exercise - I can’t stop connecting losing weight and body hate with fitness. I can’t. I start working out and it all floods back, all the hate I used to have for myself, and it fucks everything up.
It’s really scary. Some days it’s different. I can make myself slow down enough to do some yoga and take a walk and focus on the positive aspects of how it makes me feel, but then it takes me 20 minutes to talk myself into stepping off my driveway. My anxiety/depression and my physical health are persistently at odds with one another.
But I digress - if you are making a vested effort into trying to lose weight, then how can you claim to love your body as it is? Aren’t you still trying to attain some other, newer, possibly unattainable kind of beauty ideal? Where did that ideal come from? What is the fucking point? Why does weight loss need to be a goal at all?
To me, the bottom line is this: “Fitspiration is thinspiration, even when it’s dissing skinny girls. It’s not about health — it’s about using “health” and “fit” as code words for beauty standards.”
It’s just as triggering and damaging, especially for those recovering from eating disorders or trying to find their own level of wellness through Health at Every Size.
And for people like me, struggling with mental disabilities and trying to mend broken relationships with physical fitness - this fitspo trend is monumental mind-fuckery.
I won’t tolerate it anymore.
The fat shaming, diet-peddling, fitness bragging, and health policing in social media is hard to escape and filter away. It’s becoming harder and harder as these new trends in viral messaging continue to pop up all over the place. Anyone with Photoshop and a desire to project their opinion has the power to reach you and make you stop in your tracks. Sometimes those messages are empowering, helpful, thoughtful ways of sparking discussion or introducing a new perspective - sometimes those messages are damaging.
Making safe spaces for ourselves on the internet, as people dedicated to body acceptance and diversity, is a constant uphill battle. But it is important, when our minds are ready to go in a million different places, to keep the truth in the forefront of our skulls.
Surround yourself with people, imaging and messaging that empowers you. Divert your eyes when something questionable comes across your path.
Remember that health is attainable and different for everyone. All bodies are good bodies. Love yourself, love your body, and accept change as it comes in any natural form. Reject the desire to conform to the beauty ideals of people other than yourself. Question where your own beauty ideals stem from and consider that they may not be grounded in positivity or healthy thinking.
Own yourself - because at the end of the day, no matter your size, you need to be solid with you and no one else.
This is so important. The biggest excuse I hear for fitspiration is ‘I want to be healthier’. Great. Be healthier. That’s awesome if that’s what you want. But losing weight doesn’t not make you healthier. Smaller numbers do not make you healthier. If it happens, that’s one thing, but it should never be a goal. You can improve your overall health and fitness VASTLY and not lose a single pound.
Health at Every Size, people. Live it, learn it, love it.
I’m going to be honest, here. This really infuriates me. Since when does being healthy and wanting to be better in the fitness world link directly to hating your body? If anything, for me, it’s the COMPLETE OPPOSITE. I want to strengthen my body and see what it is capable of in this life, BECAUSE WE ONLY HAVE ONE. Why not see what amazing measures my body can go to? It’s ludicrous to me that losing weight or toning up means you ‘hate’ your body. I love my body, every single transformation it’s undergone. Yes, you can get healthier without losing a pound but GUESS WHAT: Usually, getting healthier also means you are going to lose weight. Eat healthy, train healthy, your weight is going to drop if you are over-weight. It’s just how it is. It makes me really upset that “curvy” and “overweight” girls feel the need to bash on everyone else in order to get the point across that they ‘accept’ themselves and ‘love’ themselves. Most of the fitspo community on Tumblr have been overweight girls—and so there’s not bashing going on here. We’re not talking down to girls who are over weight or saying how much better we are than them. In fact, more often than anything: the fitspo community is defending over weight people and their health/choices. So I have no clue why in the world the curvy/body acceptance girls of tumblr would find it necessary to hate on the girls who have taken an active stance on their bodies and in their own fitness. I work damn hard every single day to keep my body strong and capable of out running a herd of elephants. Why do I need to see the BODY ACCEPTANCE (key word ) blogs that I follow bashing on girls like me who work hard? I submitted to those blogs when I Was even curvier than I am now, because, I was happy with my body and loved the skin I was in. I decided to lose weight and start getting into shape because I wanted to, because I loved my body and guess what…I still love my body. To this day, I love it. I was almost sure that the point of these body positive blogs was to uplift, not tear down. I’m really disappointed that this is the direction we’re going. Just an FYI, tearing others down does not show that you’re happy or content in your skin. In fact, it shows quite the opposite.