My sister sent this article to me and I thought I’d share with all of you. Fitspiration is often considered the “better” and “healthier” option for motivation (compared to thinspiration), but it’s important to examine the potentially harmful messages these images are sending us. The article addresses the “inspirational” words on different fitspo images and how that motivation might be the OPPOSITE of what it’s championing - HEALTH. I suggest reading the full article (click on the title), but here are some quotes that stood out to me. Remember, being healthy is GREAT and I am all for it. But living out a healthy lifestyle is completely different if you’re doing so with an unhealthy mindset. Mental health is equally, if not more, important as physical health.
“This is an expertly lit, no doubt digitally enhanced image of a girl in her mid-twenties presented here as the definition of what a woman is allowed to be proud of; “until you are proud” seems to mean “until you have six pack abs, perky, squeezable breasts and the terrible burden of finding size 0 jeans with a 34 inch inseam”. If there were a male equivalent of this photo, it would have to be Iron Man to really capture the shocking lack of realism.”
"So, no, obsession is not the same as dedication and creating a vocabulary that makes it easier for the mentally ill to cloak their illness in normalcy is not doing anyone any favors."
"The trick is to know your limits. Pain is helpful in this regard. Of course, there’s pain and there’s pain, but part of being healthy is knowing the difference. Training so hard as to induce vomiting and uncontrollable sobbing is to slowly undermine the basic human judgement of what constitutes challenge versus what causes injury; It’s a fundamental component of self-control. Toddlers learn it when they figure out that they don’t need to cry over skinned knees but that a broken arm is a big deal.”
"Now, before I get bombarded with angry comments from skinny people, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being skinny. I’m also not suggesting that being skinny and strong are mutually exclusive. I’m only pointing out that strength onlysellswhen it’ssexyand, make no mistake, advertisers want very badly to make you feel like you are currently failing at both.
Strong isn’t really replacing skinny; being skinny is no longer enough. Now, ladies, you need to be skinny and ripped. It’s an additional layer of self-loathing (perfectly suited for hypergymnasiacs), just in case people had started to get desensitized to the omnipresent and psychologically crippling display of corpse-thin women in the media.”
"Change is cool. Change is healthy. The desire to change stems from the admirable ability to introspect and see that, currently, we are limited in ways that we want not to be. If that desire to change, however, becomes a desire to change at all costs, you will be sorely disappointed with what you end up paying. Work out, have fun, get tired, fail occasionally, wake up sore and set your next goal. Whatever you do, just don’t do it like these poor suckers.”
You start feeling good about yourself once you stop equating beauty with a number and someone else’s body as the ideal.
Here is the rest of the comic that I have been working on all semester. You will have to look at it full-size on my page to see all the details! (I posted this little preview a couple of months ago and it has recently been getting some love!) Hope you all like the rest of it. This has been a very meaningful project to me. Read more after the cut!
In my figure drawing class, we were asked to create four drawings that were connected by one concept or theme that included the figure. I asked if I could do a four-page comic instead, and my awesome teacher agreed! So I created a comic about the figure. Each page is about 15 x 22 inches big, done in ink wash. This was a huge project for me, and it has been difficult to draw and to talk about, because of how close this topic is to my heart. I really hope people can relate to it at the very least, and that it can help someone think of their bodies a little differently at the most.
Many of us believe that when we feel down, we should try to focus inwardly and evaluate our feelings and our situation in order to attain self-insight and find solutions that might ultimately resolve our problems and relieve our unhappiness…Numerous studies over the past two decades have shown that to the contrary, overthinking ushers in a host of adverse consequences: It sustains or worsens sadness, fosters negatively biased thinking, impairs a person’s ability to solve problems, saps motivation, and interferes with concentration and initiative. Moreover, although people have a strong sense that they are gaining insight into themselves and their problems during their ruminations, this is rarely the case. What they do gain is a distorted, pessimistic perspective on their lives.
So you had a lot to eat…
It might be tempting to tell yourself, “I’m going to exercise a lot tomorrow to make up for all that pasta” or “I’m going to eat less tomorrow and just have salad.” By making these decisions, it feels like you’re in control. I mean, it’s better than waiting to see if your body will expand and double in size overnight. Right?
It’s hard to trust your body. It’s scary to think that your body won’t betray you and sabotage all the progress you’ve made over the past few weeks or months that you’ve spent taking care of yourself. But if there’s one thing I learned from restricting/bingeing, it’s this: The diet-I-must-lose-weight mentality triggers feelings of guilt, desperation, and anxiety about food and body. The what-the-hell-YOLO-go-hard-or-go-home-I’ll-start-over-tomorrow mentality also appears whenever I make a “mistake” by eating something “bad” or “unhealthy” or “too much.”
Your relationship with food doesn’t have to be tumultuous or strained. I used to finish entire chocolate bars in one sitting. I’d have a whole pan of brownies or finish a whole bag of chips. It’d scare me how out of control I felt around these foods and I’d avoid them, which only exacerbated the problem.
Food is not the enemy. It’s not about self control or discipline or being good. It’s letting go of the diet/restrict mentality and listening to your body. You might think that if you listen to your body, all the food you’ll eat will be “bad and unhealthy.” But if I compare my eating habits now to a year ago, I hardly crave junk food as much as I did when I was restricting. I can have a few chips to satisfy my craving and then be done with it. I’ll have ice cream when I feel like it and savor it. I don’t think about it, I don’t obsess about it, I don’t feel like I’m fighting off some urge.
Don’t worry if you weren’t perfect today or last night or over the weekend. You don’t need perfection to be healthy. Listen to your body and honor your hunger. Your body is here to support you, not to screw you over. There are so many ways we can help our bodies. Taking care of yourself is a forgiving, flexible act of love. It’s never too late to start taking care of yourself. Your body and mind change naturally when you start to prioritize your health and wellbeing over your weight and appearance. I promise you that.
Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder. Try it: “I’m not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.
I feel like I can’t do it anymore. I feel like the next woman who tells me that she looks so big in her jeans, or asks me what I’m doing to control my appetite (I don’t; I eat), or tells me that she hates herself for not going to the gym today, is going to be the last I can bear. I want to shake her and scream that health and the way your body looks often have nothing to do with one another, and if part of being healthy and happy for you includes getting more physically fit (as it does for me right now), that’s awesome. But that doesn’t dictate your worth, or mean that you are automatically a superior person for having achieved a certain hip-to-waist ratio.
I am sick of talking about being thin. I want us to take care of ourselves, and focus on what we put into and demand of our bodies, and be conscious of the choices we make, but not at the cost of our sanity. Not at the cost of our dignity. Not at the cost of our self-love. We are so much more than all of this petty bullshit, and there is nothing wrong with any expression of beauty or femininity that makes us feel good. If we love wearing makeup and eating pizza and being a size whatever, that is great. As long as we are taking care of ourselves, and of one another, that is what counts. As long as we are kind and compassionate and not eager to tear into every female body we encounter about how she could be doing better, that is what counts. We can’t ask any more than that.
Good read. Click on the title for the whole post!