This morning, after my alarm went off, I spent my standard 5 minutes scrolling through my Instagram feed before getting out of bed to head to the gym. I know, I know. I sleep next to my phone. It's a bad habit I haven't gotten to yet...
Today wasn't the first time it occurred to me that my Instagram feed is probably a solid 50/50 split between actual "real-life" friends and fitness inspiration pages I've followed over the years. But this morning it hit me: what exactly do I achieve from starting EVERY SINGLE DAY scrolling through endless pictures of female fitness models with bodies I WILL NEVER HAVE?
It's meant to be inspiring, I get it. And I don't take issue with these pages, per say. Listen, I'm the first to admit I do not need to follow them. But...I guess I take a little issue. Sort of. Let me explain why. Some of these pages have some motivational and inspiring stuff. And some of them do offer some awesome training techniques. The thing is, when it comes to working out, I pride myself on being pretty damn motivated. Most weekdays I'm up before the sun to start my day with a kick ass workout - and I feel pretty good about that. My intention in following these "fitspiration" accounts is, primarily, for new exercise ideas or challenging new workouts to try on my own. But if I'm being honest with myself, I spend a LOT more time staring at these women's bodies than I do picking up new workout ideas.
As women, we are constantly bombarded with images of what we are "supposed" to look like - every form of media, constant workplace "diet" talk, Biggest Loser competitions. It's more or less everywhere, not to mention those of us who have a constant internal dialogue on the subject going on inside our heads. But THIS is something I have control over. I'm CHOOSING to invite these additional images into my daily routine. And I'm not sure I'm gaining much value from it.
I guess what irks me is that fitness motivation does not always equal 6-pack abs and butts that defy gravity. Women can be healthy, fit and athletic in all different shapes and sizes. So why are all these fitness motivation pages only showing images of women who fit into a very specific category? If I'm healthy and strong and moving my body on the regular, that's amazing, even if my ass isn't "heart-shaped" (which, according to one Instagram page, it is supposed to be).
So, today I got real with myself and unfollowed a bunch of these pages. I'm not suggesting that they are bad or that you should unfollow them as well. But I do challenge you to be honest with yourself. Do you engage in behaviors that could be perpetuating a certain belief system that you are actively trying to shift away from? When I was honest with myself, I had to admit that looking at these bodies day in and day out was only contributing to a belief that I'm "supposed" to look like that - that a very specific body type is the ultimate goal. But it's not. My ultimate goal is MY sustainable body.
Big or small, for me this was a breakthrough. And, hey, when I wake up tomorrow and scroll through my instagram feed, it may be refreshing to NOT start my day feeling inadequate. Tell us, what do you need to get real about with yourself?