Fitspo, short for fitspiration has been flooding our social media sites for years now. In attempts to disguise weight loss as promoting thinness it instead fills our feeds with much “healthier” toned and slender athletic bodies. #StrongNotSkinny.
Fitspo is just another damaging movement that is triggering obsessive behavior and creating another narrow body ideal, that is unachievable for most people. They claim to promote strong not skinny bodies yet all those bodies pictured are slim. So what they really mean is “strong and skinny is the new skinny”. So now you don’t have to just worry about your dress size you also need to worry about your muscle definition. They use images of slim toned bodies with quotes overlaid such as “excuses don’t burn calories”, “sore is the new sexy”, “its easier to get up and work out every day than it is to look in the mirror each day and not like what you see”. Just a few of many, damaging and dehumanizing statements from the fitspo community. Fitspo claims to promote a new ‘healthy lifestyle’ rather than dieting, and suggests to be all about self love, while still promoting the idea of weight loss as the only way to achieve self love. Below every insta picture we can guarantee you’ll see hashtags such as; #fitspiration, #fitspo, #strongnotskinny, #weightloss, #fitfam, #noexcuses #thesweatlife. With no worry for the mental health of the people viewing the images and “motivational” quotes. They’re just peddling another unrealistic body shape that is not achievable by the majority of the population, leaving them feeling shit about themselves even more.
Fitspo accounts have also been creeping their selves into the bopo movement and you may wonder if you can be fit and exercise whilst being body positive? The answer is yes, however not fitspo. You cannot claim to be body positive and still hashtag strongnotskinny, therefore shaming people who are skinny but not muscular. You cannot promote weightloss and “clean” eating in attempts to motivate others into doing the same. That is not body positive. Nor is it taking into consideration ED recoveries and the fact your content could be a trigger for them.
Artist credit- Frances Cannon
“There’s no excuse to not exercise”
What about those individuals with disabilities or illness which prevents them from exercising? Those who have struggled/are struggling with eating disorders and exercise addiction who don’t workout to protect their mental health? Or those who simply lead a sedentary lifestyle by choice, everyone is worthy of self love regardless.
Exercise should be for enjoyment and a choice which is no ones business but their own and they shouldn’t be ridiculed for this.
Exercise should not be used as a punishment for not eating ‘clean’ or missing a workout. You should focus on the feeling exercise brings you such as; feeling of accomplishment, endorphin rush, stress relief, improved sleep, improved stamina and new found strength. Respect your body and its limitations, scrap the “no pain no gain” mantra. Stop comparing yourself to others capabilities, there’s no shame in going at your own pace. Your mental health is more important than your physical fitness level.
Fitspo is full of weightloss pages of people sharing their stories, side by side pictures comparing their body before weight loss to their new strong and skinny body, telling others that they must also lose weight to be happy and accepted in society. However, it should be noted that it is not an individuals fault for believing in the fitspo industry. We have already been taught we must be skinny to be successful and with the added requirement of also being strong, it only makes it more difficult for people to be happy with their bodies as they are. Again just another way for businesses to make money off insecurities they have told us we should have. Continuous amounts of people becoming online coaches getting a profit from selling diet supplements and work out programmers by telling people “today is the first day of the rest of your life”. Stop buying into this! They are sale people and their aim is making money, they’re clever about how they attract people and will target those who aren’t happy with their bodies as they know they will do anything to look like the people in those pictures. Including spending ridiculous amounts of money and putting themselves in danger. Diet pills, detox teas and protein powders are the new necessity for being ‘beach body ready’, and without spending all your money on this crap how would you ever get the perfect body?
Spoiler alert: the truth is you have the perfect body. You don’t have to restrict your meals or force yourself to workout for hours every day to have the perfect body, as much as the diet industry would like you to believe. Adding the need to be strong and muscular to your weight loss doesn’t make it healthy or a lifestyle change, it is just as damaging an idea as dieting is. So why not just ditch the bollocks and be happy with your body exactly how it is. Appreciate all the things that your body and mind allow you to do right now, rather than focusing on pushing your body to extremes for the purposes of fitting an unachievable ideal. No matter what your abilities are your body is amazing and it certainly doesn’t need constant criticism for simply doing its best to keep you alive.
Remember to be your on best friend, you do not need anyone or anything to approve your worth, the only approval and validation you need is your own!
All our love, CP and SJ x