Lately, I have been focusing on fitness and nutrition. I have spent more consecutive time at the gym in the last few months than I have at any other period in my life. My slowing metabolism demands a little more diligence on my part and I have a great desire to take care of my health.
When I was researching different exercise programs, I came across many websites and social media accounts that were packed full of useful information. So I started following a few.
After weeks of weight loss transformation photos gracing my news feed, I am starting to wonder if being bombarded with a barrage of such images is doing more harm than good for women as a whole.
It is no secret that we live in a society where weight loss is constantly on center stage. How we got to that point is a topic for another day, but the media has been brutal to women in the arena of body image. In the age of Photoshop and unrealistic (digitally altered; fake) body ideals on magazine covers and every other conceivable media outlet, most women simply cannot compete.
Did you know that the average female model is 5’10” and weighs 107 pounds? That is craziness! For comparison purposes, I am 5’9″ and my healthiest weight is between 140-145 pounds. For me, that equates to a flat stomach and a lean body.
Social media has exacerbated the body image problem with Transformation Tuesday photos galore. While it is inspiring to see the often life-changing transformations of those who have lost a ton of weight, I believe it is also a bit dangerous to fixate on such things. Regardless of the captions underneath those photos, which are often motivational, the underlying message is usually:
This is what success looks like. Do what I do and eat what I eat, and you, too, will one day look good in a sports bra and spandex.
That message is dripping with loads of unhealthy comparison. It successfully keeps us fixated on our image (and that of others) and almost always trumps the sentiment that we need to hear – the one that tells us to eat wholesome food and move our bodies because that is the formula for good health, regardless of size….