Today I saw some “thinspo” images on saw on Instagram and although I’ve seen these types of images before on Tumblr, as I read through some feeds today it really saddened me.
I saw girls struggling to eat 500 calories or less per day, sharing negative self-talk, living by strict rules and punishing themselves when they don’t follow them. I saw celebration for eating just cucumbers, an apple and water in one day. I felt so helpless browsing through the images, wishing I could do or say something to help these young women break free of this desperate obsession with body weight.
I want to tell these young women that they’re missing out on their lives. I want to tell them that they should be enjoying every second of their youth, rather than obsessing over every calorie. I want to tell them they’re lucky to be healthy. I want them to know they’re already beautiful and years from now, they’ll book back and finally realize it. I want them to know that life is short and beauty is a smile, and laughter, and living in the moment.
Of course, the media has been cultivating this for decades, with the shrinking female frame, unattainable bodies and this crazy obsession with celebrity. Now, with post-production photo and video editing the bodies are not only unattainable, they’re not even real to begin with. The whole situation of young girls starving themselves, suffering from depression, eating disorders and obsessive exercising is incredibly heart-breaking.
Imagine if the energy spent hating your body could be funnelled into something wonderful and positive, something that garners inner beauty, something that creates human connection and builds new relationships. Wouldn’t the world be a better place?
I can’t imagine how tiring living under the control of food and calories must be, but I do understand that there are serious diseases that go along with it. How can we change the mentality of these young women, how can we encourage a healthy body image in future generations, how can we emphasize the importance of exercise and a healthy diet as simply something we do because it feels good?
Of course, there have been times in the past that I have felt the pressure to be thin. I’m not skinny, but I stopped caring long ago, in fact I now rarely think about my body in terms of it’s size. Maybe growing up with competitive swimming, and being in a bathing suit everyday helped with my body image, but the only numbers that are important to me now are the ones on the timer and the weights on the barbell.
To be skinny is not something that I strive towards. The women I admire are the women of Crossfit, they’re triathletes, Olympic athletes, yogis and other strong, dedicated and amazing individuals. Basically, the women I admire have muscles…and a lot of them. So no, being skinny is not important to me.
If I ever feel a brief bout of longing to fit into high-waisted jean shorts and cute crop tops, I immediately think of what’s important to me and what I’ll look back on in the years to come. I want to remember fun and music, friends and family, adventures, challenges, workouts, delicious meals and an amazing life and I refuse to waste even one second stressing over it! So I’ll love my body thank you very much! And if I wake up another day as healthy as I am today, it’s a very, very good day.
Something else I saw today also tied right into this topic, and that was Ashton Kutcher’s acceptance speech at the Teen Choice Awards. I’m sure you’ve seen it making the rounds on social media. He touched on being sexy, and here’s what we had to say about it:
“The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart. And being thoughtful and being generous. Everything else is crap. I promise you. It’s just crap that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less. So don’t buy it. Be smart. Be thoughtful and be generous.”
So, maybe if a celebrity says it, it’ll hit it home. Thanks for putting it out there Ashton!
I’d love to know your thoughts on all this so please leave me some notes in the comments. This is the first post I’ve written that’s not a recipe or workout and it’s a little (a lot) nerve-wracking putting my thoughts out there!
How do you feel about #thinspo feeds?
What about #fitspo?
What are your thoughts on maintaining a positive body image in a world so inundated with unattainability?