Recently I’ve been spending more and more time on social media, scrolling through endless images of the people who I consider to be my ultimate “body goals”, desperately trying to find out how they go to the point they’re at with diet, exercise and their physique. Don’t get me wrong it’s great to have idols and inspirations, which is why I’ll never go on a huge unfollowing spree and vow to never look at a fitness image again, but now I realise that there’s always more to the story than what you’re seeing.
INSTAGRAM ISN’T REAL LIFE
I’m sure there are fitness bloggers out there who are as real online as they are in person, but it’s easy to be mislead by images on Instagram. In my opinion there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a bit of posing and mild colour editing/sharpening of photos, we all want to look our best after all, but just remember to take everything you see with a big pinch of salt. You have no idea how much they’re tensing their core, or if they’ve done a little Photoshop edit, or if they ever actually eat the food they post photos of. Believe it or not, I’ve heard that some people remove all carbs from their plate after posting an image of their dinner, which is scary. I for one have spent far too much time obsessing over images, wondering why I don’t have their abs or their butt, but now I look at images differently. I try to remember that everyone enjoys junk food, everyone has days where they’re not looking their best, and everyone wants to share an aesthetically pleasing photo. With my photos, whilst I’d never alter my body shape or starve myself to look as slim as possible (I actually ate a massive brownie before these photos were taken), I do try to shoot in flattering lighting and wear clothes that I’m most comfortable in. As bloggers/social media users we have a duty to be honest, so take note, Insta fakers.
NOBODY IS BORN LEAN
I won’t name names, but I’ve been following a fitness blogger for a while now and thought wow, she’s so lucky to be so naturally lean. Then she posted a #transformationtuesday photo. I had no idea that actually, pre-size six self, she was quite overweight. Why did I not know this? Because she’s not mentioned it once since I’ve been following her, and instead I chose to believe that her daily photos showing these incredible abs were, and had always been, the norm. This made me respect her even more. Not only was she someone who I considered to be serious ‘fitspo’, but she’d gone through one hell of a process to get there. Don’t underestimate people because you never know what they’ve been through, and this can apply to so much more than weight loss.
IT’S NORMAL TO DOUBT YOURSELF
Let’s be real for a second. Who has eaten a chocolate bar and declared themselves eternally fat? Or skipped the gym and felt like an instant failure? This happens to even the best of the best. Though whilst it’s part of the process, shall we say, it shouldn’t be something that happens on a weekly basis. Expect to have a few low points during your fitness journey, but try to control it as much as you can. If you’re ever feeling utterly crap about yourself, just look at old photos and then take new photos to remind yourself of how far you’ve come. It’s inevitable that we’ll all feel like we’re losing the plot at some stage or another, I know I do a little too often for my liking, but it really is ok. Pick yourself up and move on, because you can only continue to make progress if your head is in the right place. Mindset is everything.
FITNESS IS A LONG PROCESS
Sadly, it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to get your dream body two months after sorting out your diet and hitting the gym. It takes time, and a long time at that. I’ve been on my “fitness journey” ― sorry for the horrendously cliche term ― for several years now, and I’m still not at my end goal. Not even close! If I’d stuck to it 100% every single day then yes, I probably would be, but that’s abnormal behavior for a human being if you ask me. We are not robots, we cannot be perfect every minute of every day, so we’ll all slip up at some point. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, it’s just a positive learning curve that will help us to reach the next level when the time’s right. Speaking of end goals, they change like the wind, so try not to get too hung up on whatever vision you have that day, because I can guarantee that it will continue to evolve even when you think you’re just about reaching the finish line.
Harsh truths I know, but so appropriate to talk about, given that Instagram was under fire in the news yesterday for affecting people’s mental health towards unrealistic expectations. At the end of the day if it was a piece of cake, we’d all be the fittest most beautiful people in the world, wouldn’t we? Life’s tougher than that. Unless we’re blessed with freaking insane genetics, then we’ll just have to damn well work for it won’t we.