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The Dark Side of the #Fitspiration Revolution

The Dark Side of the #Fitspiration Revolution

You’ve probably seen the hashtags, references, or pictures of the Fitspiration ‘revolution.’ Personal trainers, fitness enthusiasts, and “I need to get up and exercise” Instragram users all use it.  Why not?! It seems like a motivating type of tool that could provide that fit-inspiration we might need to do physical activity each day! Well, there can be a darker side to this sometimes seemingly innocent “rah rah’s” we need to get up and go. Many individuals, the majority of them women, already scrutinize their body size and shape on a daily basis. We do not need to look further than the diet industry.  It is a very profitable machine that relies solely on women feeling badly about their bodies (and you’d better believe that this industry COUNTS on us and knows they will always have a steady stream of business, depressing as this fact might be!). If there is a ‘quick fix’ to change the way we look, well, we want in! We are bombarded by images of specially molded women (compliments of Photoshop of course, though this secret is never really ‘revealed’ to allow us to use our maximum projections idealizing what it might mean to have a thinner, fitter, not-too-thin, yet not-too-toned body type)! A girl can dream, right?! No, not our daughters, sisters, mothers, girlfriends, or wives. While we are not going to change our culture of glorifying women’s bodies (the ‘perfect’ body) anytime in the very near future (though we are changing every day, thankfully), we can take control and ownership about how we view, perceive, and treat our bodies.

While there can be some benefits to using #Fitspiration and using some of these images and quotes (typically posted by others) to motivate ourselves, there are others who put up glaringly negative messages about what we ‘should’ look like, what we ‘should’ be doing, and what you ‘could’ look like if you engaged in a variety of healthy and unhealthy practices. All of these driving negative forces can put a vulnerable population (again, mostly women) at risk for beginning a negative cycle of self-abuse with their words, thoughts, and actions. We already disparage ourselves as it is, and way too easily, I might add.  Do we need to add another element to this layer of victimization? In addition, Fitspiration is easily accessible to generations of all women, including young girls, adolescents, college students, young adults, new moms, and our grandmas. If you currently use Fitspiration as a way to stay motivated and it seems like a healthy fit, then maybe the Fitspiration revolution can assist you. That is, your Fitspiration participation helps you stay motivated while viewing yourself in a positive way in regard to body image, physical activity, and nutrition.

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For those that are in the fitness industry engaged in social media, such as personal trainers, be sure that the images, quotes, and ideals you are portraying are healthy, empowering, and positive messages. Note: when you post pictures of yourself and your ‘beach-ready-body’ 1 week after having a baby, though we are extremely happy for you, many women will be triggered by shame, guilt, and self-loathing about their own bodies. Should we take responsibility for every woman’s unhappiness? Absolutely not! But, if you are involved in motivating others in regard to physical activity, nutrition, and health, there needs to be a responsibility in how messages are shared and how they might be perceived.

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Now, if exposure to images, quotes, and energy of Fitspiration fuels a trigger that elicits a venomous self-attack, including self-hatred, depression, anxiety, perfectionism, and the echoes in your head that you are not worthy of putting on a bathing suit, eating something not ‘clean,’ or not ‘allowed’ to sit on a couch to rest, then it may be time to think about your exposure to your friends at Fitspiration. Physical trainers, dieticians, athletic organizations, weekend ‘warriors,’ and casual exercisers, take a pause and reflect. Sincerely, #Empowered and #BodyLove.

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Oh So Disconnectedly Connected! The Dark Side of the #Fitspiration Revolution

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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