3 reasons why following #fitspo’s is damaging you

3 reasons why following #fitspo’s is damaging you

I reported this Emily Skye’s (a #fitspo celebrity, if you don’t know) ad on Instagram as inappropriate:

She wasn’t naked. I reported it because the photos are heavily edited and made me feel inferior, reminded me of my eating disorder past and the sense of inadequacy related to how I look.

Women, do you follow other women who look like you dream of looking like? Unfollow them! Why?

Because:

  1. You already have all the motivation in the World and you don’t need any extra. You know that your health is at stake (and quality of life as you get older). How you look and feel can even influence your career and personal life, even though it might not be very obvious. So you simply do not need to drool over fitspo’s bodies to get even more motivated.
  2. Pictures of fitness models may trigger disordered eating behaviour by:
  • undermining your self-esteem and harm body image
  • promoting very narrow body ideals – lean and thin
  • developing the sense of guilt and inadequacy

There is some scientific research going on and some early research findings on #fitspo confirm the above. I have to admit, the #loveyourself trend can be equally unhealthy, promoting indulgence in inactivity and chocolate pizza. There are some interesting research findings here.

  1. If you follow #fitspo’s for an advice rather than #inspo, still you’d better unfollow them. Many of them do not have good qualifications, so you do not need their advice or exercise program. You don’t need their nutrition advice. It might be counter-intuitive (because they look great and you want to look like them), but very logical. Kayla Itsines (with all respect to her and what she sells) is built like that – she has a tiny frame and her background and circumstances were favourable to maintain skinny-ness. Bear in mind that many Instagram models also are somewhere on the spectrum of eating disorders (Kayla seems to be alright though, don’t worry 🙂 )

‘But many people get results…’ argument. Yes, but when 1000 people try, at least 10 of them would definitely get a result. What we don’t know is how many did not get results or, more, importantly, maintained these results long term. Or even more importantly, what is going on in their minds at the moment they took the ‘after’ picture.

Take out:

For inspiration, follow accounts focused on positive body image, self-acceptance and self-compassion. The research shows that these all are associated with lower body weight! Read more here: Do you want to lose weight? Stop beating yourself up.

For advice, follow someone less naked and more educated than the model with a Level 3 PT certificate.

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Fat loss expert, elite group fitness instructor and personal trainer based in Sheffield.