How "Fitspo" Is Changing Body Image Goals For The Better

How "Fitspo" Is Changing Body Image Goals For The Better

Strong is the new sexy.

It is hard not to come across "fitspo" on Instagram or other social medias these days. There are tons of accounts and pictures of toned muscular women showing off their abs and large butts scattered all over the web. "Fitspo" is short for fitness inspiration and is commonly used by those who do not currently have the body that they want and look to these fitness accounts as their inspiration. "Fitspo" is replacing the "thinspo"(thin inspiration) trends of the past and is helping people move towards realistic weight loss and body image goals. Gone are the days of thigh gap goals and welcome to the era of toned abs, bubble butts and bulking. Here are some ways "fitspo" is healthy and great for the future:

1. It is inclusive of different body types

"Fitspo models" come in all shapes and sizes throughout Instagram. The internet. Some have more muscular boyish figures, others have thick thighs and a small waist and some are just very lean and petite. The thing that is important here is that there is no one definition of what "fit" look like. All these women are considered healthy and fit despite their varying body typed and even level of fat percentage. This allows for a broader range of women to find a role model that they can aspire to be that is closest to their body types therefore giving them realist goals of what a healthy look will look on them.

2. "Fitspo" emphasized that weight loss and fitness is more than just a number on a scale

A big thing with "fitspo" is that your body will look better if you bulk up with lean muscle than by just having a very low weight and being skinny. This is so important because in the past people aspired to have this very skinny bony body with a low body weight but now people see that you can look even better at a higher weight with some weight training. Essentially, it helps people to become less focused on this magical number on the scale that we think we should me and moves us to focusing more on how we actually look in the mirror and how we feel in our skin.

3. Embraces the fact that your body will take time to change and that there is no quick fix

Gone are the days of quick fixes and fad diets. Well, not really, they are still lurking around but fitspo emphasizes that the one and only way to truly experience weight loss of fitness goals is to just eat clean and exercise. In fact, their before and after pictures can have a range of 2 years or more. This just helps people to understand that it is a lifestyle change not a diet. You can just work out for a month and expect to attain the body you want. You need to put the work in for a long time and you will gradually begin to see results. Once people accept this they become more realistic with how much weight they will lose per week/muscle they will bulk so it becomes more attainable.

4. Introduces healthy clean eating an exercise tips that everyone can do

While a lot of the owners of the accounts tend to spend all day in the gym, a normal person does not need to in order to attain that body. There are often examples of some exercises and clean eating recipes on the pages. Just by introducing some of these into your life gradually will help you to attain your goal. Sure you won't look like that girl in the account in a week or a month because you don't spend 5 hours in the gym a day but by following those tips and exercises you could potentially look like that in a year. If you are patient you will that yourself later.

5. It shows that women can be just as strong as men

These accounts just show that women can kill it at the gym just as much as men. They emphasize that weightlifting isn't just for men and that it can hold so many benefits for women. Women can lift just as much as men as well. There is just something very empowering about a woman being able to lift and show that she is in fact strong.

6. It allows people to adopt attainable fitness/body goals

I came across an article recently claiming that fitspo is societies new unattainable goal for women and I cant think of anything more wrong. The "fitspo" movement gets rid of the "heroin chic" gaunt, skinny beauty ideals of the past that was literally only physically capable for a handful of women and moves towards a more inclusive definition of what it means to be fit and healthy. You are no longer trying to be skin and bones with no body fat but instead trying to be toned, lean and physically fit and capable of making your body do more. It promotes different body types, a clean eating lifestyle, exercise and that these things take time. The bottom line is that in the past everyone aspired to look like Kate Moss or a Victoria Secret model but that just isn't possible for everyone. Now, if you truly have the dedication and work hard for a LONG time, you can actually look like the fitspo models you see. It is just up to you how much or how little work you put in, but it is possible.

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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I Weigh Over 200 Lbs And You Can Catch Me In A Bikini This Summer

There is no magic number that determines who can wear a bikini and who cannot.

It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.

Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.

My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.

I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.

There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.

This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.

And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.

If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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4 Things To Do When You're In A Depressive Episode

Even if you don't have any plans besides staying home all day in a depressive puddle, doing these two small things helps put me into a more productive mindset.

Depressive episodes are debilitating, to say the least. They come when you least expect them and gnaw at your mind, leaving you numb.

As I have mentioned in previous articles, I have the tendency to go through depressive episodes. These episodes generally last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. They usually happen for no particular reason, with no warning.

And there's not really that much to be done in terms of curing it. It's more about just getting through it.

Since we are nearing the end of Mental Health Awareness Month, I thought I'd give my advice on little things you can do when you're in a spot of depression.

Every person's mental health experience is different, so what helps me might not help you. Also, this advice is dealing with short-term depressive episodes, not chronic depression.

Here are four things that help me cope with depressive episodes.

1. Get dressed and make your bed.

Even if you don't have any plans besides staying home all day in a depressive puddle, doing these two small things helps put me into a more productive mindset.

Realizing I've been in my room all day, with blankets, snacks, and my laptop just thrown across the bed and myself still dressed in pajama pants at 5 p.m. usually makes me feel worse. It makes me feel like I'm just wasting away in my room rather than doing something with my life.

Getting dressed and making my bed sets me up for a more productive day.

2. Watch a feel-good movie or TV show.

My go-to's are usually the movie "Mamma Mia" and the TV show "Psych."

Saying laughing can cure depression would be completely ridiculous, but laughing does make it more bearable. Watching something funny and uplifting helps remove you from the despair that you feel like your life's currently in and reminds you it's not all bad.

3. Dive into your work.

Whether it's school or a job (or both), ignoring your responsibilities can make you feel worse in the long run, since it adds more stress on to you in the future. Also, working on something else can serve as a distraction.

Yes, it is harder to focus when depressed, but you need to push through it and force yourself sometimes so that you don't let this disease impact your day-to-day life.

4. Don't think too much about why you're depressed.

Questioning why you feel the way you do is best left in therapy.

Asking yourself things like "What caused this?", "Why did my mood suddenly shift?", and "Was it because of so-and-so?" can lead to really destructive thought spirals.

These thought spirals could lead you to believe that something that definitely didn't cause your depression in fact has.

It's easier to accept that sometimes mental health problems come without any kind of warning.

Don't focus too much on the "why" of it. Getting through it should be your main priority.

Instead, focus on how you will get better eventually. Even if it seems impossible at the moment, you will feel good again.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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