Throughout quarantine, something that a lot of us picked up on was working out. With all the free time, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to work on that "dream bod" you've been wanting for years, or to just feel good about yourself.
A common way to stay motivated and keep yourself on-task is to follow fitness influencers on various platforms. For some people, yes, this can be a healthy and helpful way to keep your drive. In other cases, however, this can do more harm than good.
Here are nine reasons why I stopped letting fitness influencers flood my Instagram feed.
1. I have my own goals, and they might not match everyone else's
We all have our own goals for ourselves, our health, and our body. No two people are the same and no two people have exactly the same goals in mind when it comes to fitness and wellbeing. That being said, the things I want for myself and my body are vastly different from the goals that most fitness influencers advocate for.
2. My personal progress is not defined by someone else's
Seeing other people make progress on their fitness journeys can be a source of motivation, sure, but it can also be a hindrance. Sometimes, seeing people progress faster than you are can be a huge downer. It's easy to criticize yourself for not being as toned, as strong, or as lean as someone who has been training for years and sharing their progress online. I want to base my progress on where I was versus where I am, not where I am versus where someone else is.
3. It's all in the editing
I think that a lot of us often forget how much editing really goes into professional social media posts. As much as you crop, filter, and edit your personal photos, influencers do exactly the same — if not more! There are FaceTune and Photoshop and endless filters readily accessible, and the only person who really knows how much or how little editing is behind a specific photo is the person who posted it. Personally, there is no point for me to allow myself to become self-conscious by looking at a seemingly perfect photo of a seemingly perfect person.
4. A pose works wonders
This goes along with number three. The same way that editing works wonders, so does posing. For example, if you suck in your stomach you automatically look thinner than if you stand comfortably and naturally. Similarly, it is just as easy to stand a certain way to accentuate your legs or glutes or whatever body part you want to look a little bit better for the sake of a photo. The thing is, we all get so wrapped up in doing this that we may fail to recognize the fact that everyone else is doing it too — a picture that looks perfect has a lot more behind it than we realize.
5. I don't want my confidence to take a hit for no reason
Social media really can be ridiculously toxic. I am at a point in my life where I am genuinely healthy, happy, comfortable, and confident with my body and my eating habits. I don't want to put myself at risk of falling off the deep end over nothing. Staring at photos of "perfect" people and their "perfect" bodies every day just because that's what Instagram's algorithm places on your feed is never going to be more beneficial than it is harmful. The things you digest online are the things you internalize — are you really sure you want to be consuming media that somehow makes you feel like you aren't enough?
6. No two bodies are exactly alike
No two people's bodies are exactly alike, nor do they function in exactly the same ways. Some people have food intolerances, some people are more flexible than others, some have more energy or more endurance than others, and the list goes on and on. The moral of the story is that no two people are exactly the same, and what works for one person will not necessarily work in the exact same ways for somebody else. When you get wrapped up in the things that someone else is doing, it can be easy to lose track of your own path and the things that work for you.
7. Every body is a beach body
As mentioned earlier, social media perpetuates certain standards of beauty, and it is easy to drown in them. The fact of the matter is that as long as you feel beautiful and confident with who you are, it does not matter what those six fitness influencers look like. If you find yourself becoming more critical of yourself after looking at pictures of Instagram models and fitness influencers, it is probably time for you to hit the unfollow button so you can learn to love yourself right.
8. I've had my own struggles and I don't need to go back
Like most people, I have had my own struggles with insecurities, unhealthy eating habits, and body image — that is not a place I want to go back to. I am speaking for myself here, but I know that personally, it is really toxic for me to spend time looking at photos of people that make me feel less confident or not good enough. I am, at this point in time, comfortable in my own skin, and following those influencers on social media is not worth the potential risk it poses to my wellbeing.
9. I don't need to look like an Instagram model to be beautiful
Beauty standards are whack, this we know. So why do we still hold ourselves to them? I don't need to look like an Instagram model in order to be beautiful and neither does anybody else. It's time to start owning that.
Nobody is responsible for my triggers or insecurities, and they aren't responsible for anybody else's either. It is so, so important to take note of the things that do and do not make you feel good about yourself, and then act on those things accordingly. For me, following certain influencers does take a toll on my self-image, so my decision to unfollow them is based on the fact that I am striving to be my happiest and healthiest self, and the only way that I can truly do that is by reflecting inwards.