Is “Fitspo” Hurting Us?

Finding the motivation for a healthier lifestyle is tough. We try anything we can think of to give us that kick in the butt that we so desperately want. One of the most common attempts to stay motivated, keep health on the mind and reach fitness goals is by using “fitspiration” boards.Whether it’s on Pinterest, Tumbler, or taped to the wall, we often believe the best way to reach our body goal is by looking at what we want to become.

But is “fitspiration”  hurting more than it’s helping?

In my own experience, I printed out tons of pictures off of my Pinterest fitness board and created a collage that I hung on the wall. I placed it somewhere that I would be sure to see every day, in hopes it would be my motivation to work out more and eat healthier.

What I found, though, was nothing like what I had expected. I began to realize that I was comparing myself to these other bodies, and was upset when I wasn’t matching them. Once I realized that just looking at these pictures was not only damaging my self-esteem, but also my motivation, I knew something had to change.

Studies have shown that being a part of this kind of online group or community can actually trigger eating disorders. There was even a study that showed a whole 84% of women without eating disorders began cutting down their calorie intake by an average of 2,470 calories after viewing “fitspo” or “thinspo” websites, with only about half of these women realizing that they had cut down on their food intake.

After so much exposure to these images, we begin to think that this is the norm, that we should all look like this. However, because each body is unique, looking at these pictures of other peoples bodies puts an unrealistic goal in our heads. No one person will ever look exactly the same as another, and we need to stop comparing ourselves.

So what do we do to change it? It’s time to delete the “motivational” bikini goal pictures from our Pinterest boards and tear down images of other girls’ bodies from our walls. Lets replace them with pictures of ourselves in our happiest moments, delicious healthy meals, and the most inspirational quotes.

We’re going to strive to be the best versions ourselves–not someone else.

Rhea Fowler

Contributor, Bloomsburg University Major: Mass Communications Her heart belongs to: My family and boyfriend, my puppy, and of course, Pinterest. Her guilty pleasures: Anything and everything on the Disney Channel!

  1. Preach, sista. I’ve been down that road and back. We need to help show women (and men, yay gender equality!) that exercise and a healthy lifestyle make a BETTER you not necessarily a THINNER you and that your body, albeit imperfect, is wonderful.

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