The Ugly Truth About Fitspiration

Everywhere we look, we’re surrounded by images of chiseled abs with some inspirational quote about how you have to exercise real hard to love yourself. Because you deserve it, and you can’t waste your body. Unfortunately, there are many detrimental effects from this seemingly motivational rhetoric.

  • I’m not petite
  • I’m not a mom
  • I don’t care

Are those enough excuses? If a hot bod makes Maria Kang happy, that’s fine, but there are so many things that make me happy that don’t have anything to do with the way I look. BTW, has someone asked her how long she has to exercise each day to achieve this physique, or if she has to follow a very strict diet to look this way? Those aren’t necessarily priorities for many people (including me), so that’s another excuse. Oh, and those kids are adorable!

See what I mean, someone can see this and think that if she can do it, I should be able to. But we all have different priorities, genetics, and bodies. Lexie and Lindsay Kite of say that these fitspiration images are really “shame-inducing, objectifying, and limiting ideals that keep women in their places as objects to be looked at above all else.”

A recent study  corroborates the shame-inducing aspect of fitspiration that the Kite sisters indicated. This study monitored 130 undergraduate women’s reactions to looking at Instagram pictures of fitspiration or of travel photos. This study indicates that the women who viewed the fitspiration photos experienced increased negative mood and body dissatisfaction and decreased state appearance self-esteem relative to travel images. With these women, the fitspiration left them less satisfied with themselves. Although dissatisfaction and negative personal views can be a powerful motivator, these views can lead to unhealthy means of achieving desired results and they may not be as long lasting as positive and internal motivations.

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