Lately, I have become increasingly agitated by “fitness inspiration” photos people have been Pinning, Instagramming and Facebooking. They usually feature a stick thin woman or a woman who clearly trains for competition, with a motivational quote. I love most of the quotes on them, however both of these image types are not realistic goals. These photos might be a dream of yours, but most times, they are not a reality and will only set you up to fail and feel miserable about your body, despite whatever progress you may make. (Trust me…I have gone through this.)
Unsure of what I’m referring to? Here are a few examples:
These ladies have amazing bodies, but it’s not the norm.
Now, before you jump all over me and tell me that they are attainable with hard work, I am well aware of that. ANYTHING is possible, and I’m not knocking that. I’m simply speaking of the average overweight mom or woman who is obsessing over losing weight.
A typical woman works a desk job, has evening activities to attend with her children, a house to clean, laundry to do and is forced to grab fast food from time to time. That doesn’t mean that there is no time to workout….you make the time for that….however, the type of strict diet and workout routine needed to achieve the super fit, sculpted bodies in some of these photos is very hard to follow.
Using photos like these as motivation also makes it hard to appreciate the progress that you do make during your weight loss, because you’re always comparing yourself to something that isn’t the norm.
Do you know how many times I have had people message me saying they don’t understand why they are following a program and only losing a pound? They are genuinely upset by losing a pound when they should be happy they are making progress, being active, eating healthier and not gaining. As a generation, it’s all about instant gratification and this is not the place for it.
This leads me to another pet peeve of mine, which I have seen all over Facebook since the new year. Obscene diets and “miracle” pills. I’ve said it a million times, so what’s one more?
THEY DON’T WORK!
Just stop it! You didn’t gain the weight over night, therefore you shouldn’t expect to lose it overnight. There is no quick fix. There is no magic pill. Do you really think the super fit girl in the commercial simply popped a pill and woke up with those six pack abs and super perky ass? NO! She worked her ass off for it in the gym and ate super clean. If it was as simple as popping a pill, we wouldn’t have an obesity problem in this country.
Please….just stop with the fad diets, popping pills that claim to block fat and help you get fit and lean without exercise. I beg you! They are unhealthy and if you do have any success, you will just end up gaining it all back, plus some when you stop following the diet or taking the pills, not to mention the damage you can be doing to your body by following these plans.
The road to getting healthy is not an easy one, but it can be a rewarding one. I’ve been at this for over three years and I’ve battled a lot of demons (thanks in part to photos like the ones above), but I’ve learned so much. How to eat healthy, that it’s okay to have a cheat day, that my body is much stronger than my mind and when my mind shuts the fuck up…my body is capable of amazing things! The most important lesson is one I’m currently working on, and that’s to love myself. I’m learning to accept the flaws of my body, because they add character.
Yes, I had a tummy tuck and some people might view that as shallow, and that’s okay, because it doesn’t matter what they think. It’s what I needed to do in order to move on with my life and to finally say goodbye to the fat girl I spent so many years of my life being.
In closing, I ask you to simply to keep realistic goals when you start trying to lose weight. Take it slow, keep it real and know that’s okay to be human and make mistakes. It takes time to break bad habits and form new, good ones. Most importantly, take the time to appreciate all of the things you achieve!