Social Media and Fitness: How the Online World may Damage our Health and Self-Esteem
By Faith Ellis
It seems that people exercise on social media as much as they workout in the gym. As you scroll through your newsfeed, how do you feel when you see gym selfies or girls posing flawlessly during a sweat sesh? Truthfully, your online feed may be damaging to your health and self-esteem. How can this be? When we see other people who look perfect to us, it can either motivate us to workout harder, to look like them, or it can make us feel bad about ourselves.
But why are you comparing yourself to someone else in the first place? This behavior can have a negative effect on your mental and emotional health. If it ever gets to that, consider unfollowing these accounts or staying off social media for a while. Few people in the world look as glamorous and picture-perfect in real life as they do online.
These are a few ways many of those gym selfies deceive us:
Filters, multiple shots, Photoshop, it takes a lot of time to create that perfect picture. Many of the workout selfies you see are edited, filtered, posed, and one shot out of ten or twenty that just didn’t make the cut. Granted, many of those people are trying to create a nice feed, especially on Instagram, because it’s a highly visual platform. Would you like something that didn’t look appealing? Most likely the answer is ‘no’.
When you see these photos in your feed, however, you aren’t thinking about how long it took this girl to look this perfect. You aren’t analyzing which filter she used or trying to see a smudge that is a Photoshop dead giveaway. When you see these photos you are either feeling motivated to work harder on yourself or you are beating yourself up and asking yourself “Why can’t I look like that?”
It’s an Illusion
Simply put: it isn’t real. Sure, some of the posts and videos are real, but you would surprised at the way you can manipulate your body to look with some minor adjustments. Simple enhancements such as tanning, body contouring, posing, and clothing, can create a look that your natural self might not have. Tanning actually creates an illusion that makes a body look slimmer and muscles look more defined; hence, why competitors spray their bodies so dark during competitions.
You contour your face to bring out your bone structure and slim your nose, but did you know people were also doing this with their abs, legs, and arms? In one way, it’s similar to the idea of tanning, but it’s a little obsessive. If you want chiseled abs, why not just work for them?
Posing is done during competitions to put the body in specific stances that allow you to see muscle definition better. It can make your body look way different from when it is in a relaxed state. Now, the pose has made it’s way from the stage to our gym selfies where girls are posing to make their butt look better, their abs look more defined, or their biceps appear near to busting. That’s great, it’s fine, but realize, this is an illusion. It is an exaggeration of the body’s natural, relaxed state.
Clothing is another popular form of illusion. Have you noticed how quickly high-waisted leggings became a thing? That’s because it hides our bellies and plumps our booties. It’s the perfect deception! But it is just that – deception. With any clothing, we want to dress in a way that accentuates our good parts and hides the parts of ourselves that make us self-conscious. Next time you see a gym selfie of a girl with a teeny waist, chiseled six pack, and J-Lo booty, ask yourself “What brand leggings are those?”
Being a Girl
There is nothing wrong with wanting to make yourself look good or accentuating your assets, that’s a major part of being a girl. That’s what makes being a girl so much fun! But there is a point where it becomes obsessive and looks like you aren’t happy just being you. Our bodies are incredible things and we can accentuate them naturally through hard work, exercise, and healthy diets. When you’re scrolling through Instagram and see another flawless gym selfie, acknowledge to yourself that it’s a nice picture and move on. Don’t spend too much time on the details. If you’re looking for motivation, look no further! Her Suppz offers plenty of helpful articles and an awesome group of Ambassadors to keep you motivated. Women have to stick together and lift one another up, not bring each other down.
Do you find social media to have a positive or negative effect on your body image? Comment below!
Faith is living a healthy lifestyle and her ultimate passion is to inspire others to do the same.
She decided to change the way she was living 4 years ago, but she wasn’t expecting to actually fall in love with it!
Now she enjoys experimenting with different kinds of fitness and challenging her body to new heights whether it be pilates, plyometric training, or weight training, and she aims to inspire others to realize the strength within themselves as well.
Faith’s favorite product for pre-workout is the Optimum Nutrition Essential Amino Energy line. Her favorite flavor so far has been the peach lemonade, but next on her list is Mocha Cappuccino, yum! The use of natural caffeine sources is a real win for this product and it mixes easily, so there is no grainy texture.
For protein sources, she enjoys Oh Yeah! One Bars for a quick and filling snack on-the-go, of which she has many favorite flavors! Or Gaspari Precision Protein to mix up a shake. Faith’s favorite recipe uses 1 scoop of the Cinnamon Cereal Crunch flavor, mixed with 1/2 a banana, 1/4 a cup of vanilla Greek yogurt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 8 ounces of unsweetened almond milk, and 1 cup of ice.
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