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It’s kind of funny to look at how much my much my goals and attitude towards fitness and health have changed. And what I look to for inspiration.
Years ago I would look at pictures of twig-thin runway models to motivate myself to eat less, or not at all. Paris Hilton body types (nothing against that body type, but for my body structure it was unattainable to get to in a healthy way). The emaciated models on runways were my inspriation. I’d save those pictures and pull them up and tell myself that was the goal. I wanted to be a twig too.
Nowadays, the pictures I look to are fitness models, Jillian Michaels and Jamie Eason body types. And looking at them doesn’t motivate me to skip meals and eat nothing, but actually to eat more, and clean, and to keep working hard and pushing myself. I don’t want to look like a twig, I want to look strong.
There is quite a difference in the body types of the thinspo and fitspo I would refer to.
I know there’s been debate over whether fitspo is helpful or as harmful as thinspo can be. One blogger says:
“I found myself getting more and more obsessive with the images, then comparing myself to them and consequently feeling really awful about myself. Just like I used to do with thinspo.
Looking at rock-hard body after rock-hard body it occurred to me that fitspo may be thinspo in a sports bra. After all, the problem with thinspo is that the images represent a mostly unattainable ideal that requires great sacrifices (both physical and mental) to achieve and I daresay that most of those “perfect” female bodies, albeit muscular instead of bony, are equally as problematic.”
I do agree that it could be harmful, but it all depends on the individual, and how you use it. For me, I get inspired by the women in these “fitspo” pictures, because it takes a lot of continuous hard work and dedication to achieve that physique, and it motivates me to work hard and push myself, and eat more and eat well, and not give up on my goals. I don’t obsess over these images or beat myself up because I don’t measure up. I don’t constantly look at photos while I am at the gym and try to push myself past my limits to get to their level of fitness. I don’t restrict my calorie intake to try to be the same size as them. Rather, I use them to motivate myself to stay driven, and not go back to a life of inactivity when I did zero physical activities and ate everything within sight. I was unhealthy then too.
The important thing is to keep in mind that every body is different, and unfortunately genes do play a big role in how we’re shaped and where we store food. That specific image you are looking at may indeed be unattainable for your body type. But rather than becoming discouraged because you don’t look like them, think of the work you’re putting in, and be proud that you are working hard–not to look exactly like them, but to be as strong as them–and be encouraged by how far you’ve come. Results do not come overnight, progress takes time!
It can be easy for me to look at the stomach’s of those fitness models and get discouraged because my tummy doesn’t look like that. Unfortunately for me, my body tends to store ALL of my fat in my belly, and while it’s easy for me to lose in my arms and legs it sometimes seems almost impossible for me to lose fat in my stomach–the one place I want to lose! It seems next to impossible for me to get a flat tummy.
But instead of getting upset, I get determined and cheerful about how hard I’m working, and it motivates me to get my butt to the gym and push myself rather than go home and try to level up in Halo or Skyrim. I become excited because I think I may not look exactly like that fitness model, but I am working hard towards the healthiest body that I can achieve!
*Images not mine, taken from Google search