Don't get me wrong, I love Pinterest. I have been a fan of the site from the very beginning. I use it daily and spend probably at least three to four hours a week pinning my favorite recipes, workouts, fall fashion trends and inspiration for my 2014 wedding. When I recently came across an article on Today.com about a new Pinterest fad, I had to click and read.
The article talks about "fitspiration," an Internet term for images and slogans that are meant to inspire people to get off the couch and achieve their fitness goals. Fitspiration is not a new concept. As a long-time blogger (I had a livejournal, xanga and deadjournal back in the '90s!) I've seen my fair share of inspirational fitness and healthy-living images. You may remember a few years back when pro-anorexic images, also known as "pro-ana", started flooding Tumblr pages. This type of social media content wasn't born yesterday.
As the article suggests, the trouble with "fitspiration" is that there can be a fine line between healthy and almost unattainable. Fitspiration images can sometimes show bodies that most women will never be able to achieve--thigh gaps, protruding hipbones and collarbones, etc. "The trouble is, when you surround all those good messages with images of people that are unattainable for most women," says David LaPorte, a psychologist at Indiana University of Pennsylvania who has studied social media and body image.
As a woman who visits Pinterest pretty regularly for ideas on workouts, new gym attire and healthy recipes, I'm inundated frequently with these images of "fitspiration." No matter what I search for on Pinterest relating to fitness, there's always a chance to see these pictures. At this point, I just ignore them. I know my body type. There's no way I'm going to get the biceps that are shown in some of the pins. I'm definitely not ever going to have legs for days like in the images with supermodels. But that being said, I do gain muscle easily so I am guilty of pinning photos that I know are attainable for my body type. I do like having inspirational images to check back on, but that doesn't mean I pin images with six-inch thigh gaps or collar bones sticking out. It's not attainable and it's not healthy for you emotionally or physically.
So yes, I agree with the article. There definitely is a fine line between being healthy and becoming obsessed with an unattainable body image. I understand the risks with becoming obsessed with your body image and I know what is attainable for my body and what is really not. A teenage girl or boy just coming of age may not. He or she may want a specific body type and become overwhelmed in trying to reach that goal. It's all about balance and loving yourself for who you are. When you truly love yourself inside and out, you will be less likely to fall victim to the damaging effects of a poor body image.
"Pro-Ana" Websites Promote Unhealthy Eating and Anorexia
Nicole Kennedy is a healthy living blogger and publicist living in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Nicole's blog, Simply Nicole, documents her daily life occurrences as she balances working full-time, blogging, training for races, practicing yoga, eating healthy and planning her wedding. You can connect with Nicole via Facebook and Twitter for real-time blog updates, tips and tricks to living a healthy lifestyle, and more!