Monday, July 21, 2014

Stop it!

After taking a couple of rest days, it sure felt good to get out and run this morning.
Last night's rain brought a beautiful sunrise. Seriously so gorgeous and just what I needed after a night of heavy thinking.

You see, I love Pinterest as much as the next girl. And last night I found myself sitting with my laptop, perusing the interwebs, pinning here and there. In general, Pinterest is an amazing tool. Want a great recipe for the 20 lb bag of frozen chicken thighs you bought at Costco? Go to Pinterest. Need ideas for a Sponge Bob-themed birthday party? Pinterest has you covered. I've used Pinterest for everything from ideas for church parties to treatments for dry, flaky scalp. And it's great; honestly, I don't know how I got along before Pinterest.

But there is one aspect of Pinterest that, well, I really don't like and it hit me hard last night: all the "fitness" motivation pins. 

Obviously I love "fitspiration." I've pinned my share of workout pins. I have boards dedicated to running, Pilates,yoga, and fitness in general. Truth be told, in the past year I've probably spent a combined total of days scouring Pinterest for workouts. And I've found myself getting frustrated, irritable, maybe a little obsessive. Dare I say angry?--at what? And why?

Last night it hit me: body hate. Many of the "fitness" pins don't inspire fitness at all. They inspire body hate.

Go ahead and see for yourself. Search fitness or workouts or health or whatever. You are going to find porn thinly veiled as motivation to get "healthy." I know you know what I'm talking about. Agree or disagree with me, it doesn't matter. Any time you pin a pin of an undressed woman, exposing her "womanly" body parts, promising that you too can have a higher, rounder tush and long, lean legs if you just do this series of exercises you are feeding in to a great big lie.

I don't mean you can't get the body you want from exercise. What kind of fitness instructor would I be if I believed that? What I mean is those pins aren't there on Pinterest for your benefit. They are there to drive traffic to a website. The people behind those seductive pins don't care how motivated you are to find optimal health. They only care how motivated you are to click on a link.

Don't believe me? Check them out for yourself. How does it make you feel when you see a picture of a Victoria's Secret model? If you're anything like me, then you feel envious. You'd love to look like that. And the people behind those images know that.

But do you feel empowered? Strong? Capable? Motivated to be your best you? I know I don't.
But that's how fitness is supposed to make you feel. Like your best you.
The truth is all bodies are different. And all bodies, though slightly predictable, respond to diet and exercise differently. It all depends on a crazy mash-up of genes, lifestyle, history, and accountability among other things. Our mothers have been telling us this since we became aware we needed training bras.

And yet we continue to embrace the half-naked, photoshopped version of the female body as "ideal."
Stop it! Stop the body hate!

I'm tired of hearing my strong, healthy friends say, "I hate my belly fat--I'm going vegan." Or, "maybe if I run this marathon I'll finally lose twenty pounds." Mostly I'm tired of feeling just awesome after an amazing run only to feel defeated moments later as I unpeel in front of the mirror and realize that despite all my hard work I will still never look like those women on Pinterest.
So I'm not doing it anymore. I'm not pinning those almost pornographic fitness pins ever again. I will not continue to feed a greedy industry that uses women as tools.

Will you join me?

The very next day after I published this post, Tosca Reno of the Huffpost Living posted this article on The Blog. Glad to see I am not alone in my feelings about this disturbing aspect of "fitness." Women, girls, please understand that you are more than just your parts. Fitness should empower you, not make you feel like less--or worse, like a piece of meat. Fit is a way to live, not a way to look.

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