If you type #fitspo into the world of Instagram you will find 55 million associated posts (and counting!) of beautifully strong bodies, bronzed rippling abs, beautiful women with long glistening locks living the ‘workout selfie’ life. Whether it is an idyllic sunrise, a head clearing beach power walk, a Buddha bowl of nourishing goodness, a pre-workout tip, a smoothie bowl, designer activewear that hugs in ALL the right places, it is all there at our fingertips, to inspire us into healthier, leaner, fitter, happier us. Cool, right?!
But what really happens when we find ourselves scrolling through pages and pages of golden, tight physiques, floods of dedicated gym bunnies bouncing out of bed at 5am to smash an early morning workout in the latest lululemon design? When we surround ourselves with images of coffee sipping, barbell thrusters who are ready to slay the day – all before we are even out of bed! Instead of having the inspiring effect of motivating us to do that pre-work beach run, followed by half an hour of heavy lifting and clean lunch prep, sometimes it just leaves us feeling so…. ‘meh’. Unmotivated, and at its worst, inadequate. Not so cool!
A slippery slope down comparison lane is NOT what the doctor ordered. Managing thoughts at these times can be difficult. Old habits die hard. You might just find yourself later that morning on the lululemon homepage, pintresting gym friendly hairstyles on your way to work, or on the hunt for the new perfect gym bag or stainless steel water bottle. You might find yourself reaching for poor food choices as you have just no idea why you are feeling so tired and unmotivated today.
Unfortunately, as a general trend, research is showing that #fitspo is leading to more and more unhealthy behaviours. Young women - and men - can become obsessed with diet and exercise, and feel inadequate when they fall short of the images being held in aspiration. Your brain is smart, and your thoughts are powerful. Just like those lululemon tights that once you have seen online will follow you around all day, popping up on every website you visit forevermore, your brain will not easily forget those thoughts and feelings of inadequacy.
You might be surprised to find that they could follow you around all day, or even all week. They could shape your behaviours in all areas of your life. All of a sudden your partner might not seem as attentive, maybe they are beginning to get bored or complacent?! The clothes hanging in your wardrobe that fit well last week might all of a sudden become too tight or too frumpy. You might begin to ask yourself why you even bother working out and making good food choices when this is the outcome.
It might not be the exercise you are doing, the outfits you are wearing, the food choices you are making or the kms on your Fitbit that are the problem. It might actually be the accounts that you are following, and the impact on your mental health that is stopping you from reaching your goals and feeling at your most energised.
Ask yourself what is driving your behaviour today? Are you able to effectively manage your thinking and stop negative thought patterns from affecting your day? Are your thoughts holding you back? Stopping you from feeling engaged and motivated? At work, at home, in the gym, in your underwear? Take a look at who you are following online, and the images you show your brain, and really ask yourself whether their accounts serve you well. Do they put you in a good, motivated frame of mind?
Remind yourself that those images are mostly a highlight reel of good filters, good angles and precise lighting. Remind yourself that the ‘real’ world is the things that you truly care about, and if health is one of them then make sure that you prioritise the health of your mind as well as your physical health. If you are a social media butterfly, follow accounts that inspire and engage you, regardless of what that might look like. Scroll for the right reasons and for goodness sake remember to be KIND to yourself.
Do the best that you can, with the tools that you have. It doesn’t matter where you are in your health journey, sometimes taking a step back to breathe, take the pressure off of yourself, and remember that your choices should always be enjoyable, sustainable and make you a slightly better version of yourself than you were yesterday and you can’t go too far wrong. Perhaps now that you have so much time on your hands first thing tomorrow morning you might actually do that beach walk at sunrise you have been meaning to do?!
For more real examples of how you can incorporate more of the 10 Healthy Habits into your day, please click on the image below.
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