Social media is fantastic in connecting people all over the world. Recipes, mini-workouts, health products and fitness fashion. Everything is virtually (excuse the pun) available at the touch of a button. The problem: It offers a false sense of reality. This is not the real world people!
Checking-in to a gym and posting gym selfies has two effects; it either leaves people feeling inspired or feeling self- conscious. Hash tags such as #cleaneating and #foodporn represent two things; restrictive eating or gorging.
What on earth happened to common sense and enjoying life in moderation? All we have become is a self-absorbed society.
Health and fitness has become more about punishing your body after you’ve had a #cheatmeal. Health and fitness has become more about looking aesthetically pleasing.
Health and fitness has become what society exposes you to.
What does a fit and healthy person look like anyway? Guaranteed we will all have a different answer.
Females are striving for the 3 T’s – Tall, Tanned, Thin and then we have the complexity of our male counterparts, struggling between their #bulking and #shredding phases.
It is alarming how easily manipulated young people become by this ‘fake’ world. They are drawn into the social media images and think that they are authentic and inspirational. Just like filters can illustrate a person’s “perfect” life, that person can also ‘filter’ what they want to show. We rarely see the whole picture. We only see a highlight reel of someone’s’ life.
When consulting with our patients, we often ask for their goals. We hear responses such as: “I want an a*** like Kim K” or “I want to look skinny like Miranda Kerr.” Don’t get us wrong, these women are beautiful in their own right. How can the public avoid these people when they are flooding our newsfeeds and headlines? What ever happened to having the realistic ambition of being the best version of you?
Recently, a mother of a 14 year old girl approached the clinic for guidance because her daughter had stopped eating for a week. She thought she was fat. Who was she trying to look like? Kylie Jenner. These stories are only becoming more common in our practices.
Social media has made many young and impressionable people become self-conscious (men and women alike). They are not comfortable in their own skin because #fitspiration and #thinspiration images make them feel inadequate.
The unfortunate reality is that these same people will grow up resenting their bodies, using their negative emotions to fuel unhealthy habits (under/over-exercising and/or under/over-eating) with the potential of devastating health complications (psychological disorders, eating disorders, hormonal dysfunction, etc.).
On the flip side, we see the older generation who haven’t been exposed to what is trending online – they are unfiltered. They don’t buy into the BS. All they want is to be able to make a yummy sandwich for lunch without pausing to catch their breath or to put their undies on without falling over the bed. It’s so refreshing being around them – their simplistic and uncomplicated outlook puts everything into perspective.
We are so connected to social media, yet so disconnected with our minds and bodies. We have lost focus on what health truly means. Our relentless battle of striving to reach these unrealistic ideals needs to stop. Comparison does not lead to improvement and what is perceived as ‘normal’ does not mean that it is right.
So, the next time that you visit the gym, or construct a carb-less meal, take a moment to think about what you want to accomplish. Think about what your priorities are. Remember, you are a product of what you absorb…
- Remember: We are all NOT meant to look the same.
- Look at yourself as a whole, not at specific parts of your body. The reflection in the mirror may be distorted by socially constructed ideas of being fit, healthy and beautiful.
- Surround yourself with positive people – exercise together (walking, swimming) and/or cook fun meals together.
- Log-off/un-plug from technology for a few hours, or even over a weekend. Use this time to engage with nature and friends face to face.
This blog post was written by Angelique Houridis (AEP) in collaboration with Dimitra Harpas (APD). They have joined forces to bring you “Health Babble”.
Angelique & Dimi both run their own private practices in Sydney, NSW and are very passionate about promoting a balanced and enjoyable lifestyle for their patients. On their days off, they enjoy good food, good wine and great company.