“Fit-spiration” or “Fitspo” literally fills my social media newsfeeds.
And not because I want it to, but because online marketing can literally filter my 25-year-old, female profile out of the masses. Just to post an ad that tells me I can lose weight eating anything (and everything) I want and still look like the girl holding her magical protein powder.
Somehow an entire culture—a toxic one—built primarily on comparison, motivates us to get “healthy” and “fit.”
And for some reason it’s so easy to click Follow and allow their pictures and motivational captions to fill my Instagram. Making me grab at my extra skin and fat on my arms and gut, believing that I’m just not good enough to be like her.
The top 5 reasons to unfollow these “Fitspo” accounts today:
1. It’s not real.
I really wish that I could have pounded this into my head with a 2×4 years ago. For some reason—even when we know that there are phone apps and technology to alter images—we look at the pictures posted and they register in our brains as the standard. Our first thoughts aren’t, “Wow, I wonder how edited this picture is?” Instead it’s, “Wow, I wonder how she got those abs?” or, “Man, she must have some killer secret to get rid of cellulite on her thighs.” Why do we let that become our “reality” when we have every reason to wonder how real it actually is?
2. There isn’t balance.
I know there are some exceptions to this rule, but most fitness influencers on social media don’t have a healthy relationship with food or exercise. You don’t need to cut out entire food groups to get the results they have. You don’t need to be in the gym 3+ hours a day. Or take every supplement out there. But you do need to find the balance between taking care of your body and obsessing over it. Honestly, being a healthy you isn’t an exact science. There aren’t complicated formulas to follow, nor algorithms that will melt fat off fast. You simply need to find balance. Accept that if you are living a balanced and healthy lifestyle that works for you, you probably aren’t going to look like that girl on Instagram. That’s okay.
3. You aren’t her.
Guess what—you aren’t. You have an entirely different genetic makeup with different tastes in food. You have different preferences in what type of exercise is fun. Different amounts of time to dedicate to specific realms of life. Your routine will look different. Because your body IS different. Your reasons “why” are different. Everything about you is different from the girl in the “Fitspo” pics. You are unique, beautiful, special, and worthy all by yourself. So stop trying to resemble your life after hers.
4. Comparison doesn’t motivate, it destroys.
I printed out pictures of fit girls with inspirational quotes to hang on my fridge during seasons when I desperately wanted to lose weight and get fit. You wanna know what that did? It discouraged me. It did the very opposite of what I wanted it to do. I would look at those pictures and say, “Wow, I’ve been trying my hardest for months and I still don’t look like that.” And every time I would throw in the towel. Comparison robs us of the joy of this moment. It steals away the growth that can come in the journey of “getting there.” If you have a goal, don’t find your motivation in comparing yourself to others. Find it in the strength and the power you have inside of you. Be grateful for where you are now and for where you have the power to go.
5. God calls us to set our mind on things above.
If none of that convinced you that “Fitspo” is unhealthy and toxic, then I pray that Scripture would. In Colossians 3:1-5 Paul pleads with the church of Colossae to set their mind on things above and not on things of this world. He says that we are called to put to death what is earthly in us and he directly addresses covetousness. I know that my intention in following “Fitspo” accounts wasn’t to increase my dislike of my body and decrease my love for how I was created by God. But that’s what it did. It puts focus on other people’s earthly bodies and takes my mind off the purpose my body was created to serve. I am a vessel for God, made by God to proclaim Truth. The truth is that you and I are SO MUCH MORE than the bodies we dwell in now.
I beg you—if you struggle to accept your body or if you struggle to find balance with food and exercise, unfollow all “Fitspo” accounts on your news feed. Follow accounts that will build you up and encourage you to embrace who you were created to be, and strive to become more like Jesus every day. Share this with a friend you think needs to hear this. <3
(If you want a couple recommendations of people to follow let me know. There are women who pursue balance in health and fitness, Jesus, and are incredibly honest about their bodies.)