I’m a little fired up about this; you have been warned!
There are a lot of topics we don’t generally talk about at dinner parties or around the BBQ. Sex, politics and money are common ones.
But there are a number of other important topics women rarely talk about in private (and certainly not in public)...
Feeling like a fraud who’s going to be ‘outed’ any minute at work.
The way we often feel guilty about something / anything / everything in our lives.
Our fear of what others will think if they come around for a cuppa and the house is a mess.
The way we sabotage ourselves by focusing on the bad sh!t we don’t want to happen, rather than on the good stuff we do want.
The need to discuss these topics openly, honestly and in a practical way is the main reason I wanted to create this SpartaChicks community.
But there’s another reason and it’s the source of this rant…
There are so many things published on Facebook and in the media every day that do nothing but feed into and perpetuate the (negative) way most women feel about themselves. And #fitspiration is a perfect example.
It’s defined by the Urban Dictionary as examples of good fitness (people, photographs, skinny jeans etc) as inspiration to attain a fitness goal.
You only need to open Facebook or Instagram on any given day to see a motivational slogan slapped on chiselled rock hard body (probably wearing some ridiculous outfit) that’s meant to inspire and motivate you to push harder, run faster, lift heavier, get skinnier and (apparently) be healthier.
(I mean, WTF is this? Is she selling leggings or beanies?
There are two problems with #fitspiration.
Firstly, the motivation or inspiration you gain (if any) is fleeting in nature.
It’s not going to last any longer than the time it takes you to quickly scroll down the page. You’ve told yourself certain stories about what you can, or can’t, do for years - maybe even decades. So a single motivational slogan you glance at whilst balancing dinner on your lap in front of the TV while half listening to your spouse tell you about their day won’t be enough to help you overcome your deep-seated beliefs about what you can or can’t do.
And secondly, and perhaps more importantly, by it’s very nature, #fitspiration triggers - and is designed to trigger - a "comparison" scenario which unfortunately most women have already mastered!
If anyone has perfected the art of slipping into the “comparison syndrome”, we have.
When you see a #fitspiration pic, you probably (sometimes even without realising it) look at how good her legs/arms/abs/whatever are and then instantaneously think how bad your legs/arms/abs/whatever are in comparison. Hell most of the weight loss industry (and associated gimmicks) are built on this premise!
It’s unhealthy and can do more harm than good.
As my friend Susan Williams, a dietitian who specialises in disordered eating would say, #fuckthisshit.
Don't get me wrong - motivation and inspiration are important. They have been the source of most, if not all, of the great scientific discoveries, artistic creations, books, music, movies and sporting performance since the history of (wo)mankind. And yes we all need something to aspire to.
But not at the cost of your self-worth and confidence.
And not if there's a tiny part of your soul that dies in the process.
So with everything that’s going on in the world at the moment, why is this important?
Because there are so many amazing, strong, determined, nurturing women like you who can't see those characteristics in themselves.
As my friend Susan said “because we are kept quiet, kept small, kept powerless by the constant fear that our body isn’t right. We put our life off until we’re the right weight or the right size. We don’t engage in the really important debates on equality, social justice and violence because we’re constantly in doubt of our awesome bodies. And I say F*ck That Shit.”
And she’s right!
How on earth can you stand confidently in who you are, what you want and what issues and values are important to you when the underlying idea that you aren’t (good, confident, skinny, wealthy, healthy, educated, empowered) ”enough" has been baked into you thanks to the stories you’ve been told, the way you’ve been conditioned by society (thank you #fitspiration), and the stories you’ve told yourself that it now runs through every fibre of your soul.
Because this comparison happens at a subconscious level, it can be hard to recognise that it’s happening.
But here is a challenge to help you recognise it: the next time you open Facebook or Instagram and see a #fitspiration pic, take a moment and examine your thought process and emotions:
What did you look at?
What did you think? What are the first 2 thoughts that came to mind?
Be honest with yourself. Picking up on your subconscious thoughts takes time - they are subconscious after all! But the more you pay attention, you'll notice it more and more over time.
Then once you are able to start doing that, you can take the next step of changing your response to those images and the script that goes in your mind.
This will allow you to avoid the comparison “trap” and help you feel more confident, centred and “enough” - because you are 🙂