Stop Fitspiration? What?

I’d like to say that I’m at a loss for words, but in this case, I have many choice words I could use – I’m actually a little flustered. Allow me to explain.

I love Fitspiration quotes. They’re motivating, empowering, and inspiring, and they show women especially that being strong is a good thing. Recently, while browsing different fitspiration images, I tripped over the #StopFitspiration campaign. Even now when I see them I can’t help but think, What the hell..?

In this post, I’ve included a few of the images that I’ve found – and, to their credit, I kind of understand what they’re trying to achieve. That said, I completely disagree with how they’re going about it. Why discourage being fit? If they wanted to supplement it with – Hey, this is great, here’s how to go about it in a healthy way – maybe I’d jump on that band wagon.

love-the-body-you-haveLove the body you have, not the body you want.
You can love the body you have, but still want to be healthier. In fact, loving your body should be a primary reason why you want to take care of it, drop the excess weight, and have a strong body.

And not only that, but what’s wrong with wanting to better yourself? I’m always looking for ways to improve – be nicer, stronger, more confident – a lot of people have stopped doing that, and the complacency makes me sad.

To-be-strongYou don’t have to look like THIS to be strong.
I’ll agree that being strong doesn’t have to look like this. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes, but I think they picked the wrong image to make this point. The body in this picture is strong and fit without being unrealistic. This doesn’t depict crazy, bulging muscles or an emaciated rib cage image. The woman’s shirt says, “Strong is the new skinny.” If people care to think about that a bit, it encourages people to get fit, not just be skinny. After all, there is such a thing as skinny fat – those who are skinny but have no muscle. That’s the difference between looking good in clothes, and looking good naked. Honestly, which would you prefer?

PerseverencePerseverance is not measured by a tape measure of the presence of a six pack.
This one just pisses me off. The Fitspiration quote says, “Remember the girl who gave up? No one else does either. Fight on.” #StopFitspiration says over the top of it, “Perseverance is not measured by a tape measure or the presence of a six pack.”

Are you kidding me? When you persevere, you’re going to see results, regardless of what it is. And regardless of what it is, if you give up, you’re most likely not going to be remembered. You’re not going to inspire people. You’re not going to better yourself. If you persevere, progress might be slow, and you might not make the cover of any magazines, but you’re going to better yourself, and that’s something to be proud of.

Also, what is measured by a tape measure – by health professionals – is your risk of heart disease and diabetes. So rather than discourage someone for working toward a fit body, how about encouraging overall health and wellness. I get that healthy doesn’t necessarily look like the six pack in this Fitspiration image, but let’s encourage healthy habits rather than throw out the tape measure.

#StopFitspiration is a waste of time campaign. Our country is overwhelmed by an obesity epidemic, and those who dedicate themselves to taking away what inspiration there is for people to take charge of their health and get fit, are contributing to the problem, not the solution. Motivation is so hard for people who are trying to get healthy because progress is so slow.

If Fitspiration images were centered around skeleton bodies, I might feel differently about the #StopFitspiration campaign. But instead, all #StopFitspiration has done for me is say, Hey, it’s OK to live a sedentary lifestyle – embrace your obesity and let your health deteriorate. Don’t let those fit people make you feel bad about your love handles or keep you from eating whatever you want. You’re a winner, no matter what.

Extreme? You bet. So is the campaign’s interpretation of Fitspiration.

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