obsession in the 21st century

Time to hop in our time machines and go back 4 or 5 years…

Remember how much of an influence the media seemed to have over us during that time? Models and celebrities were not only expected to be thin, they were praised and idolized for it. Tabloids were filled with pictures of them in bikinis and details on the extreme fad diets they were following to maintain their “figures”. Eating disorders were common and “healthy” became synonymous with “skinny”.

It was rough. I remember it clearly and I remember how much it affected me and all of my friends, even at such a young age. We were convinced that we had to look like those celebrities in order to be considered beautiful and we were willing to do whatever it took to attain that. Scary? You bet.

Thankfully, things have definitely changed. More and more actors and actresses are embracing their “normal” body shapes and too-thin celebs are no longer praised for their unhealthy lifestyles. Their influence on our self-image will never completely disappear but society has definitely taken a step back and realized that what we see on TV and in magazines isn’t reality. Thank goodness.

But with this improvement we seem to have fallen into another trap…

The trap of social media. 

Between Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Blogs, etc. we’re constantly comparing our lives with the lives of other people. Whether we think we are or not, that’s the reality of it. We see the pictures that people share and we automatically assume that their lives are summed up in just those images.

That’s not how it works.

The beauty of instagram, for example, is that we have the ability to only share the photos we choose to. On top of that, we’re able to edit them until we have a “perfect” finished product. It’s an awesome concept but it’s dangerous if we let ourselves get too caught up in it. That’s what’s happening.

instagram

Unfortunately, hashtags like #fitspo, #leanbody, #girlswithmuscle and #eatclean have begun to take over the world of instagram. We’re constantly bombarded with pictures of girls with six-packs, bragging about how many calories they burned and snapping a picture of their heart-rate monitors to prove it. While hours and hours of exercise may be okay for some people (read: athletes & figure-competitors), it’s not normal. The second we start comparing our bodies and our meals to the ones we see on social media sites, we’ve fallen into a very dangerous hole.

BeastBaby

What scares me the most is how much it seems to be affecting young generations. It breaks my heart when I see 12 or 13 year olds with accounts that boast about “eating clean” and “training hard”. Um, I’m sorry, you’re in middle school– you should be carefree and enjoying life, not stressing about the number of macros you consume or how many hours of exercise you get. Just let yourself be young.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about finding and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and social media sites like instagram and pinterest can be extremely helpful in that regard. They can serve as inspiration and a place to monitor progress and hold yourself accountable. We just have to remember that we’re all unique and stop comparing ourselves with one another. What works for me probably won’t work for you and what works for a figure-competitor definitely doesn’t work for most of us. That’s okay. 

Being “healthy” is a matter of perspective. It’s about finding a balance between diet, exercise and life. It should never become an obsession or a game of comparison. You’ve been given one body and it’s your job to take care of it and embrace every single thing about it- quirks and all. Love your body.

beautiful

Heather (For The Love of Kale) wrote a beautiful post a few weeks ago about cleaning up our instagram feeds and getting rid of anyone or anything that makes us feel negative about ourselves. I do that on a regular basis and it’s an amazing feeling. It’s okay to use those accounts for inspiration but as soon as they start making you feel inferior, it’s time to move past them and find something new. Once you start filling your life with positivity you’ll truly be able to discover your inner bliss.

Here’s to embracing our bodies and escaping the comparison trap…

-Emily

27 comments
  1. Such a great post Emily! You are so insightful and I completely agree that there has definitely been a shift in obsession…and not necessarily for the better. People are still so focused on their bodies and outward appearances and it is definitely sending the wrong message to impressionable people. There needs to be a change in priorities for sure!

    • Emily said:

      Aw, thank you!
      I completely agree. It’s hard not to let that stuff get to us but it’s important that we never let it become an obsession.

  2. I am so glad you posted about this, it’s something I’ve been thinking about for awhile now! While I think it’s great that many people are more focused on strength vs. skinniness, that obsession definitely goes too far sometimes. I love Instagram for food and fitness inspiration but all too often it’s become a source of comparison for me and that’s when I know I need to take a break and reevaluate my thoughts.

    • Emily said:

      I’m the same way! It’s hard not to fall into the comparison trap- especially when the people on instagram seem so “normal”. It’s not like they’re celebrities or anything! But, we’re all different and we can’t forget that our bodies want/need different things!

  3. adashofmeg said:

    BEAUTIFUL post my lovie!!!!!! ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!! So happy we are so in tune!!!!!! Just as always it seems 😉 I too love the new look celebs are getting! I’m going to text you about that 🙂 Also, I CANNOT STAND seeing how many cals so and so burns during their workout! OMG!? WHY MUST YOU SHARE!?

    • Emily said:

      Aww, THANK YOU! ❤
      I completely agree. I can't stand when I get on instagram and all I see are little pictures of HRM that say how many calories someone burned. Like, that's fabulous, but it's not necessary to share after every single workout!

  4. I totally agree 🙂 I have a rule when it comes being fit and eating healthy and it’s I’ll NEVER let being healthy interfere with my social life or ultimate goals (ex: I’ll never turn down going for ice cream with friends and I’ll never exercise when I should be studying for a final )

    • Emily said:

      That’s EXACTLY what my rule is too.
      It’s okay to focus on leading a healthy life- it’s a really good thing, actually- but it should never become our main priority. I want my life to be filled with fun memories of days spent with family & friends, not days spent in the gym & counting calories!

  5. Ellie said:

    I feel yah girl social media is getting CRAZY! The thing that bugs me the most I think is how much people know about other people. It’s like useless information that I now possess about the lives of people that 1.) are not my business and 2.) I don’t really care about. What if we were somehow able to eliminate all the useless information our brains recieved and channel it into solving world problems?!

    Thanks for this post, it reminds me how glad I am I deactivated my facebook. I read blogs and have news on my twitter that focus on genres I actually care about. 🙂 I’m happy to have found your blog!

    • Emily said:

      “What if we were somehow able to eliminate all the useless information our brains recieved and channel it into solving world problems?!”

      Oh my goodness- SERIOUSLY. I couldn’t have said it better myself.
      I’m SO happy that you found my blog too. Your comments are always so thoughtful and put a huge smile on my face!

  6. haha cute kid. agreed. I am def. like that … I tend to be a little off twitter, instagram, and facebook lately. And I feel a little more free. great post!

    • Emily said:

      That’s awesome! It’s always such a freeing feeling when we take a step back for a while. It’s WAY too easy to get caught up in all of the social media around us.

      • agreed. though the giveaway on my blog has been making my email on my phone go off throughout work this morning. I kept thinking it was a text or something. lakjwelkrjre!

  7. This was a really great post, Emily. To be completely honest, I can’t stand all this “strong is the new skinny” nonsense. It may seem like a healthier approach than thinspo, but it’s basically the same thing – an obsession with looking a certain way and going to extremes to achieve that look. It breaks my heart to hear about your girls dieting and spending hours working out – that’s not what childhood should be!! I really wish that more people would stop and consider the effect that they’re going to have on others before they post pictures of chiselled abs and calories burned. Ain’t no one need to see that!

    • Emily said:

      Thank you, Amanda!
      The new “fitspo” craze definitely rubs me the wrong way too. It’s just another form of obsession.
      And you’re completely right about the pictures that they post- Ain’t nobody got time for that! haha

  8. P said:

    The only form of social media I choose to participate in is blogging, cause I feel that’s the most creative and one that’s easier to control. Even though it seems like everyone around me has a FB, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. I find all those forms of social media can be addicting and honestly, super annoying. People seem to forget what things should be kept private and what’s safe to share :/

    • Emily said:

      That’s awesome that you don’t even bother with FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc. because they can definitely be addicting and annoying.
      I’ve contemplated deleting my Facebook for a while (I raaarely go on it and NEVER update it). I probably will soon!

  9. fruityrunner said:

    Thanks for the reminder! 🙂 You’re definitely right…I guess, the grass is always greener on the other side…especially with the right IG filter! 😉

  10. Omg yes. I actually found this “calculator” on Self.com and it’s called a Happy Weight calculator. It basically takes all of these factors and puts it together and comes up with your ideal weight for being able to live a happy life and keep your habits. Funny enough? It’s the exact weight I currently am. lol! I don’t go by the number on the scale (haven’t for years now) but it definitely was funny to see that my lifestyle equals up to exactly how much I am. Yay for HAPPY LIVING!

    • Emily said:

      Ahhh- what?! I’m gonna look that up right meeeoow!
      That makes me SO happy that it said you’re at your happy weight. It’s true & I keep telling you that but it always helps to hear it from another source. Love youuu!

      • Yeah! It was really cool 🙂 And yes, lol, I’m exactly at my happy weight! Though I still think I could benefit from more gym time 🙂 Love you ladybug!

  11. I could not agree more with this post! You said it wonderfully. It breaks my heart thinking of 12 or 13 year olds already worrying about diets and working out. I’m all for a healthy lifestyle, but you also need to enjoy being young. You’re only young once after all 🙂

    • Emily said:

      Exactly! We grow up too fast anyways. ):

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: