I spent about 30 minutes the other night looking through Instagram at different photos women had posted to ‘inspire’ us to better health and found myself wondering what the pictures did to the mindset of the women looking at them (myself included).
–Did the photos inspire me?
–Did they show me new ways to improve my health?
–Did they help me see that sometimes I could push harder in a workout and get better results?
In being honest about how I personally felt, many of them left me feeling not so hot about certain ares of my body. Now, I am responsible for my own thoughts, they did not make me feel this way. And I post my own pictures as I go through my journey of getting healthy, knowing my intent is only to show that if I can do this then others can too. And I am sure this is what 95% of the women who post these photos do it for as well. But where my thinking went wrong was when I started to go from being inspired by the photos to not being proud of how far I have come, and thinking I should look like them to define that I have been successful.
If there is anything I have found in helping people reach their health goals is that you have to do this in a way that fits your life and goals. To chase someone else’s dream is not going to get you long term results, nor is chasing a dream that just isn’t realistic. I will NEVER be a size 2. So when I look at someone who is a size 2, I need to understand that genetically we are different. Even chasing a number on the scale can be tricky, be wise with what you are working towards.
Let’s work on being the best version of ourselves. It’s hard, because sometimes I need a little push or motivation- but it needs to be from someone who knows where I am slacking and what I want my LIFE to look like- not just my BODY. It’s like in any area of life, ‘Iron sharpens iron’ and we need people to push us, just make sure it’s to reach a goal we actually want. I can’t look at pictures of someone who trains a few hours a day and eats 100% clean and expect my body to look the same. If I do, it will only leave me feeling discontent. (And it’s easy to end up doing without realizing it.)
My bottom line is to please be wise about the images you use to motivate yourself. There were many women who really inspired me, not because of the ‘perfect’ abs they had, but because you could see the dedication it took to get where they are. And I’m not saying it’s bad to have a body that inspires others–I love my cute little biceps and when I start seeing my quad muscles looking more defined. So photos like that inspire me, but I’m also looking at this from the perspective of someone who is just trying to be healthy, look good in her jeans, and be a good wife and mom! (Hot muscles are a fun by-product of my exercising not the ultimate goal!) So I appreciate the effort it takes to look like they do, but I have to remind myself that my goals are different. And also that they focus A LOT more on clean eating than I am willing to do. That is where I have to be honest with myself as well.
So let’s work on being the best version of ourselves, be inspired by others but not compare, and commit to love our self for ALL that we are–not just our bodies. Do you ever find yourself doing this or am I the only one?