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The Impact of Social Media on our Body Image

Has it ever happened to you? You wake up feeling great; you look in the mirror and like what you see. You step on the scale and

the number is in check. All is well and right with the world. Then it happens…. You open up that stupid icon on your phone or tablet and you start scrolling through your feed. Picture after picture of these fitness “icons” and their damn near perfect bodies bombard you. One after another, after another. Bodies with next to no body fat, perfect symmetry and proportions. Bright white smiles, dark tans and usually accompanied by some quote or motivational wording about their struggle and perseverance. Suddenly, that great feeling from the morning seems to be gone and replaced with something that I haven’t quite found the right word to describe. It seems to be a combination of discouragement, disappointment, and lack of accomplishment. If “they” look like this all the time, why shouldn’t I? Let me tell you why….

Perception is reality. We only see what they want us to see. We make the mistake of thinking that these photo’s that are being posted every single day are actually being taken on those same days. These fitness models and icons have vaults of material that they choose from, almost all from when they were in their most elite shape for a photo shoot or contest. When was the last time you saw someone post an unflattering picture on their social media or be “real” with the public. Now I know there are some out there who do keep it real, but I am speaking to the majority of those in the industry who don’t have the balls to do so. Thanks to you, everyday people like myself get the idea that we are supposed to walk around at unhealthy levels of body fat all year because we see those who we “look up to” doing it. When was the last time you saw someone post a pic when they were bloated, with their stomach distended because they lost control during a cheat meal and couldn’t stop eating? That’s what the public needs to see because that’s real and I am sure has happened to each and ever single one of us. Now you can’t just expect me to sit here and criticize this and not post a picture of me at my worst right? Your right, I wont. The two photos below were taken in the exact same day. The one on the left was taken mid morning after I had my first meal in me. The one on the right was taken just 5 hours later after I lost all of my self-control and ate until I physically could not put any more food down my esophagus. But you would never know that because the picture on the left would have been the one posted… Is that real enough for you?

Moving on, lets touch on a topic that is all too common in the industry...“PHOTOSHOP”. Who remembers the Devin Physique and Shredz Photoshop scandal? If not, I highly suggest spending a few minutes doing some research to see what happened. To keep things simple, one of the infamous Shredz “athletes” was caught photo shopping his pictures and posting them online. Although this particular “athlete” was the one who got exposed, he certainly is not the only one in the industry who is using the good old “Adobe Gainz”. So here we are again, scrolling through our social media feeds, seeing these aesthetically pleasing pictures and thinking we are supposed to look like this. SPOILER ALERT, THEY ARNT EVEN REAL HALF OF THE TIME!! I think it’s also worth noting that we often forget about the difference in image quality from the cameras we use on our smart phones and the camera’s and lighting used to take the images that you see these fitness icons posting. Now I am sure someone reading this right now is saying to himself or herself “well what about the ones we follow on snapchat, they are using the same phones we have and they look amazing all the time”. It’s quite simple…performance enhancing drugs.

This topic always seems to open up a can of worms so let me be the first to say that I could care less what these fitness icons choose to put into their bodies. That is not my issue here. My issue is the deception by these people to the everyday general public like myself. Making us feel like it is safe and attainable to walk around at single digit body fat all year long while we see your snap chats where you are at “In and Out Burger” 3-4 times a week and eating ice cream every night. Heck, I’m all for a good reefed when in a depleted state but I’ll be damned if you can eat that shit 3-4 times a week and maintain those body fat levels without the assistance of performance enhancing drugs. Yet, you show the public what your diet consists of and then we continue to beat ourselves up when we consume the same meal and our ass giggles for a week.

Now that my rant is over I want to truly drive my point home to all of you. I offer this advice up to you as I used to be that person that beat myself up after scrolling through my news feed and seeing nothing but perfect bodies. STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP AND STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO SOMETHING THAT IS NOT EVEN REAL! I would encourage you to stop following these people or even take some time off of social media if need be. Focus on finding the right people to look up to in this industry. The ones that are going to give it to you straight and actually teach you something instead of make you feel bad about your own self-image. Social media is a great tool when it is leveraged correctly, but it can also be a dangerous one. Health and Fitness comes in all shapes and sizes and in my opinion is just as much a state of mind as it is a physical being. Don’t compare yourself to others and don’t think for a second that what you are seeing is reality because it’s not. Focus on one person and one person only, YOU!


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