I've somehow found the courage to finally post this. I've been hesitating because it does have a negative tone and I try to remain positive but also remain real so I'm hitting "publish". We also just released our newest podcast on Social Media so now is the time.
To be completely open and honest, I broke down a few weekends ago but it has been a long time coming. I just started crying and telling Scott exactly how I felt. I even said I don't even want this website anymore and if I could snap my fingers and have it be a "finance/saving money" website I would. Don't get me wrong, I am still passionate about health and fitness. But I'm passionate about sensible health and fitness...not the typical "health and fitness" you see online now. Health and fitness to me doesn't equate to a six pack or a competition trophy but that seems to be all anyone cares about. Sometimes it's just too much mentally. He told me that I need to post about how I'm feeling because maybe some of you are feeling the same way. Or who knows, maybe this will shut down the website after posting. It's interesting though because when I feel like this and break down - without any of you knowing - I usually get an email from one of you the next day about how much this website has changed your life (usually it's telling us it has changed your entire family!) so it's definitely worth all the work I put into it even if sometimes it doesn't feel like it.
Take this post however you want. Maybe you'll love me. Maybe you'll hate me. I'm not sure and I don't really care either way. I've never been a "people pleaser" which is why this industry is so hard for me. The fitness industry is so far from who as I am as a person. It's a HUGE struggle for me. It might not sound like it is or should be, but believe me...it is. I just don't want this post to be taken the wrong way but there are some important things that we should all think about (me included) before we post something on social media.
I'll say it:
Getting "into" fitness was the best and worst thing that has ever happened to me.
You probably already gathered that I struggle with this from previous articles, like mine on body image, etc. However, there's more to the story than that. I've possibly covered all of these in previous posts but I feel the need to put them together in this post.
The fitness industry has changed A TON since I became "interested" and I hate it. There, I said it. I have a feeling I'm not the only person who feels this way.
Selfies. Every single day. Every single day. Did you change that much overnight? Oh you had abs yesterday and you have them again today? Great! Sure, you'll see the people who think selfies are great because you post them when you "feel beautiful" - which I understand but to me that's a slippery slope. Yes, you should ALWAYS feel beautiful in your own way but there's no need to post half naked pictures (or even clothed) pictures of yourself all the time.
There's a difference in a social media account that posts weekly or monthly progress pictures. I love progress and I love people who are comfortable and confident in their own skin. Posting when you are proud of yourself or if you catch your muscle in the mirror is different from posting pictures of yourself every single day. Again, I don't want this to come across the wrong way but what are WE looking for when we post? Are we searching for approval or validation? Why do we feel the need to post every single part of our body online? Why do we feel the need to post a picture every single time we go to the gym? I hear you - sometimes it's a form of accountability but if you are doing this and months later you still aren't closer to YOUR goals and haven't improved YOUR life then maybe you should spend less time documenting everything and more time exploring what life really means to you.
If a social media account has a ton of selfies and nothing of value, I won't follow it. I want you to add value to my life. I am trading precious time on social media so seeing your chest hanging out (while trying to make it look accidental), bending completely over so we can see your "hamstrings" (YES, I've seen this. They had an emoji sticker over their bottom.)...is a waste of my time.
Show me what you do, the places you visit (OUTSIDE of the gym), the people you impact, and the life you have created or are creating.
Does this sound mean? Probably to some of you but it's how I feel.
The title (social MEdia and the fitness industry) might sound odd coming from me considering many of you found this website on social media but it's how I've felt for a long time. I am making a generalization and, as with anything else, there are people and companies that I absolutely love in the industry but as a whole it's just not what I'm about.
Everything that I see is all about that person. Look at ME. Don't you want to look like ME. Buy MY stuff. Sponsor ME. Be like ME.
Buy, buy, buy. You see beauty bloggers and fitness bloggers doing "hauls" where they just buy a bunch of stuff and now they are going to tell you about it so you can do the same. I'm sure this is the minimalist and frugal part of me coming out but I can't stand this big push to have people keep buying stuff.
Full Disclaimer: Yes, we have sponsored posts and we sell workout plans and eBooks, which are our main source of revenue and allow me to continue to build the website, but those are things we believe in and I don't feel like they clutter up lives. I'm pretty sure that you don't need your 10th tube of mascara or 25th bottle of "fat burning miracle supplement". Stop the glorification of stuff.
There doesn't seem to be any unity and everyone is always putting each other down. Everyone's way is the best and if you don't do it their way you are wrong. You have to eat clean, be a vegan, be a vegetarian, paleo, IIFYM, the list goes on and on. Why can't we just eat, drink and be happy?! Why can't we eat healthy, have treats in moderation, drink our water and our wine if we please? WHY do we even spend this much time thinking about food and fitness?
SERIOUSLY, you have to understand that there is more to life than counting calories, macros, points, running, lifting, etc, etc, etc. Of course, I think we should all strive to live healthy lives, which in my opinion means that your numbers come back okay from your doctor, blood work, etc. This DOES NOT mean that you need to be a size 2. This does not mean that you need to "get rid of your muffin top" (when you are already healthy). This does not mean that you need to "lose the last 5-10 pounds". This does not mean that you need to get abs so you can also post them on social media. This does not mean that you need to obsessively track your food and/or workouts. This does not mean that you need to run six miles a day. This does not mean that you need to "work off" that "bad" meal that you ate.
Please understand that we are only here for a short amount of time. Do not spend each waking moment thinking about food and exercise.
Ask yourself...if it weren't for social media would you spend time obsessively working out or spend 40 minutes trying to get that one perfect picture? Or ask yourself that of the accounts you follow. What exactly are they promoting?
Then you have people who post pictures and/or updates about what they do or don't do but they do the opposite. You see these beautiful bowls of food where it looks like they have ice cream on top of ice cream with a million Oreos and topped with hot chocolate fudge. Do you ever stop to think that it's probably one or two Oreos? Did you ever stop to think that maybe they can stop at just two Oreos and not eat the whole bag? You can't - that's okay. You don't have to make all of your meals beautiful and filled with junk just to post a picture on social media.
So let's just say you eat healthy 80% of the time, exercise 4-6 days per week, have healthy relationships...pat yourself on the back. You are doing enough. Stop trying to keep up with other people. Stop scrolling through social media to be motivated. Become your own motivation.
If you spend more time focused on other peoples lives and not enough focused on improving your own, you are using social media for the wrong reasons.
I know this sounds choppy, just like all the other posts where I basically rant and let you know 100% how I feel but it's just because I'm torn. It's just like we've created this perfect little life that we are supposed to have through social media. It's hard for the everyday person. It allows for comparison to another level - like the digital version of "keeping up with the Joneses". I just see and know there is so much pain from this. It just hurts me for the people who think they can't ever live up to others - whether it's body image, lifestyle, etc. Just be you!
I digress. I feel like it's a battle we are never going to win. It's been going on forever. It's the celebrity culture that I've always hated. If you are a mom just stop to think about what you are teaching your children, because I'm sure they are watching...just like they do when you weigh yourself, talk down to yourself, etc. Do you want them to equate their self-worth with how many followers and/or likes they get on social media? I don't have kids but my heart just hurts for the little girls (and boys - they aren't immune either!) who grow up on social media.
P.S. We address social media on our 4th episode of WHAM Podcast!