Self-image in the age of Instagram models

I was thinking recently about how people post on social media, and what we get out of it. Specifically social media and body image. Which is why I did not post a picture for this blog, keep reading and you will see why.

 Social media can be difficult to navigate when we don’t have a great self-image. We can be tempted to just tune it out, and leave. But should you tune it out? Maybe for some, it’s not a bad idea. But there is a lot of valuable, inspiring information out there as well. Unfortunately there is also a lot of negativity. So how do we deal with all the #fitfab, #bodygoals, #fitfam #gymgoals? 

I think it’s important to realize that all those models, all those bodybuilders, weightlifters, powerlifters also have, at times, thought “should I reveal myself here”? Heck so did I, and I don’t have a totally fit body. It’s important to realize that there is a spectrum of body conscious people, from those who don’t care to those who are obsessed.

Images on Instagram are just that. You have to decide how to view them, is it awful, is it negative, or is it a positive image? How does that image affect you? It’s important to go into social media with a sense of how you, 1st and foremost, view your body.

Social media is mostly filled with amazing physiques. Filled with people that won the genetic lottery. And it’s not just one person, its 100,000s of people. And thanks to social media algorithms, those bodies are designed to constantly show up in your news feed if you hit that like button. Now that’s all you see, and if you keep looking it can be demoralizing AF. An example is this: I look good in clothes but I don’t look good naked. I’ve lost a lot of weight but I don’t have a 6 pack, I have loose skin. And people look at me and see some shoulder development and back and say I should have one. And I don’t, I have a strong core but I don’t have a 6 pack. And that realization is ok, if you can handle it and don’t stack yourself against all the gods and goddess on social media.

Another example is I was out with friends one Saturday, and we were talking about going snowboarding to Fernie BC in the New Year. I don’t snowboard but awesome I get learn, cool. The next sentence was “and after we all get to sit in a hot tub”. Don’t get me wrong I love hot tubs. So I smiled and laughed and said “that’s cool”. But what they didn’t realize is that inside, I was panicking. OMG I have to be in a bathing suit. And I’m around good friends, and it was pure panic. I couldn’t let that show, but it goes to show that even around people you admire, and love, you may still have body issues.

So is this a realistic outlook to have in the fitness world, much less is it good for your mental image of yourself? Is it a goal you want? Is it even a realistic goal? Something to keep in mind is that if you follow a certain type, a certain body image for inspiration, chances are it’s a body that is better than yours. So the body you see in the mirror is not on par with social media bodies. And that can be wearing down on your self-esteem, thinking that you don’t measure up. Believe that long enough and it can be detrimental to your mental health. Eventually if all you do is look on social media, you don’t see the average Joe on the street, all you see is that perfect internet body and become jaded in your own success.

What we mortals need to realize is that they are posting their best shot. If we are in a maintenance phase, and not super jacked, or super lean we, and they, may be less inclined to post as often. If you do post at that time then it’s a different post. So is posting super jacked, fit, athletic bodies bad? Is it wrong of them? No, all it is, is them putting their best foot forward. So yes, they can look like a god damn super hero. Which the only person that ever looked like that was Alistair Overeem in 2010. Sorry Wonder Woman lovers, if she ever picked up a dumbbell greater than 20 lbs I would be surprised. They are mortal. They are also putting forth effort that maybe you or I don’t want to do, don’t have time to do. We may enjoy that glass of wine, that extra helping of a good meal.  However, when they post a cheat meal, realize that’s the only cheat meal they ever had all year long and they post it from different angels. Their entire existence is about looks, and a crazy effort in order to look like that. They actually are not regular people, mortal yes, but not regular. They use stuff you and I don’t, and do stuff you and I don’t do. Their hobbies are more limited than ours. And you will never see things they suck at because they are putting their best foot forward.

So when you go onto Instagram, SnapChat, whatever platform you use, choose what you view wisely. This is your journey and you owe it to yourself to make it as inspiring, healthy and fun as you want.