Running, Veg/Vegan

PSA: Instagram is Not Real

How often do you see photos like this on Instagram? Big booty, tight waist, strong arms – but is it real? As someone that’s been hardcore into fitness for 5+ years, I couldn’t understand these images that  kept appearing on my feed – until I played around in front of the mirror and realized its just posing. Booty popped, an awkward twist in the waist, good lighting and a little bit of dehydration and BAM – insta-model approved.

I didn’t grow up in the age of Instagram, so I worry so much about the women and girls that see these images and believe they’re real life. I would never stand, sit, pose, squat or appear this way in person,  so while the photo is me, it is not TRUE TO LIFE. In simple terms, it’s not real.

Instagram can be a great place to showcase and normalize all kinds of bodies, which is why I personally choose to show photos of mine. But when you’re scrolling through your feed and come across an image that seems unachievable, keep these key points in mind:

1.      No two bodies are the same. Even if you eat, sleep, and train exactly like the girl in the picture, it is physically impossible for you to achieve the exact same results because of your (and her) unique size, shape, genes, body composition and metabolism.

2.      These images are often the result of perfect lighting, careful posing, angles, retouching, and even photoshop – not perfect people.

3.      Most of these people are professional models/bodybuilders/personal trainers, whose job is to be fit and look the part. You wouldn’t compare your ability to cook to that of a professional chef, right? So you can’t compare your body to someone who’s full time job is fitness.

4.      Most of these images are selling something. They are carefully curated to represent an ideal that’s unlikely (or impossible) to achieve in order to promote the protein powder/leggings/detox tea/personal training services being offered.

5.      Instagram is a highlight real. It does not, and cannot, depict real life.

6.      Everyone can physically, mentally, and emotionally benefit from exercise, regardless of their weight, size, shape, age, gender, ability, etc. Do not let the images on Instagram deter you from doing something great for you and your body, if that’s what you chose.

7.      Let me repeat it one more time: fitness is for and benefits EVERY BODY.

Okay, rant over.

 

Uncategorized

The Body Positive Athlete

A friend asked me how you can be body positive and an athlete at the same time. It’s a great question, because I don’t think the two have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, they can go hand in hand, if that’s what you’re about! All you need are these key points:

✨all bodies are worthy or respect & love

✨athletic ability & health can’t be judged by appearance

✨athleticism and health doesn’t make anyone superior to another

✨movement should come from a place of joy, not punishment or sacrament

✨bodies are beautiful and capable of so much!

That’s literally it! Shifting to a body positive mindset allowed me to actually enjoy the activities I love – soccer, running, hiking, swimming. It disconnected me from the ingrained need to “work off” my food/weight and brought me back to a place of fun.

Lifting, spiritual

You Don’t Need a Makeover: Food Freedom Friday


You don’t need a makeover.
Yep, you read that right – no matter your weight, size, shape, gender or age, you DON’T need a makeover. The fitness/diet industry does. 


Imagine if you had a store that sold a single size of clothing – or offered a single, specified entree – or if Jamba Juice offered ONE smoothie?

It’s illogical to sell one specific item because we all know people are different. Some people like berries, some people like citrus fruits. Some people are short, others are tall. 

Yet, the diet and fitness industry gets away with selling us a single ideal per gender – a tall, muscular, chiseled and well portioned man, coupled with a slender, yet muscular, yet still distinctly feminine woman. And they make billions of dollars a year on the mere fact that the majority of the population is physically incapable of achieving the image they’re selling.


If you sell an unreachable image, customers will never stop buying. If we all looked perfect, why would we buy powders and pills and capsules and workout programs? There’s no money in the achievement; there’s money in the chase. 

So no, you don’t need a makeover. Healthy eating and exercise do yield a wonderful breadth of benefits, like increased energy, deeper sleep, higher dopamine and serotonin levels, better focus and cognitive function, improved digestive health, and the list continues. But being healthy looks different on every. single. person. Be you, and be healthy if you choose – but don’t let clever marketing and photoshop make the choice for you.

Running, Thoughts

Slow & Steady Wins the Race(s)


I’ve never been one to post (or even support) transformation photos. They’re equally discouraging & misleading; simple things like time of day, lighting and filters can turn a normal tummy into cut abs. Along with other nonsense overloading Instagram, like wraps, cleanses and crash diets, transformation photos give the illusion that immediate results are expected & achievable. Its just. not. right.

The harsh reality is that lasting health and weight loss take time, consistency, and a lot of patience. Between these two paradoxes, it’s easy to feel lost, or hopeless, or impatient, angry and frustrated, as many people are. But with enough time and consistency, transformation do happen.

Big magic just takes time.

When we see problems in our lives, we tend to think ‘big’; giving up entire food groups, or food altogether, or thinking we have to run six days a week to look or feel ‘healthy’. In reality, we should be thinking small. It might seem insignificant whether you grab a croissant or a banana with your coffee this morning, but over enough time, that choice has a powerful impact. The difference between the pastry and fruit is thousands of calories and grams of sugar over enough time. That croissant might make you feel sluggish every day, so you drink more coffee or soda and indulge in a heftier lunch. We’re effecting the lives of our future selves, and it’s not even 10 a.m.


I came to this epiphany after finding a Facebook photo of myself after my first half marathon two years ago, exhausted and beaming with pride. Because I see myself in the mirror every day, I don’t notice the subtle changes occurring. I was so stunned by it that I scrolled through my phone to find a picture of me running my last half marathon a few weeks ago – was that really me?

I realized that, because we live with ourselves every day, we don’t see the magic happening. I’ve been running consistently for two years, and my love affair has positively impacted all areas of my life. I seriously cut back on drinking, ate more healthfully and started playing soccer, which in turn caused weight loss and my own transformation. It happened organically and naturally – so much that I didn’t even notice it.

The takeaway: Positive life changes happen with consistency, time, and joy. We improve our lives on our own accord when we truly love what we’re doing. I think we all make the mistake of shooting for weight loss first, when it’s actually just a side effect of finding activities we enjoy and loving ourselves enough to take care of the bodies we live in.

Lifting, Uncategorized

Focus on Your Own Fitness Journey

  
With such an image and photo-based social media world, it’s nearly impossible not to focus on the physical. How we l0ok, how others look, how we & others look as they cross the finish line with insanely quick times and big smiles. We also naturally focus on the comparison between Them and ourselves, and it’s difficult not to feel slow, sloppy and in adequate.

In the superficial haze of it all, we forget that we are real people – with real responsibilities, day jobs, families and problems. We’re not pro athletes with open schedules to train, eat and rest like champs. We’re not fitness models that train & play with dehydration and carb cycles to get the perfect abs for this shoot or that show. We never know the circumstances of another person’s life, and it’s inherently illogical to compare our lives, bodies and progress to those of strangers.

Yet we do. This is a common, underlying pillar of social media in the health and fitness sector. Try this – look at me, I used it! Or Do this workout/exercise/juice fast – look at me, I did it! While we can look at you and see your taut abs or sculpted arms, we don’t know your true routine. We can’t know the time you have to work out, what kind of day job you have, or the genes you’re blessed with.

Everyone is different; different shapes, genes, bodies, lifestyles and metabolisms. It’s impossible for one thing – aside from simple healthy, wholesome eating – to replicate the results from one person to the next.

  

Personally, I have always struggled with comparison in real and social media life. I’m a naturally competitive person, and it frustrates me that I may work extremely hard but still not look the way someone else does. But the hard work always makes me look like what it should: a better, stronger, and more confident version of myself. I will always look like me; the only way to find that self love and confidence is to accept yourself as you are, and then work towards they type of ‘you’ you desire to become.