Like any other phone-wielding health and fitness enthusiast, I look to online social media communities to stay motivated and in-the-know when it comes to the latest nutrition and exercise tips. While these groups, pages, and hashtags can often serve as a great resource, they can also pose a serious danger.
You see, the problem with social media is how easily fabricated the content is. In this particular situation, the issues mainly lie within the images posted on these platforms by well-known “health and fitness gurus”.
I think just about anyone knows about photoshop nowadays, but people seem to forget that the pictures posted on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are all just as easily manipulated as the magazines you see while checking out in the grocery store.
Almost anyone can manipulate images with or without photoshop. There are tons of free photo editing apps out there, let alone easily attainable photo-editing software that anyone can learn how to use (thanks youtube & google).
Of course, making pictures look more professional and nice is fine, but promoting images of “perfect bodies” that are actually impossible to obtain in the name of “health” and “fitness” (cough, and likes and followers, cough) is absolutely wrong.
Even in cases where major photo-editing isn’t being done, specific timing, lighting, angles, and photo-filters can produce similar effects. If we twist, shape, and suck in our bodies the right way, while on an empty stomach and in the right light, anyone can make themselves look better than they normally do on an average day.
While it is certainly fine to emphasize and highlight our best features, social media easily pushes the thought that these people look like this every day, all the time. Whether it is the goal of the user or not, those casually scrolling through these pictures of “perfect people” aren’t going to remember that in the moment. Instead, they’re going to doubt themselves and envy those in the photos.
Instead of finding positive motivation and encouragement, we find poor self-esteem and frustration.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing anyone can do to stop people from heavily photoshopping their photos or only posting images of their best looks. Thankfully, however, we can increase our awareness of the power of photo-editing and remind ourselves that these people online are still human just like us. No one can sport a flat-stomach with 6-pack abs all day.
We all have to drink water, eat, and digest our food. Our weight and the size of our waist fluctuate constantly throughout the day. No one is exempt from the food babies and bloating our tummies face and no one looks “perfect” 24/7.
So, the next time you find yourself feeling down about yourself while scrolling “fitspo’ or whatever social media community, remind yourself of this: it’s not what it looks like!