In Defense of the Average

When I first started using Pinterest (my horrible, horrible addiction), I noticed that most workout pins and nutrition advice, motivational posters were all attached to the extremely thin and fit. Workout models even. With my training as a Personal Trainer, I could see through some of the nutritional advice and the workout plans as seriously unhealthy and extreme. There’s so much misinformation out there, but those who are at their final straw — their wit’s end — will do almost anything to get the scale going in the right direction, even if it means going to drastic, temporary measures. Nothing sustaining.

contrary

And don’t even get me started on Thinspo. As someone who recovered (and is still recovering) from self-punishing behavior, over-exercising, and othorexia (taking healthy eating to the extremes), I can see clearly into messages that are pure bullshit. It’s all pro-ana, and helps eating disorders not only grow, but thrive.

I had a Fitness Inspiration board on there, but as I looked back through what I’d pinned, the majority could pass as Thinspo. So I deleted the entire board. The last thing I want is to nurture and inspire dangerous behavior.

One day back in January, I had this novel idea that instead of doing the generic search for workout motivation, I’d instead search for things like, “body acceptance,” “body love,” “recovery.” Up popped lists and lists of wonderful, positive boards, loaded with pictures, quotes, links, messages of accepting and learning to love just who you are, flaws and all. Using exercise as a way to strengthen and appreciate your body, for healthy mindsets and positive goals, instead of slaving away at the gym to berate and punish yourself for things you’ve eaten. A phrase they coined, “joyous movement.” I noticed that the majority of the pins and posts from the users echoed one loud message, “you are enough as is.” Many of the pinners have recovered or are recovered from eating disorders themselves and have used Pinterest as a source of support and comfort when it’d be easier to succumb to restricting/purging/over-exercising/binging.

dieting will not fix you

Something else I noticed was on the opposite spectrum of Thinspo/Fitspo, there’s a huge movement of Size Acceptance. There truly is a war being fought between being thin enough, or being “curvy” enough. On the curvy end of things, it seems acceptance can turn into (in my opinion) obese-acceptance. Terms like “REAL women have Curves” fuel the fire of battle between the two groups. While I totally, 100% agree to love WHO you are, it seems the unhealthy behavior swings like a pendulum in the other direction.

Look. Everyone– everyone– deserves respect. Everyone deserves love. It just seems to me that in the process of turning the tables away from a trend of women that are “supposed” to be extremely thin/fit, obesity has become a much more prevalent statistic.

As a size 6 on my good days and a size 8 on others, I feel as though I’m stuck in the middle. I’m slim for my tall height. Where’s the support for us average ladies? I feel the constant pressure to PICK A SIDE! PICK A SIDE! instead of really being who I am. I feel as though society expects me to take it to one extreme or the other. In most circles, I’m considered slim. But I do feel huge at times, considering I’d be a plus-size model (if I’d ever pursued that route), and mostly veer away from wearing a bikini as my abs are no longer washboard flat.

What about us? Where’s our praise? In terms of being healthy, especially mentally healthy, us women pick up daily blows from what we’re supposed to be.

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