Saturday, March 15, 2014

When #fitspo goes too far.

I remember updating my Facebook status some time last year with a statement along the lines of "everything posted by elitedaily is trash". At the time, everyone I knew was always sharing stuff from the site on my news feed. So every time I checked my news feed, I'd see a barrage of posts along the lines of "10 things you should do in your twenties", "5 reasons you shouldn't settle down", "7 types of friends you don't need"...etc etc.

And to me, it was really all just trash. It just bombarded us all with the stereotypical elitist lifestyle of partying, getting rich, and hooking up with as many people as you can, so you won't have to endure the horrors of a joint account. Or something like that. But I do remember very vividly that one post shared talked about dabbling with comfort women, because you get your quick fix without any complications or emotions.

At that point, I honestly just shut off from that website and didn't bother clicking on any of those links again. Everything on the site was just so shallow. Maybe it's just me being a huge prude, but there's so much more to life than turning it into a bloody MTV music video. And honestly, I didn't need anyone telling me that I need to have a threesome in my twenties.

But lately, I've been wanting to write something about the insane health and fitness craze that has basically overtaken everyone's lives, myself sort-of included, but only because there just seems to be no way of escaping it.

Suddenly, out of nowhere everyone you know is posting online about the distance they ran/cycled/swam/rode donkeys. Or about the weight lifted or reps completed in the gym. Sometimes, they even top it off with lovely pictures of them flexing their muscles; here it differs, some literally look like rock hard Greek God statues (kudos to them), but some are just sad, though you have to give them props for trying.

And of course, there's the food. You know, where they subsist on protein shakes and green juice or fruit and berry salads or whatever. They only ever steam or poach, and know the exact calorific value of every morsel of (super)food that passes their lips. They tend to hashtag their pictures with #cleaneating or #healthylifestyle or #fitfam and what have you.

I mean it's fine that you consider yourself a nutritionist and want to share your words of wisdom with the world. You feel great about yourself and your healthy lifestyle, and you can't help but want to show it all off. If you've got it, flaunt it, right?

And I have absolutely nothing wrong with these people. If they just want to post about their wonderfully healthy, zen, muscle-building, #legsday lives to share them with the world, who am I to put a damper on their #fitspo? The problem only arises when they start updating their status with pictures and/or quotes along the lines of "fat people are lazy people", "a moment on your lips forever on your hips", and of course, "what's your excuse for not exercising today?".

I mean screw you.

It used to be that we complained Hollywood superstars set unreasonable beauty standards. You know, where every single superstar would triumphantly appear a few weeks after giving birth with this impossibly hot bikini body you couldn't have if you spent your whole life working on it. Even poor Kim Kardashian (who would've thought I'd ever use that adjective in relation to her?) that was ridiculously made fun of for putting on weight during her pregnancy, bounced back with a vengeance.

We used to say that of course they managed to do that; its their job and they have legions of nutritionists and personal trainers and contractual obligations to make sure that they always keep in perfect shape. It was always us, i.e. the normal average workaday people, against them, i.e. the nip&tuck goddesses.

But now we're getting the same pressure, but worse, from our fellow peers. It's not anymore the case of having that annoying skinny friend who either eats like a pig and never puts on weight, or keeps complaining about non-existent fats. Suddenly everyone around you is caught up in the revolution of becoming a member of the #fitfam, and you're made to feel like crap everytime you catch a status update from them.

You now feel like you should be ashamed for having fried rice or a burger or God forbid, a slice of cake. (Cue collective horrified gasp.) The travesty of empty calories! How dare you allow yourself to partake in such careless culture, you glutton! Don't you know that a single bowl of rice needs 30 minutes of solid running to burn off?

So for the first time in my life, I find myself actually siding with an article on elitedaily: The 11 reasons why the fitness culture on social media needs to stop. Because this fat-shaming culture has gotten out of hand.

Just because someone isn't gloriously sculpted doesn't mean they love themselves any less. Some people actually have work to do and what precious free time they have isn't going to be squandered on a visit to the gym when they're already bloody exhausted, thank you very much.

No, at the end of a long and shitty day, I want to curl up with a tub of Ben and Jerry's and watch romantic comedies starring Ryan Reynolds. Because there's nothing remotely "fun" about sweating buckets and pumping iron. And after I'm done pigging out, I don't want to log on to Facebook and be made to feel like shit when facing a plethora of "motivational" updates saying "Have you ran/lifted/rode donkeys today?"

It's like religion. I'm a stout Catholic, but I'm going to use Christianity as an example anyway because well we all have that certain stereotype as a friend.

This person, lets call him Bob, is a great guy. Bob is friendly and generous and is always ready to help you out with a smile on his face if you're ever stuck in a rut. Bob regularly praises God in regular conversation, like "God has blessed us with great weather today!" or "Praise the Lord, class is cancelled!". Bob is a very active church member, and he's always tagged in pictures during church events. Everyone loves Bob.

Until one day, Bob decides to become more pushy. Bob used to just invite you to church events and was cool with any answer, but now he insinuates to others that if you're not a Christian, you're going to burn in eternal hellfire, and is no longer happy with getting no for an answer. Obviously, non-believers now dislike Bob; they avoid him and dub him "the super Christian".

Now just switch out the scenario, and you get "Bob the super health freak"; someone who is unable to accept that there may be others who are happy with not leading a #fitfam lifestyle. You know, people with taste buds that actually function. Normal people who don't always eat unrefined carbs and may have greasy meals more times than a weekly #cheatmeal.

I realise that I sound like a bitter, obese bitch, and I suppose I am, to a certain extent. Especially considering my last depressed post, it now looks like I've just entered an angsty denial phase. But I've been toying around with these thoughts for ages, and all I needed was that one elitedaily post to make me realise that I wasn't the only person around that was fed up with the fitness craze.

Fat-shaming is disgusting. You can look down your nose from your plate of egg-white tofu omelette at my greasy pizza slice all you want. But at the end of the day, I'm just as happy with my life as you are with yours.

I'm lucky enough to be blessed with self-confidence, that took me years to build up, having never been skinny all my life. But fat-shaming is what makes perfectly average-weighing girls have their confidence shattered and subsequently turn to eating disorders.

Maybe these people may have good intentions. I mean, they've turned their lifestyle around and now they look hot and have tons of admirers and feel really good about themselves everyday, and they just want everyone to experience that same amazing transformation. Well then goody for you! But Bob, believe it or not, there's more than one way to lead a healthy lifestyle. And not everyone wants to be part of your #fitfam.

So by all means; it's your body, do what you want with it. But don't be that annoying person that tries to get everyone around you into the insane fitness lifestyle if they're just not interested. Don't be Bob.

Nobody likes Bob.

Shut up, Bob.

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