Hey REVLY girls! This week, I want to talk about something that seems to affect women all over the country and dominate beauty standards: diet culture. Diet culture has been around for decades, but with the rise of social media and photoshop apps, there’s an added pressure to achieve the “perfect” body and lifestyle. We’ve all seen the ads for detoxing teas and intense, calorie-burning workouts that promise flat tummies and perfect abs. We follow influencers and celebrities who post photos showing off a seemingly perfect figure and flawless skin. It’s all too easy to take a look in the mirror and think, “I’d be so much happier if I looked like that.” But here’s the thing: this socially-constructed “perfect” life is 1) unreal and 2) not healthy!
They say comparison is the thief of joy, and I feel like this couldn’t be more true when it comes to social media and the concept of physical health. Every day, celebrities are paid to promote obscure skincare regimens and the latest superfood diets. Yes, kale and kombucha are super healthy options, and a HIIT class is a great way to work up a sweat. However, this hyperactive, uber-healthy lifestyle can have a dark side when it comes to self-esteem and mental health. Chasing an idealized body, constantly restricting our foods, and forcing ourselves into overdrive doesn’t make us healthier, it just causes insecurity and burn-out! Having said all that, I want to highlight some important points when it comes to ditching the diet culture.
1. Social Media is so deceiving.
I know this point is an obvious one - we all know about Facetune and filters! But this goes so much further than photo editing. Looking through Instagram, it may seem like everyone else is living their best life, vacationing at exotic beaches or having drinks at the coolest rooftop bars. Before you let these pictures trigger your FOMO, remember that Instagram is not reality! People use social media to portray the best versions of themselves, and this version is hardly ever the real one. cYou never know what someone is going through behind that “perfect” profile, so don’t hold yourself to a standard that doesn’t exist!
2. Working out every day is not always a good thing.
Don’t get me wrong, fitness is important - REVLY’s slogan is “Sweat Everyday!” However, rest and recovery is just as important as the workout! If you’re physically exhausted and dreading that HIIT class, don’t feel like you need to force yourself into the gym. Exhaustion, sore muscles, and mental fatigue are signs that your body needs a break. Take a few days off and re-load! Your mind and body will thank you - and a short break won’t take away from all the progress you’ve made!
3. "Thin" does not necessarily equal healthy or happy!
Like I mentioned before, it’s easy to think that life would be better if we had that perfectly toned body. However, the biggest lesson I’ve learned when it comes to health and appearance is that you can’t hate yourself into a version you’ll love. Denying your body’s needs through juice cleanses and crash diets won’t get rid of your insecurities; in fact, unhealthy diet behaviors will only strengthen that self-doubt in the long run, as well as cause serious physical health complications. Listen to your body (and your doctor!) before partaking in the newest diet.
Alright, I know that was a lot for one post! But if there’s anything I want y’all to take from all this, it’s that you deserve to live a full and happy life, free from self-judgment and comparison. Think about it this way: if we all ate the same foods and did the same workouts, we’d still look different! So don’t feel like you need to deny yourself that ice cream or slice of birthday cake in pursuit of a “perfect” body. Go ahead and take that day off - the studio will still be there tomorrow! Although diet culture, along with social media and beauty standards, is here to stay, that doesn’t mean it has to dictate the way you live your life. When it comes to your journey to health and happiness, make sure to always listen to yourself before your Insta feed!
By: Ali Mader