I used to spend hours scrolling through various “Fitspo” accounts on social media, miserably admiring other women’s bodies. The sculpted abs, the toned arms, the ass that was so lifted it was basically on her back…I would look at these photos and think, “Wow…if I just spent a little more time at the gym each day, I could totally look like this. Just skip a meal here and there, I mean I should really only be eating if I’m like really hungry. I’ll add another mile onto my treadmill run. Ugh I’m so lazy, how am I only running X amount each gym day? I need to be going more than 4 times a week. I’ll throw in a little extra cardio, yeah. I got this. Maybe I shouldn’t get froyo with my friends tonight…”
…These are the thoughts of a miserable person chasing after something that will never make her happy. Looking back, I feel sad for thinking that I didn’t deserve to eat, that I needed to drill myself even more into the ground each time I worked out, that I could feasibly look like those girls in the Instagram accounts when we have totally different bodies. I don’t judge my past self, though. I was doing the best I could with my coping mechanism – disordered eating and body image.
But you know what I wanted even more than to look like those sculpted girls on Instagram? To live like the sculpted girls on Instagram. Or, to live the lives that I assumed they had.
I assumed that thin, fit girls are at peace with their bodies. I mean, how could you NOT be in love with your body when you have 4-pack abs? I assumed that those girls were at peace around food. Why eat a cupcake when it could ruin your perfect physique? It was probably a simple choice for them to turn down anything that would taint their flawless diet. Most of all, I assumed that their relationships were perfect; that they walked into rooms and turned heads, they had tons of guys wanting to be with them, and that they loved themselves endlessly. Because isn’t a thigh gap what self-love really looks like?
How deceiving social media can be. Needless to say, I knew nothing (and still know nothing) about the lives of these people just because they posted a seemingly confident, half-naked photo on Facebook. So once I started to bounce back from my disordered eating habits, I took a long hard look at why I admired all these women with “Fitspo” accounts. Because I can say from personal experience that having what others call a “perfect body” does not make you feel any better about yourself. Even in my fittest days, I hated my body. I always wanted more, more, more. I never looked good enough to make myself happy.
I now know that I never wanted the chiseled bod. I wanted what I thought came with it. I wanted inner peace, intimate relationships, and happiness. I just assumed that by looking elsewhere, I’d be able to find all those things. I’m so happy that I eventually learned all I had to do was look inward. Finding happiness from within is not something that happens overnight, but it is THE MOST important thing I’ve ever done for myself. I had to be grateful for what I already had, learn to truly take care of myself, and create a personal relationship with ME.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Why have you strived for the “perfect body”? What types of things do you really want to see manifesting in your life? Will a perfect body guarantee you those things?