Most of the people I follow on Pinterest are friends who are mostly into cooking, baking, and crafting. It's a wonderful and harmonious online existence. I post recipes, they post recipes. I post DIY how-tos, they post DIY how-tos. They also post a lot of make up ad nail polish stuff I'm not into, but hey, to each their own.
There are a few folks, though, who are all into the whole fitness thing. Now, don't get me wrong, I love fitness. I am a certified yoga instructor, I grew up taking dance, and enjoy walking as much as possible. Having a body that can actually do things is awesome, and the feeling of making your body do things is also awesome.
What gets my goat, then? These fitness inspiration quotes they're all into posting. Most of them are just pictures of supermodel sized girls with cheese-pirational quotes about not giving up. Not a huge fan, but whatevs. The ones that bug me are as follows.
Crop #1: The "We're Not Motivating You With Skinniness" Images of Lies
Really? Your argument would be MUCH MORE CONVINCING if the girls weren't all super skinny. These aren't even just thin, healthy-looking girls. They are superstar, celebrity, Hollywood skinny. It's just kind of insulting.
Here's the thing: I have a friend, her name is Tammy and she is the strongest woman I have every met. She also has a gorgeous bod, and it is not supermodel-thin. You know why? Because she has full-sized muscles under her skin. Muscles that are actually functional and don't exist purely for the sake of making her look hot. There is a difference, ask anyone with functional strength and they'll tell you. Showy muscles are kind of useless.
Then there's this crop. The "Ignore Your Pain and Potentially Damage Your Body Forever" Images:
These images wreak of the kind of logic used by people with eating disorders. They are actually dangerous. Fun fact: when your body is in pain that is because you are getting hurt. Hurt, as in damaged, as in (if you're into this whole crossfit thing) potentially life-threateningly, irreparably damaged.
I get what they're trying to say. They're trying to say that just because working out is hard and not necessarily comfortable doesn't mean you should stop. I agree completely. When you push yourself, it's going to be uncomfortable, and it's going to be hard. Sometimes you're going to want to stop because you're not used to the feeling of moving for more than 5 minutes.
There is a difference between discomfort and pain. Discomfort happens when you change a habit and your body isn't used to it. Sort of like how it used to hurt to sit hunched over a chair all day, and then your body got used to it. Reversing that trend feels weird at first too. Discomfort is the feeling of "I want to stop."
Pain, on the other hand, is a bad sign. Shortness of breath is a bad sign. Your body telling you it needs to stop is something that should be listened to. If you are crawling, falling, puking, crying, and bleeding your way through your workout YOU NEED TO STOP.
One of the greatest strengths we can have is recognizing the difference between "I want to stop" and "I need to stop". Pain, falling, shortness of breath, blood, puking, or anything else in that realm is a bad sign, and pushing through it is not a sign of strength. It's lying and it's weak.
Finally, there's this gem:
The first time I saw this I let out a giant sigh. There are so many things wrong with this.
1) Is that photoshopped? She looks scary skinny. That waistline, the way her hips are shaped, those tiny arms. They don't even look real.
2) Unreal body sizes don't make great goals.
3) 6 months??? Maybe if you're already practically that size. If you are a regular-looking woman and expect yourself to look like a creepily-proportioned android in 6 months that is going to take a truly unhealthy level of dedication. Like the kind of dedication outlined in the super-dangerous pictures above.
Just, please, just don't.