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Spring Into Shape: ‘Thinspiration’ blogs tell women its OK to not eat
Whether it’s a daily battle with your snooze button or a duel with the idea of passing up downtime, you’d rather stay sedentary than exert yourself and make your way to the gym.
But on the other side of that spectrum, there are people who work out too frequently. They are called compulsive exercisers.
I’m not referring to moderate dedication like running five days a week or hitting the weights every other night. Compulsive exercisers consistently perform intensive cardio and/or lift weights without mercy.
They will often swipe themselves into the gym more than once a day, feel stressed or anxious about skipping a workout, or neglect other areas of their lives. It’s astounding that it can actually get to that point.
There are several reasons why people become addicted to exercise; it’s like developing a disorder.
But the one reason that has been increasing among college students within the past 10 years is a psychological problem that encompasses a mixture between eating disorders and the desire to obtain “perfection.”
Ever heard of “thinspiration?” Tumblr identifies the decade’s term for anorexia (also called “thinspo”) with “photos of wafer-thin girls and pro-anorexia quotes.”
There are even a few blogs that give tips for ignoring hunger, motivation for exercising without eating for the day, and photos of women with unnatural, skeletal-looking bodies.
The goal is for bloggers to motivate each other in an unhealthy way. One Tumblr post reads, “Look at your thighs. Put down the food.”
It has over 2,000 notes.
It’s common for teenagers to develop distorted perceptions of their bodies at a young age and become obsessive with correcting it and staying small. They constantly evaluate their weight, BMIs and overall appearance, clearly based on the message that the media is sending them — that thin is in.
This is no new issue, either.
While Tumblr and Pinterest are the most recent to blow up with pro-anorexia bloggers, the problem has persisted since the days of Xanga.
While those who aren’t plagued with the disease of an eating disorder are convinced that the practice only involves starvation, abusing exercise contributes to the problem just as frequently.
For example, a girl might post on her blog that she felt incredibly guilty for eating two cupcakes this weekend. In order to convince herself that this “binge” never happened, she decides that she needs to work out for half of the day.
Girls will punish themselves for what they eat by obsessively exercising, and it will hurt them in the long run.
Whether your own perception of your body is distorted or not, are these the kinds of habits that we want to continue having? These unhealthy and unnatural ways of trying to stay thin can only get us so far.
Moderately watching what you consume and exercising regularly is one thing, but depriving your body of the nutrients it needs and working out excessively is completely another. We fail to realize that depriving your body of the nutrients it needs is just as bad as filling it with junk food and absurd amounts of soda.
The way I see it, the choices we make now will set the precedent for future ways in which we take care of our bodies. If we have bad practices now, we’ll pay for it later.
We should exercise because it’s enjoyable, we like it, and it has great health benefits, not because we feel compelled to do so in order to look perfect.
We should block the media’s skewed image of the perfect body from entering our minds, because the perfect body doesn’t even exist (remember that thing called Photoshop?).
And we should eat a cupcake (or two) if we want, and we should not dwell on it. Don’t forget the chocolate icing.
Kaitlyn Richert is a sophomore studying journalism and information graphics and is a columnist for The Post. Tell her how you combat thinspiration at firstname.lastname@example.org.