A Dainty Diary of Lifting

When Fitspo becomes Thinspo



I read a lot online when it comes to lifting. When I’m feeling masochistic, I’ve been known to read some fitspo propaghanda when I’m feeling demotivated. Lifting can get lonely, especially when you’re the only woman in the weightroom and sometimes a bit of friendly competition is just what I need – which is part of the philosophy behind BTFC, I guess. On the one hand, pushing yourself harder every time you train is a great feeling. But then sometimes I wonder if I’ve pushed myself too far and simply replaced one disordered lifestyle with another.

Lately, I’ve been feeling run down. I thought getting healthier was supposed to improve my sense of well being? Instead, trying to prep for my first meet – getting my weight down a class and trying to work up to a qualifying total has been both mentally and physically draining. I have pushed myself harder than ever, but I still  feel dissatisfied with my progress and wish I could find it in me to push further. Or logically, I know that eating a few nibbles of pumpkin scone will not make or break my weigh in, but after I ate the scone, I started to worry in a totally irrational manner. This evening, we went out for dinner and I’m still wondering how many calories I consumed even though I only ordered a garden salad with chicken & bacon. It was delicious, but I wish it had less dressing. I have this feeling that I just need to know how much I’ve eaten so that I can be in control. That sounds a lot like anorexia, doesn’t it?

I wonder if this is really “healthy living”. I’m putting in my hours at the gym and eating nutritious food – but maybe the sum is greater than the parts and a healthy body does not translate to healthy mind.

I am the person who scoffs at all of those fitness blogs saying “Strength is the new skinny”. Yes, I agree that women who are physically strong are beautiful because their physical strength translates to mental fortitude. And there are some insanely strong and tiny women out there. But then we plaster “Strength is beautiful” across a smokin’ hot 116 lb woman. You want to be strong? Become a super heavyweight. No? Skinny is still skinny and skinny is socially acceptable. I’m strong. I know I’m strong. And yet mentally I still feel weak because I can’t seem to make that magical number appear on the scale.

I sometimes avoid talking to people about my eating habits because I’ve had negative reactions in the past. If I tell someone that I only eat between noon and 8 pm, they will tell me “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” without fail. And if I start talking about Ghrelin and Leptin then I’m a huge hypocrite, because I’m the first one to say I practice LeanGains “not because I believe in all of Martin Berkhan’s sketchy science, but because the psychological control of only eating for an 8 hour period makes it easier to control my calorie intake.” If health-concious individuals feel that a practice is safe and sane, but everyone else thinks it’s an eating disorder, who is right?

The truth is that I worry about how outsiders perceive my mental health – and in turn that makes me worry about my mental health. I wonder what other “health nuts” think and feel. Am I healthy if I feel healthy? What is healthy? I mean, I read a very reputable article today about how it’s becoming increasingly trendy for 6 year-olds to get personal trainers. Is that healthy?

I have no answers to these questions, but I needed to get them off my chest. They were weighing me down when I’m not feeling particularly strong, today.


2 thoughts on “When Fitspo becomes Thinspo

  1. I constantly wage a similar battle to what you described in your post. What exactly is healthy? Just beginning to forge out my own path, I find that I constantly second-guess, well, everything. And this in turn has led to self-sabotage. Isn’t that funny? That in my own quest to “get healthy,” I’m not even sure what that means? And by whose standards am I seeking health? Is eating only “clean” foods healthy? But then what about your mental health? Is one piece of chocolate a day “unhealthy”? What about one piece of cake per day? At what point does splurging become unhealthy? Is it always unhealthy?

    Ok, I’ll stop, but just wanted to communicate the point that I feel demoralized some (most) days, too, just because I think myself into knots. I wish I had an answer for you. At the very least I can offer my empathy, because I’m fighting a similar mental battle. Good luck, girl.

    • Yes, I think a lot of women have asked the same question at one point in their lives – and there doesn’t seem to be an answer. It feels very lonely when the reality is quite different. Stay safe and sane and we’ll get there.

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