To be perfectly honest,
If I had stumbled across my own Instagram account three years ago, I would never have followed. That’s because my Instagram used to be a place where praising dangerously low calorie meals happened regularly, workouts were logged excessively, and getting selfies where my abs showed were all that mattered. Yeah, I used to be the kind of #fitspo that is not only triggering, but downright terrible for anyone recovering from an eating disorder. I’m proud to say that I no longer post anything like that anymore, but chances are you’re still following a few Fitspos who do. So let’s talk about when fitspos on Instagram could be harmful to your recovery, and how to know when it’s time to press unfollow
5 Times When You Should Hit Unfollow Like, Yesterday
1). When you find yourself constantly making body comparisons to this fitspo
A photo of his or her shredded six pack pops up on your feed, and you forget that it was probably taken first thing in the morning before the Fitspo has had any food or water. Or right after a grueling workout. You forget all about posing, lighting, retouching, and filters because all you can think about is “Why don’t my abs look like that?” Stop. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with someone else celebrating and showing his or her amazing body, but if it’s causing you to feel inferior about yours – there’s nothing wrong with you unfollowing either.
2). When you start to feel guilty for skipping a workout after seeing this fitspo’s posts
There are some fitspos that motivate you to do your best, honor your body, and exercise in ways that make you feel great. There are also some fitspos that take “No excuses” as a personal challenge and want to make sure everyone else knows it. While slogans like “No excuses”, “Just do it”, and the like may be motivating for some people, they reinforce dangerous habits for someone struggling with exercise addiction as part of his or her eating disorder. If you’re working towards taking more rest days and worrying less about getting that workout in, unfollow fitspos like these.
3). When this fitspo starts getting paid to promote weight loss products
Nothing makes me lose respect for someone quicker than seeing them sell out on Instagram. It’s one thing to partner with a company whose products you love and would love to see others benefit from, but when that product is a skinny teatox or waist trainer – I call BS. While lots of fitspos may be fine for someone without history of an eating disorder to follow, I would suggest that nobody should be following a fitspo who endorses risky and more often than not, downright ridiculous weight loss products. Not only are these type of cheesy, sponsored posts annoying – they’re in complete contradiction with a healthy (and happy!) lifestyle.
4). When you feel significantly worse about yourself after seeing this fitspo’s post than you felt before
It doesn’t have to be an ab selfie, “no excuses” mantra, or even a shudder-worthy sponsored post. If anything that this fitspo posts has you feeling crummy about yourself, kick that sh** out of your life. We’re already our own biggest critics, so we don’t need anything in our social media to make us feel badly. The goal is to build self love, not find more reasons to resist it.
5). When you admire the fitspo as a person (his or her character, attitude, etc) but know that your mental health would benefit from removing his or her posts from your line of vision
Look, I don’t mean to sound like I hate fitspos. I used to follow my share of fitspos that I regularly connected with via comments and DMs on Instagram. I grew to really like these people and think of them as friends, but when I got serious about my recovery I had to remove them for a number of reasons. For example, I considered one person a friend but her bikini competition updates made me feel like I wasn’t healthy because I wasn’t competition ready. Unfollow. Another example, I loved one girl’s funny captions but her limited diet made me think of restricting. I chose to prioritize my mental health. If you feel uncomfortable unfollowing people whom you have formed relationships with, simply send them a DM to explain.
Hey (insert fitspo username here)!
I know this might sound a bit weird, but I have to unfollow you for a little while. Don’t get me wrong, I love what you’re about and our interactions on IG but some of your posts are a little triggering to me as I try to recover from my eating disorder. You didn’t do anything wrong, I just need to focus on my mental health right now. Sending you lots of love and warm wishes
(insert your username here)
When in doubt, download this printable to your phone to refer to! And always ask yourself, is this holding me back, or helping me grow?
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