Once upon a time, a young girl discovered a magical and life-changing key that unlocked the wisdom of the world. This tool had a glorious collection of recipes, desserts, craft ideas, room décor, clothes, shoes, and ways to do your eye makeup so you could pass for a Victoria’s Secret model/streetwalker. It was a dream come true.
As in the beginning of many relationships, the two began to spend way too much time together. The girl was clingy and needy; each pin solidifying this addiction. Then, one day, she stumbled upon board after board of these incredibly fit women, with six, no, EIGHT pack abs, long wavy hair, guns like Michelle Obama, and an ass to make Queen Bey herself give a nod of approval.
How could she live up to these standards that her new love proudly displayed on each “inspirational” board in the health and fitness section? She felt that each pound (which was now approximately 15ish pounds) that she had worked off with her trainer was getting her nowhere. These women were the embodiment of sexy, at a level she could never achieve.
Falling into the “thinspo” trap
When I came across the term “thinspo” on Pinterest, I had to google what it meant. Actually, that’s not true. I went to my trusty Urban Dictionary, where I learn all the things that I’m too old/white/non-hipster to know. In case you’re curious and did not just click on that link, it is a short for “thinspiration.” I know there is no “o” in the word “thinspiration.” I’m just as confused as you are. Regardless, the aforementioned bodies that women fill their healthy lifestyle Pinterest boards with are all part of this “thinspo” movement.
It is incredibly easy to get trapped by this idea—just as it is easy to look at models in any magazine or your favorite celebrities and think that you’ll never get there. Well of course you won’t immediately be a size zero. I’m not going to get all “I love my curves” on you. I just want to share that for me, it is detrimental to my fitness goals to focus on unrealistic body goals.
Finding something I could hold onto when I felt powerless to do one more squat, lunge, burpee, pushup, or lap was essential to my success. It wasn’t a touchy-feely quote, or a picture of a professional bodybuilder Photoshopped to a tan goddess level of perfection. It was a few simple goals that I had set for myself and achieved, and I still do that now. I still have a little piece of paper with my first goals on them. They sound so easy now, but that pride I felt when I could check one off was more than enough to keep me going.
My First Goals:
- Be able to do a man pushup
- Be able to jog a mile without stopping
- Be able to touch my toes
A word of caution: try not to make too many. Three was a good number for me, but maybe you’re way fly-cool and can handle five. Don’t feel silly or embarrassed that they may seem easy to others—they are for you! Everyone has to start somewhere.
My personal opinion is that you should not have a goal be a number of pounds to lose. I only say that because goals like the ones I have above gave me something I could really focus on, such as some arm exercises to build muscle, a run/walk plan that helped my endurance, and stretching to improve flexibility and joint health. As I became more fit, I was able to set more challenging goals for myself. You will too! Promise!
Note: One of my current fitness goals is to be able to do a pull-up. I have the bar hanging to my closet. Right now it is perfect for hanging my delicates after I wash them. I’m only kind of kidding—anyone have some great strength building exercises for mastering that particular move? Currently, I just kind of dangle and make silly faces.
They lived happily ever after
The girl did in fact discover a new world that restored her trust in her love once again. This world was filled with exercise ideas, healthy eating tips, and fun recipes that she could actually use to help her achieve her personal goals. Though she would occasionally be haunted by ghosts of thinspos past, and get a little sad that she had not yet achieved an Olympic-level physique, she could quickly turn away and remember all the goals that she had accomplished. Walking off into the sunset, she devoured a life-changing, guilt-free brownie and drank a 100-calorie cocktail.