Social media such as Instagram and Tik Tok impact the fitness industry on a massive scale. These platforms are full of amateur “fitness coaches” telling young men and women to restrict their diet, workout twice a day, and do endless cardio. And most of the time, their fitness advice isn’t only true, but it is truly harmful. We need to make an effort in our school to educate students on how to healthily treat their body in fitness and nutrition.
The vast majority of media we consume is posed and modified to show us “perfection.” The fitness girls you see you Instagram, in reality probably look a lot like the rest of us. The difference is that they’ve spent a great deal of time figuring out what poses work best for them along with buying compression leggings that aren’t in a teenager’s budget.
Along with these perfectly planned images, there is a great deal of “What I Eat in a Day” content that is very misleading. It shows influencers eating healthy food, but not very much of it. To lose weight it is true that you have to be in a moderate caloric deficit, but the goal should never be to eat as little as possible. Food is fuel and your body needs an adequate amount.
In addition to undereating being promoted, fad diets are a big niche on platforms like Tik Tok and Instagram. While these diets can work for some people, they are not a long term solution due to being restrictive. These kinds of restrictions are not sustainable for long term health. According to the University of Minnesota’s Health and Eating Lab, there is a neurological reaction to dieting that causes your brain to be more aware of food and it becomes increasingly more tempting, setting the dieter up for failure.
The part of fitness that isn’t shown on social media is how much the body can change throughout a single day. The average person gains around five or six pounds between the time they wake up and the time they go to bed. This is due to simply eating and drinking water as well as hormone fluctuation throughout the day or month.
While social media is full of useful information, fitness culture online does not promote a sustainable lifestyle. As a community, we need to make an effort to be more conscious of the media we are consuming and be aware that not everything on social media is true. As a school and a community, we need to educate ourselves on how to healthy nourish our bodies with exercise and food in a way that is sustainable and enjoyable.
By Sam Moore, Co Editor-in-Chief