If you have ever searched for “fitness” on Google, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, or any other social media you have come across the array of photos of perfectly sculpted fitness models.  My daily feeds are flooded with these photos and I am sure you have seen your share as well.   Many of these photos appear on people’s inspiration boards; your friends will show them to you and say this is what they want to look like. If you are like me, you have thought the exact same thing.  While I believe these photos definitely serve their purpose as motivation to eat cleaner or workout, I find them to be troublesome, especially when they become an obsession.  When it becomes so constant that you are clicking on each and every one and after looking at them you immediately compare your body to theirs and become repulsed by your own reflection.  If you have more of a sense of frustration then motivation after viewing them, I say it is time to toss those photos or just keep scrolling.    

For starters, it is important for you to understand that these photos are not “real”.  While I am not denying the fact that these models are in very good shape and have worked extremely hard to obtain their physiques, they have also been aided by enhanced lighting, tans, makeup, and even retouching with Photoshop that are all very flattering.  Plus, the final photo we see is usually the result of some very restrictive dieting and dehydration.  These photos are not an accurate everyday representation of what these models look like. Like most of us, I am sure some of them have cellulite, stretch marks, pimples, and wrinkles that are noticeably absent from the photos.  This is why we cannot compare our everyday selves to these photos; it is unrealistic to think that we can look like something that is not real.          

The other problem with obsessing with these photos is that we convince ourselves that we will be happy once we look a certain way.  The problem with this way of thinking is that this type of external gratification is not equal to true happiness. You can work very hard towards your goal to look like one of these models, and while you make changes to your body and get some temporary gratification, it is immediately gone as soon as you compare again and see that you just aren’t “perfect” yet.

It is important not to judge yourself against these photos, but rather learn to love yourself and appreciate what is looking back at you in the mirror everyday.  To help with this, make sure your physical transformation starts with an inner focus.  Remember that you are not guaranteed to be happy once you reach a certain goal, but rather learn to love and accept yourself where you are everyday.  Make a conscious choice everyday to take care of yourself by eating better and moving your body. With some practice, you will be on your way to a positive transformation based on self-care rather than some mythical quest to become some version of someone else’s “perfect”.