INSTANT GRATIFICATION, SOCIAL MEDIA AND YOUR WEIGHT LOSS
As I was planning, and scanning the social media content this morning, I couldn’t help but feel a bit sad for all the people trying to get ahead by promoting their body and creating an image. Don’t get me wrong, for those that are successful, authentic and feel fulfilled; power to you. But for those that are presenting a false image, feel less than authentic and are trying to feel appreciated and validated through their media; friends, my heart goes out to you.
For years we have known that social media influences our self-perception of how we should look, appear and act. It’s not knew news that those size ‘zero’ girls or super buff blokes can become role models for our youth.
Many watching these pictures and images think that it is the ultimate goal to strive for, something idolise and epitomise. But what if you are just not built that way? Thankfully, we see more healthy versions in the media now, but do we note the people that are still on their weight loss journey? Is it only after a drop in size that they can receive the like, share and heart emoji’s?
Who says size 2, or a ‘cut’ 6 pack is the way to go. Wouldn’t it be better to think of health instead of image?
Just a couple of weeks ago I had a friend with daughters that had had serious body image issues to the extent that they received a diagnosis of bulimia and anorexia respectively. These are not the first clients to have come to me with issues in their perception of how they look. Parents have expressed genuine stress about how they get their teen to eat and stop tormenting themselves mentally and physically.
Now striving to be healthier, fitter and more vital is something I am always plugging on about. I think a healthy body with muscle tone is a great epitome of health, but not everyone achieves it the same way. For some, it is a slow journey, for some changing food habits is easier, others find it really difficult to break habits formed from years of strengthening their negative neural pathways.
BREAK THE CYCLE
What can we do to break this cycle? Not everyone understands what they are doing to themselves. Sure they know that they may not be eating the best, but they honestly don’t know how to fix it.
Kids go on social media and think they need to look like this celeb or that. We know how much it influences people just look at the constants on ‘Married at First Sight’ most of these appear to have enhanced various body parts, seem quite buff and certainly aren’t sporting a mummy tum, or dad bod.
These images are not realistic to the population. Power to them for the hard work or cash they have contributed to looking their best. All I’m pondering is; if we see more size 10 models, healthy energetic ones’ would that help? Well done ‘Dove’ and other company’s promoting this, but statistically it is still on the low side.
I am in no way blaming social media, but how do we get the message across that healthy is more important than body image, that vitality is attractive and having energy is generally way more productive?
So many times I have had people leaving a training session feeling positive, confident and ready to take charge. If I could bottle this feeling, and I do try to get them to focus on this after they leave, we would really have a positive society.
The healthy mindset, where it’s not just weight loss being pummelled at us, is far more motivating than how many kg’s can we lose.
Let’s see more movement in the media, both literally and figuratively. I think seeing all shapes and sizes moving, and making healthier choices, is more conducive to long term results.
Sometimes we need to tweak our mindset to get back on track. Focus on how you want to feel tomorrow. What do you want to achieve tomorrow? What did you accomplish today? And how did you get back on track again? If you have done it once, you know you can do it again.
WAIT OR WEIGHT
The question then comes down to, do you wait to start your weight loss to health journey? Do you keep scanning social media for the right affirmation before you start? Do you become overwhelmed with the gorgeous youth of today or do you simply begin?
I put it to you that few worthwhile things in life provide instant gratification or, that if they do, you ask yourself if they have long term benefits. Yep that doughnut might be delicious or shopping till you drop may feel good in the moment, or that beer or wine, but instant gratification, be it social media or giving into an impulse, creates a release of dopamine.
This ‘feel good’ hormone has been linked with developing really negative neural pathways as we want more and more of this pleasure. It’s one of the reasons why mental disease is increasing and overall satisfaction with life is decreasing.
Wouldn’t it be better to train our neural pathways to become stronger? Delaying gratification helps us have time to make other choices. Less time on social media to be influenced negatively by false images. There is less loss of time to be productive, less frustration because we don’t look like a model, and more time to actually get moving and pause before making a bad food choice.
Most things in moderation are fine, but if we could just delay our first impulse, and use that as a praise worthy moment to ourselves we could develop new healthier habits that don’t see us comparing ourselves and feeling depleted but rather energised, proud and motivated to take another step tomorrow…
So instead of spending time on social media, wishing, or daydreaming. Why not delay that for even half an hour and move instead, or plan a healthy meal? Once you begin, it will seem easier as you become used to doing these small things and soon you will see bigger energy changes and as a result feel proud of who you are.