I am a big fan of Grazia magazine UK and buy it weekly, almost feeling bereft if I miss an issue when travelling, but I hardly comment on the articles, apart from an oocasional tweet to the magazine’s wonderful editor Jane Bruton. However, as I was reading the latest issue yesterday on the tube, an article called ‘I get ‘fit-shamed’ for being healthy’ caught my eye, stating in the first paragraph ‘I have a ritual whenever I go for a run. At the halfway mark, around six miles, I always stop to take a selfie. I’ve worked out the best angle to hold my iPhone to capture my flat stomach and my fluorescent trainers.’ My first thought was ‘why do you need to take a selfie each time you go for a run’, isn’t running the time to focus on your pace, your breath and clearing your head from the day’s worries?’
The article tells a story of a ‘self-confessed wellness junkie’ ( is it me or does the word junkie has negative connotations, even if the word fitness precedes it ?) Amy Molloy. Amy’s main picture, leaning against her bike, pretty and fit, is a great shot of a moment in time but when she states that she takes photoes ‘for the same reason that fashion bloggers take a photo of their outfits every day-because fitness is my passion and I want an online reminder of the moments that make me happy’ it makes me think that there is more to it. We are all different, some people are private and would rather not even be in their own family photoes and there are people who take pictures of themselves all the time and then publish them. I think either way is fine but why publish your private moments online? As soon as you open that Pandora box, you expose yourself to all kinds of comments, including nasty ones, as well as criticism – it is human nature to judge others and sadly this character trait shows no signs of diminishing any time soon. We have all been in situations when total strangers offer their opinion ( without actually being asked for it in the first place ) on our looks, outfits or choice of partner or even worse, life’s choices.
Yes, people will judge you if your behaviour differs from theirs and a co-worker might take a dislike to you based on a trivial fact that you never share a slice of cake and tea with her at lunch break – but can you equally judge people if they don’t ask you for a pizza knowing you have banned sugar from your diet and stick to a healthy diet? Comments, especially nasty ones, shouldn’t be taken to heart, after all why would an opinion of a stranger matter to you? But I would suggest to Amy to take time out and ask herself why does she need to not just document her fitness routine, but post her Instagram photoes for everyone to see. If you love what you do, then start a blog, giving you a platform to showcase your physique, as well as share nutritional tips and fitness advice, alongside your other interests.
Yes, when we change, so do our habits and people who we used to adore might view us differently – while drifting apart can be sad, it’s life and as long as drifting happened with no malice, we need to move on to pastures new as well. Just appreciate that the person has passed through your life, hopefully bringing goodness into it. Yes, I agree with Amy that angry outburst can be driven by sleep-deprivation or a caffeine binge ( and it’s no excuse to take it out on other people, we all have problems that we need to deal with daily ) but are Amy’s fit-shamers jealous of her ? Some might be, but pointing a finger at them is not going to solve the problem or make Amy feel less hurt by undeserved comments.
Either way there is no pleasing others and I think Amy needs to be honest with herself why she takes selfies and publishes them-after all, if you don’t crave publicity, why expose yourself to it, it’s almost like a celebrity first selling the pictures of their homes and babies and then complaining about it.
Lately the fitness momentum is gathering pace but it’s no longer about being skinny, it’s more to do with being healthy and fit and about looking after one’s health and well-being. Yes, there are controversial articles about juice detoxes, banning all sugars and fats from your diet but ultimately you have to filter the content and chose what makes sense for you – a Body Special in this month’s Red Magazine with contributions from nutritionist Madeleine Shaw and fitness & fashion team #thatgirl Charlie Cohen & Christina Howells is a good example of a smart yet sensible approach. Where there is an image, it’s nice to have substance to help put things in prospective.
Happy people don’t judge others, they focus on their own lives and tasks at hand, so yes, if someone makes a rude or angry comment my first thought would be is that they are having a bad day or there is something going on in their life. In Amy’s case I think she needs to decide why she has the urge to put her images online and if she continues to do so, learn to live with the fact that there will be nasty comments alongside nice ones. We are what we make of our lives and not what others perceive us to be. And we need to celebrate the fact that we are all unique and can offer something that other’s can’t-variety is a spice of life!
P.S. Do I think that Amy looks fit? Yes, I do. Does she look fitter than I do? Yes, she does. Does it make me jealous? Absolutely not. Do I find her images annoying? Not at all. Do I feel inspired to improve my fitness levels looking at images of Amy? Not really, partially because apart from vanity, which forms part of our motivation, I need inspiration and for me images that I have seen in the article lack that.