So I was scrolling through my FB feed bright and early this morning (while laying in bed…bad habit, I know), and I came across a post “liked” by one of my FB friends.
It was a post written by a host of a well known weight loss show, a show I enjoy watching BTW. (As does a friend of mine, although she watches while eating potato chips. Love that about her.)
There were pictures included with the post. Two of them. One current, and one from eight years ago.
The picture on the left was the one from eight years ago. In this picture, a woman is striking a pose wearing a bikini. Her hands are placed on her hips, calling attention to her chiseled abs, while her left leg juts out to the side revealing a distinctive line separating her hamstrings from her quads. She is standing in front of one of those plain background screens used for school pictures. She is blonde, tan, and smiling at the camera. .
The second picture is of the same woman, different bikini. This time she appears to be at a competition, as she has a button marked #144 on her bikini bottom. It’s not a head on shot like the first picture. She is blonde, tan, and looking off into the distance wearing a closed lip smile. Veins appear in her muscular arms, abdominal muscles are apparent, and the side view of her leg reveals sinewy glutes and legs.
Her post explains how the woman on the left was terrified of gaining weight, suffered from body dysmorphia, and ate 1,200 calories a day, while the woman on the right eats 5 meals a day for a total of 2,600 calories, counts macronutrients and lifts, but does “ZERO cardio”.
My immediate reaction to this post was, “Are you kidding me?”
Here she was, referencing her own ED recovery, yet posting pictures that most ED survivors would label as triggering. I was angry.
I scrolled through the comments, looking for someone, anyone, to call her out on this. While there were a few commenting that she looked better in the first picture, nobody came forward with concerns that echoed mine. And unfortunately, I didn’t have the courage to voice my concerns directly to her.
So, if by chance you run into her, could you please share my concerns with her?
I’m wondering how many people looked at those pictures and thought that’s what a normal, healthy body looks like. Or worse yet, how many people thought that’s what I should look like.
Here we go again, starting the cycle of body image dissatisfaction. What does normal look like? I pray that most can ascertain it’s certainly not the image appearing in either one of those pictures.
Granted, this lifestyle is also her livelihood, but the danger is in creating the impression that acquiring and maintaining this body is “normal”, as in “you too can look like this”. Or worse yet, “this is what you should look like”.
After finishing my “pissed off” stage, I crossed over to the “I feel kinda bad for her” stage. Granted it was just a picture, but I looked into her eyes and I saw something I recognized. Discontentment?
I wonder if she traded in one eating disorder for another. She still counted calories, even if her focus was on macronutrients.
I wonder if she understands that what she looks like, and who she is on the inside trumps what she looks like on the outside? (No cardio? What?)
I wonder is she feels the pressure to maintain this physical appearance.
I wonder if she feels overwhelmed by the amount of time she is devoting to her outward appearance.
I wonder if she has missed family time because of workouts.
I wonder if she enjoys a french fry or a cookie from time to time.
From here I went to “did I miss the boat?” What is this post really about? What was her intention of writing it, and sharing those pictures? Deep down I believe she meant no harm.
So maybe it’s more to do with the pride she feels in her body. Maybe it’s the fact that when the first picture was taken she was lacking confidence, and now she feels she has a purpose in life. Maybe she feels content. Maybe she really just wanted to encourage those struggling with ED’s. Maybe she just wants to give others hope.
I’m not really sure.
I just know that at times, there are dangers that accompany the best of intentions.