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Nutrition, Fitness and Social Media - Where did the bullies come from?

Monday, March 25, 2019

I've been thinking a lot lately about peoples views and perceptions. Specifically how society views health, fitness, nutrition, etc, especially on Social Media. A lot of topics have really been spinning around in my mind and I wanted to get them out. So congratulations - you are the proud winner of reading my screwed up thoughts.

I'm an avid user of social media. I have family and friends all over the world so I enjoy interacting with people across the globe. I enjoy seeing anyone from someone I want to high school with to celebrities and their thoughts. Perhaps "enjoy" isn't always the right word but I appreciate it. That being said, I have come to wonder how we've got to the point we're at with Social Media regarding health, fitness and nutrition.

I saw a post the other day making fun of people who post things about being at the gym. This post and many others I've seen seem to specifically take issue with people who do Crossfit. It was a video called "people who brag and post about their fitness." I've often seen meme's about marathon runners like this.

When did it become an acceptable thing to do to make fun of others posting about bettering themselves? Have you ever run a race? Did you train, and sweat and take time away from your family to improve your time? Did you feel a wonderful sense of accomplishment as you crossed the finish line that first time? Do you remember the first time you didn't walk at all in a race? Improved your time in your next 5k? Ran your first 10k? Trained for a half marathon?

I've run a number of races in the last 3-1/2 years. I was never a runner, so that very first race when I crossed the finish line I felt a great deal of pride. I still remember that moment. Since that very first 5k where I walked a considerable amount, I've ran longer harder races including a Battle Frog Mud Run and a Half Marathon. Each new adventure in running has brought me a lot of pride.

I share a lot of my health and fitness journey here with the people of Spark People. I have a designated Facebook group specifically made for nutrition and fitness. Sometimes I feel like we hide in the shadows. We share with other like minded people because we know that if we post out in the open that we will be judged and sometimes persecuted. When friends post these jokes and memes about things that I do (posting check-ins at the gym, new recipes, race times, training activities, etc) do they stop to think that someone they care about spends a lot of time and effort in their life on these tasks? Do they realize their words hurt?

Add to that that apparently it is acceptable for people across the globe (primarily women) to spend time and money to sell "miracle" wraps, pills and powders that promise weight loss and I get a little miffed. When someone makes these claims they get attention and affirmations. People want to know how they do it. (even though none of these products are actually proven to do much of anything other than give you some extra energy and drop water weight) Why isn't it the same when we show weight loss from hard work and healthy living?

And my biggest question - are we adding to this issue? Celebrities get paid and feel okay about posting to millions of followers about these magical cures but do you ever see them posting about their hours with trainers or their strict and difficult diets? As I said - do we hide in the shadows instead of proclaiming our successes from the rooftops? Who does that help?

I wish I had more answers than questions. I welcome your thoughts. Maybe I'll start being more brave, posting more on my social media about my fitness and nutrition - both the struggles and the wins. Maybe today is the day...
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    There are people who are negative who like being the bad guy and bringing others down. I don't understand this but mainly feel sorry for them because a life like that must be the gloomiest way to live. I like social media just to check and see what my friends are doing and if it is exercise I feel good for them and feel encouraged knowing someone else is thinking like me. Don't worry over naysayers. They aren't worth it!
    805 days ago
    808 days ago
    I totally agree with you!

    I have a 21 year old son who ran CC and track in high school. I know as a mom what he did. He and his friends were the last 2 in that 1st meet and they did walk some but I was there cheering those 2 on with tears of pride as if they came in 1st because in my heart they did while the majority of the parent's were off who knows where. I was there at my niece's 1st CC meet feeling the same. That girl get sick and kept on running! She too was lasts but I was proud of her! My 1st cousin runs the NYC marathon. I am screaming at my computer cheering her on. She can't even here me!

    Sadly that is how today's world is. I've even experienced it here to the point I started writing 'fluff' blogs because if I open myself up too much, I get hurt! .
    810 days ago
  • HOLLYM48
    I find it interesting that people post things that are so negative but yet don't like people posting about fitness. I figure they can just unfriend me if they don't like what I post.
    I hope you keep on posting about your accomplishments and all that you are doing to be healthier and stronger as I agree that we work really hard to accomplish those goals and if it is my page, I am going to celebrate my successes!
    Spark on!
    810 days ago
  • LORI-K
    I TOTALLY get what you are saying here. I rarely, very rarely post anything about my fitness on Facebook. Seems people I know in person, and have most of my life are not supportive of my active lifestyle and they remain silent, never offering support.
    I have gotten some of this to a certain degree on Sparkpeople as well, Having others make disparaging remarks about my muscles,etc. RIGHT HERE ON SPARK. For the most part though, I have made wonderful fitness friends here. I also made myself a Fitness Instagram where I can craft my own audience, and they are all people just like me who enjoy lifting and running and posting selfies of our progress. I get great support there.
    Thank you for sharing this blog and bringing to light this issue. I’m not sure what the answer is except just keep being YOU and your vibe will attract your tribe.
    810 days ago
    My own opinion is : It is not my business what others think, just what I think. Now @ the risk of sounds self-serving, what I mean as the message is we need to concentrate on how we feel about what we do and say vs. what other's opinions may be. OF course that doesn't excuse hurting another's feelings. But we have to filter out other's negativity!
    810 days ago
  • ERIN1128
    Hmmm, I always see those memes more of a "I'm poking fun at myself" thing, rather than a "shaming" thing. I think that the hard thing is that if you are talking to someone who doesn't exercise at all, you are inevitably going to make THEM feel ashamed for not doing more, if that makes sense? Like, if I decide to have a piece of cake and the person next to me says no, I'll pass, I'm trying to eat healthy, I immediately feel bad and think dangit, I should be eating healthy too.
    810 days ago
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