The real meaning behind Clean eating and Fit-spiration messages
No matter what the time of year, I can find it difficult to encounter a shop, magazine, TV show, You Tube video or Instagram picture without being tainted by a message related to eating clean or embarking on some particular health and fitness routine.
An obsession with what others are eating or how they may be exercising has gone beyond any of the boundaries we have ever seen before, as the drive to feel accepted by others and, most importantly, ourselves has risen through the roof. Although many of these messages may appear positive and in favour of our overall wellbeing, behind the scenes they may insidiously be poking a nerve that augments an already low sense of self-worth and esteem.
Not to mention, for individuals who may have already experienced an eating disorder or unhealthy relationship with food, seeing messages about clean eating, pursuing a plant based lifestyle or taking up a gym membership can shoot them right back into a mindset of self-destruction.
You may have some experience with the type of messages Im referring to. The pictures showing the before and after shots of someone who has shed ‘X’ amount of pounds after embarking on a plant-based lifestyle. The glowing skin of someone who has cut out sugar for 6 months. The perky bum of someone who hits the gym and follows a perfectly rigorous workout regime at least 3 times a week. The message underneath these images seems to be one of encouragement. A message that, with a bit of self-control and effort, we can be successful too. We can get those abs, we can clean up our diet, we can avoid becoming ‘fat’, and we can become something more than what we think and feel we already are.
And yet, there is something seriously missing from these pictures and messages. That ingredient is an understanding that we are all already worthy of love and acceptance - Without shaping up or cleaning up our diet.
If we look a bit more closely, Underneath the clean eating and fit-spiration trends, we can see a few parallels with the insidious dieting industry - just repackaged into a more socially acceptable and moral format. If we place our reality goggles on, we can see how once again, our society and vulnerable selves come under the control of organisations that want us to buy into their products and regimes. Just this time, those organisations have recruited individuals who we can relate to and look up to. Often the people and brands supporting these messages don’t even realise how they have equally been manipulated into spreading something that could potentially cause much more harm than good.