The Problem with Fitspiration

So a lot of edited pictures have been going around the fitblr community lately with the actual image and the edited one side by side. It’s a little alarming. One is of a girl drinking out of a water bottle and they’ve gone so far as to completely restructure her face. Because it’s apparently not okay to be fit and healthy and post up a picture if you’re not a model.

I think fitspiration pictures are great. It’s awfully motivating for some people, and I always love a good before and after. It’s bad when you go so far as to try and look exactly like them, though, because that’s impossible. They are them, and you are you. They have their own life with their own dietary needs, their own fitness plan and time (or not) to exercise. They have different taste buds and like eating different things than you. Maybe they like running and you like the elliptical. Maybe they spend 3 hours a day lifting and you’ve got a 30 minute window to get your sweat on. Maybe they have a genetically awesome metabolism. Maybe they don’t but you do. You are not them, and they are not you. So don’t try to look like them. Try to look like the best version of you.

The pictures of them also probably aren’t really them. I’ve talked about this a lot.

Photoshop = Fake People

Photoshop = Fake People(in depth)

Is There a Single Cause of AN?

So today, I retouched an photo of me from this post which was written in May. Here is the original:

dscn0154_thumb And here is the retouched version. I didn’t spend much time on it, but I did a fair amount:

fitnessedit

First of all, I lowered my hair line, which is just impossible for anyone. I cinched my waist quite a bit and also widened my hips. Just so you guys know, I have a 36, 25, 36 body so that was just stupid as well. I put extra emphasis on the highlights and shadows on my skin as evidenced by the sloppy job around the top of my sports bra. I also enlarged my boobs a bit, which is also stupid because I’m a 34D. I made my bicep bigger. I obviously tried to color correct and bring up the brightness and contrast. It’s not too bad to look at, but it isn’t real. No matter how hard I try I will never look like that. I altered my ribs in this picture. I cannot make my breasts bigger, my biceps can always get bigger but I’ll have more of a cut when that happens. It won’t look like it does in the picture. I also attempted to enlarge my eyes but I don’t think I know how to do that in Photoshop just yet (finally got it on my new computer after my old one died and I thought I’d lost it forever, so I’m a bit out of practice).

Fitspiration is great. It’s great motivation, but that’s all it should be. Motivation. You shouldn’t strive to look like anyone but your best self. I just like them because it’s cool to see other people’s success and use the idea that if they could do it, so can I. It becomes a problem when you try to look like someone that doesn’t even exist.

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Getting Toned and Getting Inked

Any day now my CPR certification should come in and then I can get my personal trainer certification. I’ve upped the intensity of my workouts, been lifting heavier, doing a lot more HIIT cardio, and trying to eat cleaner. The Actor is done with his show now, so I have to try harder to get him onboard with it. I’m seeing these wonderful changes in my body that I’ve never seen before, like the outline of a 6-pack! Let’s see if I can make them come out by summer.

So it’s not really anything new that I’ve been working out. I’ve been doing that for years, I’m just getting better at it. The big news is probably this new change on my body:

after

I got my first tattoo on Friday and I love it! It turned out way better than I expected because the guy that did it is an artist and made it look awesome. The original design was like this:

during

Just two simple stars, and he turned them into these awesome glowing stars that also kind of look like fireworks. Seriously, I love it. I got it done at Third Eye Tattoo and Piercing in Ellensburg, WA. It did not hurt as much as I thought it would. I psyched myself out to think it would be terrible but it was fine. I did sit super tense, but forced myself to relax which I eventually did. It stung worse than the actual tattooing after though, but only for two, maybe three hours and then I was fine. They put this amazing stuff over it called Tatuderm which speeds up the healing process and prevents and ink loss. I was supposed to wear a new one for five days but I messed it up, so I’m on general care and so far, so good. I’ve just had to skip the gym and probably will for the rest of the week. I did some Pilates instead, and man am I babying my wrist. I want it to heal nice, you know? I’m not even worried about it setting back my progress because I’m still going to keep up with the HIIT and just do Pilates this week instead of heavy lifting which should shock my body in a good way because I’m doing something different and working my muscles in a different way.

It’s not even healed completely and I’m already thinking about my next tattoo! I’m crazy, but it’s addicting. And honestly, I’ve thought about getting a tattoo for two years. This piece really means something to me. It’s not just pretty. So, no, I’m not going to regret getting it. I don’t regret not inviting my father to my wedding which is probably on the same significance scale as getting a tattoo. I like it.

Will it Never be Easy?

On March 25, 2014 I will have been in recovery for four years. In that time I will have regained the weight I lost, found and developed a lasting, healthy relationship with fitness (this includes diet and exercise), graduated high school, gone to college, started my major, gotten married, started a new (hopefully) lifelong career, gotten my first (and maybe second) tattoo, and just grown overall as person. Part of me expects that since four years will have gone by that all this should be easy now. I shouldn’t have any trouble eating enough to live and meet my current fitness goals. I shouldn’t have any trouble making sure I don’t over-exercise. I shouldn’t get so depressed all the time!

That’s impossible, though. More and more evidence is coming out to prove what I suspected all along: eating disorders are genetic, meaning they are caused by a genetic mutation and not by society, although society can help push it’s development. There is something wrong with the way my body processes hormones or whatever that makes me depressed and anorexic. There is no pill to make my body do things correctly. There is not a cure that exists today that would make my body function the way a normal person’s does, which is why I will always face this. I will always have bouts of deep depression that I find extremely difficult to manage. I will always have that little voice in the back of my head nagging at me and telling me that I’m fat.

It might get easier at times. There might be moments when I feel great, like how I did in late September and a few weeks ago. There will also be times when it gets hard. Lately it’s just been the depression. I can still eat, and I exercise a fair amount. I can’t do too much right now so I can let my tattoo heal (see it on my Instagram: ajamontana). I’ve just been really depressed for the past week. I’m realizing that I was happy and able to manage it with the Actor’s help while we were dating, but now that we’re married our dynamic is different and I cannot keep expecting him to bandage me up whenever I’m broken. I need to learn how to bandage myself.

I don’t think it will ever be completely easy. I know that my depression and anorexia will never completely be gone. However, I do know that as I continue to grow and age and learn, things will become easier, and that’s okay.

(Also, thank you to The Slender Grapefruit for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award! I think I’ve gotten it a few times before, and I’d taken down my “awards” page a while ago. I’ll do the 7 random things next post.)

Grocery Walk

I’ve been working out pretty hard core lately. Lifting heavy, doing interval runs, Pilates, yoga, you know, stuff like that. I was going to do some Pilates today after getting some groceries, but that is not happening now.

The car is still in the shop. I thought it might be back before we ran out of food but that was not the case, so I walked two miles down to the grocery store and then two miles back carrying the grocery bags. I’m not sure which is more tired: my arms or my legs. And I gotta lift tomorrow!

I was sweating like crazy by the time I got home, and a nice guy helped me carry the bags the last few steps. I also got cat called and I was wearing a large t-shirt, carrying grocery bags with sweat rolling down my face. And they were creepy older guys leaning against their car talking about football.

There are so many ways to exercise. I just walked carrying several pounds of vegetables. You do not need a gym membership. You just need to get off your butt and go.

That four mile walk was my workout today. It worked my legs and my arms and my shoulders. You just need to get up and move.

Let’s Talk About Ketosis

I’ve been seeing a lot of fad diets promoting “ketosis” which people buy into because it sounds scientific. Let me just dispel all the myths that say ketosis is a good thing.

My body went into ketosis when I was deep in my eating disorder. I almost died.

Ketosis happens when your body runs out of glycogen stores in the liver, and it is popular because when your body is forced to rely on ketones for energy so fat is burned more quickly. Glucose (glycogen) is your brain and central nervous system’s main source of energy, and glucose comes from carbohydrates.

The truth is that fat is almost always the optimal source for energy if you are healthy. If you are eating enough of the right foods your body will burn fat when it needs to.

Ketosis happens with a starvation diet.

Most of the weight you will lose in ketosis is water weight, not fat loss. Your body will start to eat itself so that you can live. Your blood will become more acidic as a result of not getting enough glucose. You can and will end up with headaches, dizziness, bad breath, fatigue, and nausea.

It is used for treating epilepsy, and quite successfully, but it should not be used for weight loss.

Despite what you read about ketosis being a “good way to lose weight” it’s just not. The only “good” way to lose weight is to make positive lifestyle changes. You cannot just lose weight because you have a big event coming up because you will gain back that weight if you even lose any. The only successful way to lose weight is to eat the proper amount of carbs, fats, and proteins, and to exercise. Our bodies need more carbs than we think, which is funny when you think about all of those low-carb diets out there, but just think for a moment. If you have tried one of those diets how successful were you with it? And not just while you were on it but after you got off of it. It didn’t really work out too well, did it? You probably felt really miserable on it. You don’t have to feel miserable! In fact, you shouldn’t.

Don’t buy into all these fad diets. I know it doesn’t sound as flashy as the fad diets, but you can only have successful weight loss by taking control of your life and making healthy changes. There may not be some loud commercial shouting at you that you could lose ten pounds a week on it (which is pretty dangerous by the way) but that’s because you are an individual! You will lose weight at your own rate.

So, ketosis and any other fad diets = bad.

Eating properly and exercise = good.

ART! Everywhere

It’s finally the weekend and I am so tired! I work five days a week, sixteen hours a week, which isn’t as nice as twenty but we’re not allowed to work twenty so this is pretty good. I have four classes, but one is online and I get to spend that one reading The Great Gatsby and studying it and discussing it and it’s just so exciting. My honors class this quarter is all about classical music which is awesome, plus there is no attendance policy so I don’t have to worry about getting sick, and the professor looks like he time travelled from the 1970s. Gotta love band geeks. My other two classes are my theatre pre-reqs for the major. Intro to Theatre will be interesting because it’s a gen ed requirement, not just for people who want to be in the major, so half the class doesn’t even want to be there. Seriously, can we just get rid of gen eds and let kids just study what they want so they don’t end up ruining classes for the people that actually want to be there? The last one is Foundations of Acting which should be interesting. All the people in it want to be there so that’s good at least. The professor is very fun, too. He reminds me of my AP Lit teacher, but in college so there are no rules.

I was doing the Insanity program, but now I have a gym so I’ve gotten back into my weight lifting routine. I am so sore, and so weak! I was able to life a fair amount in the spring, but after a summer off I can lift about half of that, which is still more than I was able to lift a year ago, so it’s not bad.

I just really like that all my classes this quarter are art related. My final for my honors class is to write about a piece of art, not even specifically a music piece. I get to study my favorite book in my English book. And then theatre is theatre. I’m just tired now and kind of ready for break, but am so happy to be back to working and learning.

“I Don’t Have Time”

I have two days of my Spring Quarter classes left, which means I have 2 class sessions left of my honors class discussing time. It’s been really interesting, and these past two weeks have been individual presentations for about twenty minutes. I did mine on immortality as seen in Tuck Everlasting. That really got the class talking. Another girl did a presentation on time seen in literature and took a bunch of quotes. One quote I don’t have anymore and the Google machine can’t seem to find for me, but it basically said that saying you don’t have time is the same thing as saying that you don’t want to.

A lot of people in the class thought this was a very arrogant thing to say, but it’s true. How many times have you told someone you don’t have time to get coffee with them because you really don’t want to be near them? We’re all guilty of doing that at some point. I am. I’d like to do that with homework.

This is something we talk about in the fitness community a lot. If you really want it you’re going to make the time for it. If you don’t want it you’re not going to make the time for it. There are people that say, “I’m too busy to exercise.” It takes 30-60 minutes 3-6 days a week. I am a full time student with a part time job and a wedding coming up and I find time to work out every day. I read blogs about mothers with husbands and toddlers and jobs that still go for jogs and yoga and lifting. They want it. Those that don’t want it don’t make the time for it. It’s not important enough to make time for.

You make time for work because you want and need that money to live. You make time to eat because you need and want food to live. You make time to watch those TV shows because you want to watch them. The same goes for exercising.

And this applies to everything, not just exercising. Exercising is just something I’m really passionate about and would love to turn more people on to (there’s another criticism about people who think this way but that’s another post for another day). When I started doing The Anorexia Workbook I was going through it fine until it told me I had to spend 15 minutes a day meditating. I can spare 15 minutes, but I don’t want to and I stopped doing the workbook. Perhaps this means I don’t want to recover, or I don’t want to in that way. I’m doing fine right now anyway, so I don’t think it matters too much.

I thought this was an interesting topic to write about. Time is such a huge part of our lives, and we make time for what is important to us. Lately I’ve been giving more time to homework than leisure because I wanted to get my work done before the weekend. I’ve got just one more thing to do but otherwise I’m done. It was important to me to finish this stuff so I could have more time to pack up and prepare for the wedding without anything hanging over my head.

Are there any things you “don’t have time for?”

10 more days until the wedding!