It’s about damn time that you flip the fitness industry the bird, and I’m giving you three strategies for doing it.
This post started as a little Insta-rant, and has blossomed into a bit of a manifesto, but I digress. Let’s start at the beginning.
Yeah, actions do matter, but words are powerful and they are streaming past your eyes and into your mind every single second of the day.
Just stop for a second and think about the words bombarding you on an average day from the health and fitness marketing space:
- Skinny _____ (insert recipe name here)
- Detox diets
- Cleanses (because you must be dirty)
- How to “control” cravings
- Shrink your _____ (insert body part here)
- Quick fixes
- Slim down (because size, and not quality of life / health is most important)
- No pain, no gain
I could go on, but you get the point.
These messages – and a majority of what’s directed at us as women – are crafted from a place of fear.
Fear that we aren’t enough, we’re broken, and there’s something wrong with us.
The illusion is that if we could just fix the parts we don’t like, we’ll be happy. (Spoiler: If you finally manage to lose those ten pounds, you won’t magically find happiness.)
Everything marketed to you is done in a way that causes you to act out of fear:
Fear of failure.
Fear of rejection.
Fear of isolation.Women have been bullied, intimidated, and shamed into trying to fix their bodies for years. Click To Tweet
Since I’m not one who just likes to complain about what’s wrong, I’m offering you up three strategies for being a more conscious consumer of media and the messages these industries are feeding you.
3 Ways to Flip the Fitness Industry the Bird
1) Be present.
This one sounds so simple, but it’s not easy. The key is to develop awareness about the messages you actively and passively consume.
Even if you do this for just one day, you’ll be shocked – and appalled – with what’s marketed your way by the fitness industry.
How often does the language of dieting and minimizing and “you-aren’t-enough-ness” come your way?
These industries exist on the premise of psychological manipulation and subliminal messages that, unfortunately, make their way into your subconscious mind without you even realizing it. I first learned about these trance states my friend, hypnotherapist Chel Hamilton, and it’s the way everything from casinos to TV commercials work.
The first step is to simply be aware and awake. Are these messages motivating you from a place of fear or a place of love?
2) Opt out.
Once you’ve developed some awareness, it’s time to do something about it and opt OUT.
I can’t recommend this one enough: Get rid of cable and stop watching TV.
In 2007, I got rid of my cable subscription and my TV.
Yes, I still watch programs and documentaries – recently we invested in an LCD projector and a Netflix subscription – but I’m seeing nowhere near the advertisements that I was via mainstream networks.
Now that I’ve been desensitized to it, whenever I go visit my parents and the TV is running, I cannot believe the shit that I see. It horrifies me.
Not ready to bring your boob tube to the local thrift shop?
Start opting out of email newsletters and unfollowing accounts on social media that aren’t serving you. Stop buying fitness & diet magazines.
Take a cue from the recent #UnfollowFriday movement, and make some changes. Are there accounts and personalities online that make you feel less than? Get rid of them.
3) Find your people.
Once you’ve done the step above, it’s time to get really keyed in to the people and brands that are helping you in a positive way.Be judicious with who you follow in the fitness industry. Click To Tweet
Do they motivate you from a place of genuine self-love?
There are lots of voices who are doing it right.
Creating an online support network matters, but even more important than that, find people in real life that share your core values.
The internet is both a wonderful and a terrible thing: It connects us across distances – hello, I met my husband on Twitter (true story) – but it allows us to wallow behind a screen, desperately unable to find real human connection.
Your act of meeting a friend for coffee or joining a local running group is exactly the thing the diet and fitness industry don’t want. It’s through time spent in person with people that lift you up, when you truly disconnect from the messages that marketers bombard you with, that you strengthen your core values and resolve from a place of love instead of a place of fear.
The fitness industry (and let’s be honest, the diet industry too) operates on the premise of fear and manipulation to keep you stuck in the endless cycle of spending.
Exit the loop by first becoming aware.
Then, opt out of what isn’t serving you.
Finally, develop stronger connections – online but more importantly, in person– with people, groups, and brands that resonate with your core values.
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