I recently had a conversation with a individual about their experience with a instagram fitness regimen. This is what they shared with me. (Name is not the real name used in the story)
It’s the middle of a productive day, and Sally decides to take a break and post her pics from last night’s escapades on Instagram. Afterward, she begins to scroll through the main timeline, where she comes across a fitness influencer and their fitness program. Sally noticed they have thousands of followers. She becomes interested and clicks the follow button.
Sally dives into the fitness 9-week challenge head-on. She believes the program to be legit due to the massive follower this fitness influencer seems to possess. The plan is comprised of exercise routines, meal plans that may or may not be derived from a dietary professional, and a special request that participants post photos of their progress with a mention and hashtag linked to the influencer’s page.
Sally, along with the other participants of the program, proceed to post their pictures to the gram. The images they are posting, display the changes their bodies are experiencing from start to finish. Camaraderie and accountability develops amongst the participants. They have established a community of sorts.
The end of week 9 arrives. Sally notices by the end of the program that her body has changed. She is extremely excited about her progress and begins to share her success and the fitness influencer’s page with her friends/followers. But by week 11, things start to change for Sally.
You see, Sally is still going to the fitness influencer’s page and not just for workouts. She’s checking out the before and after posts from other members in the community. Sally begins to feel as though more could be done. She’s comparing her body with other people in society. What happens next; is just horrible. She strives to keep up with the others by any means necessary.
Sally describes a feeling of guilt she’s now feeling because she doesn’t look like the new posts the community is putting up, so she increases her fitness regime and decreases her caloric intake. To make it plain, she’s overworking her body and starving herself. By doing these things, all her success is thanks and void. All because she feels compelled to be just as good as or better than her support system. Within a few weeks, she finds herself in the hospital clinging to life. Body weakened and malnourished.