Blog post by my daughter, Larissa Beecher, Certified Trainer, Life Coach and all around wise person.
When I was in high school, Instagram had only recently been released, and many people were using their platforms to promote starvation diets, excessive exercise, and value unhealthily thin, white, cis-gendered bodies over anything else. Although there are many influencers who still promote these ideals, I am thrilled with the incredible number of body positive activists, influencers, and models I now see in the media. Even a number of the women I originally followed for “fitspo” many years ago have seen the error in their old ways, and now advocate for a more balanced life and relaxed approach to their bodies. If you find that scrolling on social media can sometimes make you feel badly about yourself, please keep reading for some tips that will hopefully help turn your accounts into a more positive space.
- How much time are you spending aimlessly scrolling?
If you use an iPhone, check in your settings for a category called screen time. Here, you can find out exactly how much time you spend on your phone every day and set limits for your applications. I was first horrified when I saw my data and have been working on limiting my time.
- Unfollow people who don’t make you feel good about yourself!
When I used to scroll through Instagram, I was inevitably comparing myself to the women who I followed. I remember wishing I could be as pretty, thin, successful, and happy as these women, and tried to emulate them the best I could. I looked to these people for exercise and food advice, when in hindsight I do not think any of them had any qualifications to back up their recommendations. You do not need permission to unfollow people that do not make you feel nice about yourself, even if you do like their content. You will hopefully feel a large difference and get off of social media feeling a bit more refreshed.
- Find what you are passionate about and follow those who post content about that – I promise you will find it
There is an incredible amount of information and resources on social media, no matter what you are interested in. If you can find a topic that interests or intrigues you, then there is very likely already a community built around it! I like to follow accounts about farms, families, exercise, Animal Crossing, and eating disorder recovery/mental health. Just be careful to follow accounts that aim to be positive and helpful, as some people may use those communities as an excuse to be negative, rude, and spread misinformation.
- Follow a diverse array of individuals
Do you only follow people who look like you and share the same socioeconomic background, language, interests, and political beliefs as you? I highly recommend you look at who you are following and intentionally work towards following a more diverse group of people. I absolutely love to follow individuals who know more than me and have wildly different experiences than me. The internet can be a beautiful and an ugly place; I want to learn as much as I can and use it for good.
- Be careful of undisclosed advertisements or sketchy products
Influencers in the United States must legally disclose when they receive any free products or money to promote a product and/or company. If you follow someone who posts a lot of “sponsored” content, but does not specifically disclose their relationship with the company, take their suggestions lightly. Furthermore, there are a number of companies that use influencers to sell destructive, unsafe, and unhealthy products, like fit or skinny teas. They are branded as an easy weight loss solution but they are often actually teas with laxatives. These products will only make you dehydrated and sick, any weight loss is from loss of water.
If you are interested in seeing content about body positivity, self acceptance, and joyful movement, please check out my Instagram @greenhousewellbeing. I am an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer who promotes that health and fitness should be based upon honest and accurate information, what your body and intuition want, and what is accessible to you. At the end of the day, your appearance does not matter. It is most important to work towards treating your body with respect and prioritizing your health.