I’ve recently rediscovered my love for health and fitness and have been working out pretty consistently for the past month or so. I’m eating good food, treating my body right, and I haven’t felt this good about my body for a long time ever.
Before I had this blog, I had a fitness blog in my sophomore and junior years of high school [if I remember correctly] where I basically just blogged about the current workout I was doing [30 Day Shred by Jillian Michaels was my fave], what I was eating, and how school and life were going.
When I was in high school, Tumblr was super popular and I had a few thousand followers where I posted the same things like my blog as well as reblogged gifs and photos of workouts, tips, and the ‘ideal’ body that every girl lusted after.
I had an addiction to MyFitnessPal [MFP]. Now, MFP has a minimum daily calorie intake of 1200 calories. Back when I used it, there was no minimum. If you went below 1000, they showed a little message that that wasn’t necessarily healthy and that you should be eating more, however, you could still eat as low as you wanted. I deprived my body of the food it so desperately needed for years because an app said if I kept at it I’d lose weight in no time.
Everyone I knew had [or still has] My Fitness Pal. A lot of my college friends have told me they used MFP in middle school and high school as well. My Fitness Pal not only destroyed me, my relationship with food, my relationship with my body, and my ability to love myself, but it also did the same to a whole generation of boys and girls.
The internet tells you to hate the way you look from day one based on ads, skinny teas, weight loss programs, etc. but apps like My Fitness Pal, Livestrong, LoseIt! and more give you the tools to go to any means necessary to get you to ‘love yourself’ and get that ideal body. What 12 or 13-year-old won’t jump on the ‘opportunity of a lifetime?’
For those of you lucky enough to not know what My Fitness Pal is, it’s a diet app where you input your food, water, and exercise throughout the day. At the end of every day, you submit your net calories for the day. The app then tells you “if you eat like this every day you should weigh ____ pounds in 5 weeks.” I can be 10 [or more] pounds closer to the ‘ideal’ body in FIVE weeks???? Sign me UP. On my blog, I bragged about eating 1000 or fewer calories a day and to this day I know the calories of the foods I ate most often for when I was away from my phone or after I deleted the app.
My teenage years were full of weight loss and weight gain and using My Fitness Pal and Livestrong [as part of a class grade on multiple occasions !!] and having calorie journals. My teenage years were also full of eating 300 calories during the day and binging on hundreds and thousands of calories late at night alone. My teenage years were full of torturing my body by over-exercising and undereating but thinking I was doing great things for it because I was getting compliments on my body and I was getting closer to the societal ideal body type.
There are thousands of people in their teens and twenties who don’t have good relationships with food and their bodies and who are going to spend years unlearning what we learned on diet apps like My Fitness Pal and I’m one of them.
I no longer use the app, however, as I mentioned before, I know most of the calories of the foods I eat daily. I sit and tally up my calories for the day after each meal mindlessly. I’m more of a numbers person in general which is why it’s been so hard to unlearn all of the numbers, grams, calories, etc. It’s something I have to actively think about, not counting calories and not reading food labels [other than to make sure something is vegan] and to just focus on putting good foods in my body. It’s a slow process, of course, but I’m confident that one day all of the people affected by diet apps will be able to take back their relationships with food and their bodies by storm.
To all the young people: Never ever download a diet app and don’t base your worth off of how your body looks.
To everyone: Never comment on someone’s weight even if you think it’s a compliment because you NEVER know what they’re dealing with.
All bodies are good bodies.