I love Pinterest. I do a lot of pinning to save articles to read, workouts to try and recipes to cook. In what I consider a Pinterest triumph, I even manage to read, try and cook some of the many things I’ve pinned. Pinterest, like so many other forms of social media, is always experimenting with their algorithm to show you the material they think will be in line with your interests. Since I’m a healthy living/running blogger, that means I’m shown a lot of salads, workouts and running tips (sometimes even my own, which is pretty cool).
But within this niche, there are a lot of articles, viewpoints and language that drive me crazy. Crazy in a bad way. Much of what’s supposed to be helpful, or inspirational, is set up to make the reader or viewer feel bad about themselves, specifically about their body. It makes me want to cry when I see something couched in a negative way that’s been repined hundreds, or sometimes even thousands of times and I think of all the people pinning it who feel like their body is something to be punished when it doesn’t look the way they wish it did.
Let’s take a little tour of what’s been popping up and making me want to gouge my eyes out, shall we? Starting with easy weight loss! Just ask my husband, who struggled to lose 10 pounds in 6 weeks. If only he had known there was an easier way:
10 pounds in 10 days! No, wait, that’s not quick enough – 10 pounds in a week! And while you’re at it, why not cover your body in cling wrap as an anti-cellulite measure? Part of me thinks, well, everyone knows this is just crap, but then I see the 21 Ways To Lose TEN Pounds in a week pin has 15,690 repins.
Sticking with the weight loss theme, this time let’s see what specific body parts or types we can hate with all of our soul:
Dealing with a postpartum body is tough. It’s hard even when you’re prepared that you’re going to have a body you don’t recognize for a while, when you know that losing weight and regaining muscle after giving birth takes time, patience and hard work. Something about the title “Get Rid of Your Mommy Tummy” bothers me as a newly postpartum mama. This pin, however, is one that I’m not sure if I’m responding to negatively because it’s hitting close to home, or if it really is offensive. I think it’s the idea that you should want to get RID of any indication that you carried a baby for nine months that sits wrong with me.
But it’s not just mamas who are targeted – it’s all women with bellies and thighs, too! To lose fat anywhere on your body, you need to build lean muscle, eat within your calorie needs and do moderate cardio. There’s no one exercise you can do to lose ‘thigh fat’ specifically…that’s one of the biggest myths of exercise that people just don’t seem to want to let go of.
More pinpointing of areas to ‘target’:
Again with the cellulite (it’s hereditary, it’s more common in women and there is no way to get rid of it entirely). And again a promise that there are certain exercises that will rid you of fat in one area – it’s just unrealistic.
Let’s move on to food and all its evils:
You know what food I think you should never eat? Anything you’re allergic to, or dislike. That’s it. The first pin – ‘Name a food and i wont eat it for a whole month’? I have a hope that was meant to be an ironic pin, a dig at weight loss methods that forbid certain foods as the answer to losing weight for good. That’s my hope.
But of course for every pin that was potentially a joke, there are so many more floating around, being pinned again and again, that tell you what you can never eat (or you might DIE!!!!!). Even that third pin, of the 10 foods to never eat (Not Ever) – you know what, many of those listed are foods I typically don’t eat. But if I go to a baseball game, I’m going to eat a hot dog. And that’s totally okay. Maybe you don’t want to eat these things every single day for the rest of your life, but really, once in a while is not going to kill you.
While these final pin images might not be quite so in-your-face or dire as the other food pins, they’re still preying on misinformation and false hope:
I just don’t understand the pin about Organic vs. Conventional. Why would you need to challenge people to taste the difference? Organic food just means there are no pesticides used during growing – it has nothing to do with the taste of the food, or the nutrient value of the food.
Moving on to the 25 Zero Calorie Foods – have you heard of this theory? That celery, for example, is so low calorie that the act of eating it – crunching, swallowing, digesting – uses more calories than it contains. Therefore, you’re actually eating less calories than you’re consuming. This is something that I also assumed everyone would realize was a ridiculous myth – but check it out, nearly 8,000 repins.
And detox diets, juice fasts and the like – if you’re using juices as part of your healthy eating, then yay. I love a good green juice! I also use smoothies as a way of getting my 3 year-old to eat spinach or kale without realizing it. But something tells me people are pinning the detox diet pins to try for the ’10 pounds in a week’ type weight loss.
I know I should just scroll past when I see ridiculousness like these pins pop up on my feed. It just irritates me that people who are checking out stuff on Pinterest to do with health, exercise and weight loss are undoubtably seeing these messages over and over again. When you see or hear something perpetuated like that, it tends to stick in your head, especially if it preys on your insecurities.
What do you think – just silliness, or possibly harmful?
Are there any fitness or eating myths that irritate you?