If you’re not tweeting about your weight loss, posting statuses about the gym on Facebook and uploading before and after pics of your bod to Instagram — are you even on a diet?
Face it, being on a diet seems to be a rite of passage for the women of our generation (as is posting about said diet on social media). For some reason, we need to make it known to those around us that we’re exercising and limiting our food intake. Subconsciously, we declare “I’m unhappy with myself, but here’s the proof that I’m working towards perfection.” Whatever perfection may be.
I mean, how many times has Becky tweeted about “only eating grapefruit” that week? How many likes has Sara gotten on her “yummy, healthy” lunch — which is really just two lettuce leaves and a quarter of an avocado? How many pictures have you untagged of yourself because your arm “looked fat”?
And if I see one more girl on Instagram squatting in her sports bra, I’m going to scream.
The issue with posts like the ones above is that dieting becomes a competition. How do you feel when, at the exact same moment you read Becky’s tweet, you’re shoveling a piece of leftover birthday cake into your mouth? Like crap. Your mind starts to race — should I be on that diet too? Am I fat? What am I thinking eating this cake? Are carbs the enemy? And voila, that delicious mid-afternoon treat suddenly feels like a giant brick sitting in your stomach. Who knew that a tweet had the power to destroy an appetite.
Here’s the problem: We forget that what’s posted on social media is not really real life. For all you know, Becky’s chasing her grapefruit with cookie dough and Sara grabbed two slices of pizza after the salad (I’ve witnessed both scenarios).
We’re all human, and instead of cultivating this perfect diet persona, maybe we should be more honest with our friends, ourselves and our bodies on social media.
I realize that diets aren’t going to go away. There’s nothing wrong with being health-conscious or striving towards a stronger body. But maybe reconsider the amount of times you post about it.
This post was originally written for and published by The Odyssey Online.