Instagram is a big part of the lives of many. As of October 2020, the social media platform has one billion monthly active users.
For many users who want to lose weight, Instagram is their go-to site to get fitness inspiration. It’s flooded by fitness trainers and influencers who post weight loss tips. But not all of them are authentic. Many influencers promoted or are still promoting miracle weight-loss strategies. And they can do more harm than good.
This kind of content sparked conversations about whether Instagram has made dieting more dangerous. And the platform had to take action. In 2019, they started banning users under 18 from seeing miracle weight loss ads on their feeds.
Even so, there are still numerous fitness contents with a similar message or even worse. Taking a break from the platform is probably one of the best things you can do during your weight loss journey.
Why Take a Break From Instagram
Instagram is one of the social media platforms that cultivate the comparison culture. It’s where users compare themselves to others on the internet based on what they see on these people’s social media posts. In one survey by Stylist magazine, they found that 44% of their respondents can’t help but compare themselves to those who seem to have better experiences than them.
But constant comparison can take a toll on your self-esteem, especially when you’re trying to lose weight. For example, say your feed is full of people with the “Instagram-perfect” body. And they flaunt it through photos without sharing how they achieved that kind of body. One might think these people achieved their bodies without much work. And this may be demotivating because, unlike them, you’re putting in a lot of effort to lose weight and manage it.
Unhealthy and Unrealistic Images
Instagram is full of photos of unhealthy and unrealistic body types. For example, not everyone can achieve a ripped body figure with toned muscles or a fitness athlete’s more jacked body. But images of these body types are all over the platform and on other social media platforms.
Impressionable users might think that these are the only body types they should have to feel “accepted.” Others might feel pressured and feel like they should achieve such body type.
The unhealthy and unrealistic images on Instagram might derail you or make you feel pressured during your weight loss journey. So it’s best to stay away from the platform.
Delivery of the Wrong Message
On Instagram, many people post “before and after” photos of their weight loss journey. These photos may be inspiring. But in retrospect, these images can send the wrong message: that losing weight is about aesthetics. The “before and after” photos often only show how one’s body shape has changed. They don’t show whether they’re in a healthy state or how much work they put in to achieve that body.
And sometimes, the “after” photos aren’t realistic. A person can stage their photo, whether using lighting, a certain angle, or editing. But having a healthy weight doesn’t always mean having a ripped body or a slender frame. Some people are on the chubby side but are considered physically fit.
In losing excess weight, the actual main goal is to improve the overall state of your body. Maintaining a healthy weight means lowering your risk of illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and many more. Looking good is only a bonus and something that you shouldn’t focus on.
What You Need to Do
Rather than spending hours scrolling through your Instagram feed or discover page for some fitspiration, you need to consult experts instead. If you have the budget and the time, you can go for a full-body check-up and undergo some scans, like those offered at Vista Health, to better understand your overall condition.
Also, consult a registered dietitian to determine your needs and receive a tailored meal plan based on your lifestyle and personal needs. You can also talk to a personal trainer to get a personalised workout plan. Some plans, although helpful, may not be suitable for you. And you might get discouraged if you do them for a long time and don’t get any significant results.
Lastly, based on the things discussed earlier, you need to try your best to take a break from Instagram during your weight loss journey. You can uninstall the app to prevent yourself from checking it. Or you can unfollow fitness influencers, celebrities, and other accounts that make you compare yourself with them.
And with all this said, good luck on your weight loss journey!