We’ve been spending a bit of time on Pinterest lately, sharing the latest Vitogo news, workout tips, and healthy recipes. It’s a great way to share content and connect with users, but could Pinterest actually be making us less healthy?
For those of you who haven’t received an invite yet, Pinterest is a “virtual pinboard” that lets you organize and share things that you find on the web. Basically, if you see something that you like, you can ‘pin’ a picture of it onto one of your themed boards.
If you go check out the Heath & Fitness section, you’ll notice that a lot of people have created motivational boards, filled with pictures of models and inspirational sayings. While this might not seem so bad, it takes a turn for the scary when you see that many of these boards have titles like “Thinspiration” and include photos like the following:
Clearly, these images promote unrealistic body image and encourage unhealthy behaviors. Some bloggers
have compared these “Thinspiration” boards to pro-anorexia sites, which started gaining popularity with the advent of blogging and social media:
Back in the days of Xanga and Live Journal, “Pro-Ana” or Pro-Anorexia sites sprung up around the internet. On these kinds of sites, people with eating disorders wouldn’t gather for support or treatment, but rather, to encourage each other to pursue a lifestyle of starvation by posting pictures of skeletal models and odd motivational statements to discourage eating. It wasn’t good.
of pro-anorexia sites show that women who are exposed to these types of images experience a decrease in self-esteem and perceived attractiveness. They were even more likely to report an increase in their weight than women who were not exposed to these sites. Even the slightest exposure to pro-anorexia sites may be harmful to those at risk. One study
exposed healthy college girls with no history of eating disorders to 1.5 hours of pro-anorexia sites and they showed decreased caloric intake the week following their exposure. Some participants admitted using techniques and tips they viewed on the sites and had “strong emotional reactions” up to three weeks after the study.
Probably not every woman with a Thinspiration board on Pinterest is suffering from an eating disorder. But pinning and re-pinning bad advice and unrealistic goals perpetuates the misinformation that is so prevalent in health and fitness. Starving yourself is not the way to get healthy. In fact, most athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness models actually eat six small meals a day. Your body needs fuel to power itself through the day – especially if you’re active.
Looking at pictures of skeletal models isn’t healthy or inspiring. It’s also completely ridiculous to think that healthy weight loss requires restrictive dieting and starvation. If you’re looking for realistic healthy lifestyle tips, try checking out the Pinterest boards of sites and people you trust, and maybe we can replace Thinspiration pins with images like these: