Monday, April 8, 2013

When Thin is IN.. media and motivations

NEWS FLASH: thin is in, folks. When you look good you feel good. You are what you eat. These messages have been engraved in us. WE are a society obsessed with achieving 'health'. Unfortunately our attitudes and focuses surrounding this issue of what it means to be healthy are somewhat skewed. How do we define this ideal of "health" and how do we know that it has been attained? Social media sure has a way of convincing us that it has the answers. Health and fitness magazines line the shelves of nearly every supermarket, drug, and convenience store. Even the magazines that do not imply a health/fitness focus, in the title, will make some sort of weightloss claim or advertisement. But what is healthy?
  Does it mean being 5'10"and fitting into those size zero skinny jeans? Or, what about being able to stand up ankle-to-ankle and not having your thighs touch? It might mean, following a ten day liquid detox?  Or it could be as simple as cutting out all fat from your diet... fat is bad, we don't need it! What about the Atkins diet? The progression of social media has completely changed the health and fitness industry. Prior to this "boom" in access to information... if we had a question regarding our health we would most likely visit a doctor and seek out professional recommendations. Today, the internet makes it so convenient to 'just Google it.' And so.. we ask Google, and the search results come back with hundreds upon thousands of answers. Sure, we have all this information at our disposal, but what do we do with it? The problem with asking Google and/or other internet search engines questions regarding health, is that it will give us the generic answer-mathematical answers, black and white scenarios when indeed the focus of health should be completely specific to the individual and their circumstances. The computer does not know you personally. According to Maslow`s hierarchy of needs chart, both esteem and self actualization are  higher order priorities. That is these are held with the highest regards to the individual. Health is at the root of our strong desire to fulfill esteem needs. As mentioned previously, when we look good we feel good, right? Furthermore, as human beings and social creatures we are driven by our desire to progress... the best that we can be. That starts with health.