You Should Exercise To Be Healthy, Not Skinny. Here’s Why…

Sick of being bombarded with images of tanned tummies & super thin thighs? Us too...

Everyone’s seen those images. The tanned stomachs, tiny thighs, girls in skimpy knickers showing off their thigh gaps.

Sites like Pinterest and Tumblr are full of them. There are dozens of inspirational quotes and guides on ‘how to get the perfect abs in 30 days’

Everyone wants to be healthy and look their best – but when does promoting women to exercise slip into the dangerous territory of ‘thinspiration’?

 What is ‘thinspiration’?

Thinspiration or ‘thinspo’ refers to quotes and images that inspire people to be thin.

While this can conjure up healthy athletic women, it also pulls up images of emaciated young women who are fixated on being thin above all.

You can find them all over Google and Pinterest.

 What happens when you type ‘thinspiration’ into Google or Pinterest?

It comes up with photos of women with tiny waists and flat stomachs, pulling up their tops seductively.

There are quotes that range from the mildly inspirational “Keep on going!” to the truly terrifying (see above).

As I scroll, I start to become scared – because it’s starting to make me feel bad about the way I look. I don’t think my body will ever look like Cara Delevigne’s, but I don’t hate it either.

The more I scroll, the worse I feel – and yet I can’t seem to stop…

What scares me is how easy it is to keep scrolling down. The more I scroll, the worse I feel. Yet, I can’t seem to stop myself looking at image after image of tanned stomachs and tiny thighs.

I don’t find this kind of imagery inspiring or invigorating. But I can see why it sucks in women everywhere. And that’s where the danger lies.

Why is ‘thinspiration’ so terrifying?

Just think about all those young girls seeing this imagery and thinking this is the way to be?

So much of ‘thinspiration’ imagery is focused around being “sexy”, having a “hot body” or being so desirable that men won’t be able to resist you.

There’s a reason every single girl is posed in sexy lingerie, boobs pushed to the heavens with their thumbs pulling down their knickers.

So much imagery is focused around being “sexy” or having a “hot body”

Pinterest itself is a particularly bad platform for this kind of imagery. “It’s both visual and highly interactive,” Claire Mysko from National Eating Disorders Association told Jezebel.

“Young women (and some men) suffering from an eating disorder or teetering on the brink of disorder crave the unique combination of visibility and anonymity offered by the site.”

Punishing yourself is not the way forward

Amazingly, there is a huge amount of language used that is about punishing yourself for eating.

The infamous Kate Moss saying “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” is quoted with pride.

It makes food the enemy…

All this does is encourage self-loathing, binge eating and feelings of guilt. It makes food the enemy, when in order to be a healthy human being you need to eat and have a balanced diet. 

We love this post from BuzzFeed, showing corrections made to posters like these.

There’s a difference between being thin and being healthy

We’re not trying to say women shouldn’t care about their health.

Here at Cooler, we are all about eating nutritious food, enjoy sport and living a healthy lifestyle – but no one’s going to shoot you if you eat a cookie or indulge in a few beers on a Friday night.

No one’s going to shoot you if you eat a cookie or indulge in a few beers on a Friday night

You shouldn’t feel guilty about it either.

Some platforms are putting an end to pro-anorexic blogs. Tumblr, for example, has already banned self-harm blogs that promote anorexia.

We hope that more platforms control this kind of imagery in the future – to protect this generation and the next.

What do we want to see?

We want women to inspired by other sporty, healthy women – not the super skinny models in tiny gym hotpants we see online.

We love photographs like this from Howard Schatz, showing the best female athletes in the world side-by-side.

Even these women – who are all at the peak of their fitness – have incredibly varied body shapes. There’s not one “ideal body type”.

Being healthy shouldn’t be focused around looking hot when you’re naked. You shouldn’t be exercising to make someone else think you look good.

Being healthy shouldn’t be about making others jealous or to prove a point.

You should exercise because it makes you feel good and because you want to live a healthy life for you.

Here are just a tiny handful of healthy inspirational women who look great because they do what they love…

Tyler Wright, surfer, currently ranked 3rd in WCT

Jenny Jones, snowboarder, Olympic bronze medallist


Alison Hargreaves, mountaineer, climbed the north face of the Eiger while five months pregnant

Lynn Hill, one of the best climbers of all time


Rebecca Adlington, swimmer, two times Olympic gold medallist

Photo: All Women Health

Lindsey Vonn, skier, most successful American ski racer in history

Photo: Red Bull

Note: Not a thigh gap in sight.

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