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Why We Don’t Care For Thigh Gaps Or Flat Abs

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Why We Don’t Care For Thigh Gaps Or Flat Abs

Don’t let these fitness fads leave a gaping hole in your self-esteem

Did you happen to check the mirror to see if your lower tummy was looking a bit flatter than it did yesterday? Surely it should, because all you ate for dinner was a small portion of salad!

The irony is that the Internet is brimming with body positivity and body positive movements. Yet we’re all, on some level or another, suffering beneath the idea that our bodies are not perfect because they don’t look a certain way.

This begs a really important question — is it ever going to be enough?

Fashion designer Nisha*, 30, speaks of her teenage years and how she’s always struggled with her weight.

She recalls that at 19, while doing an internship that she was excelling at, she thought to herself, “Everything is perfect in my life; now all I need is to lose weight to find the perfect guy, and then my life will be truly complete in every way.”

Today, as she cringes at her 19-year-old self, she explains how over the years and many boyfriends later, she’s come to realise that it was never about finding the right guy — rather not being able to love herself and blaming her body for everything else in life.

Not long ago, young girls were uploading selfies while trying to balance a stack of coins on their collar bone, or taking photos with A4 size papers on their stomach to prove that the thinness of their waists matched the width of a little sheet of paper!

One of the most outrageous fitness fads is the recent ‘thigh gap challenge’ that celebrates girls who are able to achieve a gap between their thighs even with their feet pressed together.

In reality, a thigh gap depends on the skeletal structure of an individual, which means if you don’t naturally have that bone structure, you won’t have a thigh gap. Sadly, this bit of information didn’t deter girls from going on extreme diets bordering on starvation and unhealthy amounts of exercise.

It’s important at this point to bring up eating disorders, that have only increased since challenges like these started flooding our Instagram feeds.

Not to mention, ‘thinspo’ groups that promote, and in fact even encourage behaviours related to eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. For the uninitiated, thinspo means thinspiration, or inspiration to get thin.

Akriti Singh*, 27, used to binge and purge after every meal. “I developed esophageal ruptures with all the vomiting.

“With professional help from a doctor and a therapist, my relationship with food is much better now — not the best, but better. I can’t say that the thought of purging hasn’t occurred since, but I just know how to manage those thoughts better.”

In the passive acceptance of the perfect body we fail to see that a multi-billion dollar beauty industry feeds on our insecurities. This article isn’t meant to bash slim-bodied people, but to create a comfortable space for all body sizes.

We spend so much time absorbing ads that promise a magic pill for weight loss in one week, or deodorants that somehow increase our chances of getting laid — it makes one wonder if aligning yourself with social media movements keeps you on-trend, or simply makes you judge yourself!

So while you browse your Facebook and Insta feeds, remember that fitness trends come and go. Don’t let them affect your body and your sense of self-worth.

What’s your take on all the ab/squats and thigh gap challenges that you see online? Share your views by commenting below.

*names changed on request

Image Credit: Nikhil Mudaliar

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