Social Media

The Instagram Comparison Debate...

You may or may not have noticed but something that is extremely popular at the moment within the fitness industry (especially on the world of Instagram) are comparison photos. Now this covers a range from body, fitness but the newest trend... food. 

Now don't get me wrong, there are negative and positives to these posts however could these so called 'healthy' comparison posts be causing more of an issue than we realise? It makes me wonder.

I think there is a time and a place for a 'comparison' photo of such. Some of these posts place more of a positive purpose than others. If I can recall it first began with the whole body 'transformation' pictures during people's fitness journey's (which I've done myself), I feel like these are actually beneficial to an individual and others. They help you see how far you've come which could help motivate you further, especially if you deal with body dysmorphia. Or it's great if working with a client etc. It helps people realise not everything is sometimes down to the number that appears on the scale. You could weigh the same but look completely different depending on your diet, amount/how you train and so on. It's a great way to show and compare this! Personally I've found these comparison pictures to be beneficial for myself and seeing others in how far they've come and progressed. It's that extra boost of inspiration and spark!

Another style of body transformation pictures you may come across is the 'bloated vs non-bloated' or 'Instagram vs non-Instagram' which highlight how posing/lighting/time of the day can completely change how your body looks. For example by the end of the day when we've got a belly full of food we more than likely don't have the flat, six pack abs that you did when you first woke up. Or the fact that the way we can stand can really influence things such as the size of our glutes or the appearance of a 'thigh gap' etc. I actually again feel like these type of posts can be beneficial to many people. They give a sense of realism within the online world where we can percieve people into whatever they show. Sometimes we can run away thinking that we need  these killer model bodies, flat tummies 24/7 or big booties because the girl on Instagram does. But the reality is we all have imperfections and flaws, we all get bloated and we all have different bodies, thoughts and feelings.

So putting all that aside, I'm cool with body transformations, yeah? So lets move onto the newest photos which seem to have emerged over the world of Instagram and within the fitness industry!

Food comparison. From my background and a person who wants to influence healthy relationships for people and their food, I have a bit to say. So I'm sorry if this offends anyone in advance.

These posts usually revolve around portion sizes or various types of foods with calories in order to educate people in the foods they're actually eating. Usually containing calories of two different portions, of the same food in order to allow people to see where they could be eating 'extra calories'. Which fair enough, to some levels, I agree with. These posts can give a sense of education and realism. It allows people to become more mindful or their food, portion control and what they're actually putting in their body. I believe a good understanding of nutrition is essential.

But not unnecessary obsession.

So, I do have a bone to pick with it also. I feel like so many people have taken it way too far. Which could be in fact causing the infliction of a disordered view with food or causing a younger generation to create an anxiety and worry with calories etc.

For example... showing someone two bowls of fruit with yogurt... Hmm. To someone trying to be a little healthier, of a younger generation or me and you: This dish is seen as perfectly healthy! Right?

So you highlight the fruit being the only different thing, to bring to light the 'sugar' content or the increase in calories, I don't feel is all so necessary. For someone who's learning the basic of nutrition or someone younger, at ease with food, who'd believe that this bowl of fruit and yogurt is good for them, why would they need that extra pressure?! The only person it would effect is someone who was say on a serious prep etc. Who would already know these basics of nutrition. I would maybe mention this to a client, to give them more understanding. But I don't feel constant comparison photos are a visual necessity to many.

Placing this on someone who has a 'healthy' relationship with food I believe could create misleading thoughts and ways with food. Most people don't spend their time worrying or weighing out serving sizes of peanut butter, or whether sweets and nuts contain the same amount of calories, or whether they should worry about the carbs in perfectly nutritious brown rice or just as nourishing 'cauliflower rice' etc. or the fact just because a banana is a tiny bit bigger it's suddenly bad for us because of the 'increase of calories'. You just use common sense.

We know that peanut butter can be a little higher in calories but most of us have it occasionally and  ain't shovelling it down (well unless you're me but...) and we know that a handful of cashews is say more nutritional than a handful of sweets but contain the same calories... Oh so lets go bloody tell everyone we can 'stuff' the nuts and shovel down sweets. Nah! Here I feel you're defeating the whole purpose of your post: Education. Yes, you can choose the nuts or the sweets but that doesn't mean just because they contain the same calories you should always choose the sweets over the nuts or the nuts over the sweets. WE ain't learning the basics of nutrition here.

Just an obsession with, once again, CALORIES.

I feel like sometimes with these posts, it can create a good understanding but seriously taking healthy, nutritious foods , containing good quality vitamins and minerals which we've always believed to be good for us could really inflict a sense of disordered view. One or two is fine. But I truly believe we've taken it a step too far, what do you think?

I'd love to know your opinion and what you think of Insta's newest 'foodie comparison' posts! 


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