Instagram capitalised on our strongest sense, vision, it is therefore, little surprise that this social media enterprise has been such a huge success. Its popularity has caught the attention of many business’s looking to increase the reach and strength of their product promotions. What started out as a niche app for amateur and professional photographers has become a mainstream advertising platform for a variety of companies.
In the health and fitness industry many Instagram promotions of certain health foods and drink, active wear and workout programs favour influencers with flat, toned stomachs and large yet perky bottoms. But how real are these images and do these products really give you these results? These days everyone knows how to photoshop and filter an image. Remember not everything you see should be believed.
Some huge celebrities, for example Kim Kardashian, have even advertised appetite suppressing lollipops to her millions of her young and impressionable followers. It is advertisements like these that encourage the public to purchase these products in order to pursue a “healthy lifestyle” because of the so called physical changes they will apparently see to their body. This has little regard for what is actually healthy and is an extremely dangerous method to promote and not least a hugely unethical idea to advertise to young people who look up to and mimic Kim K.
As a platform with such a high engagement rate, Instagram could be used (and is sometimes) for personal or social good, such as launching positive campaigns like the #bodypositivity movement, starting positive movements, or encouraging the acquisition of achievements. Although this does happen, much of Instagram’s role is in the production of advertising campaigns that feed our insecurities and can induce self-hatred and a low self-esteem.
The way you lead your life is known to influence your mental well-being. Exercise has been scientifically proven to release happiness endorphins, hormones known to promote feelings of positivity and improve our ability to cope with stress. It is nature’s anti-depressant! What Instagram often fails to promote are these mental benefits and focuses more on the physical results of gaining a beautiful booty. At the end of the day a great bum isn’t that important if you are crying on the inside. Furthermore, this is just a current trend! Who knows what could be next?!
A true healthy lifestyle will promote a higher sense of self-esteem, and this confidence is truly empowering. Food is not something to be used as a coping mechanism for stress and sadness that triggers feelings of guilt once consumed. Appetite supressing lollipops sound like a form of torture disallowing us to consume real, wholesome nutrients that feed and nourish our body and soul. This whole idea just promotes negative thoughts around body image and food. Food is a source of energy that improves your mood, keeps you calm and collected and able to execute those workouts that leave you walking out of the gym feeling accomplished and on a high. Never forget this.
These benefits, the ones that don’t seem to be captured on Instagram should be why you lead a healthy lifestyle. Taking those first steps to start exercising and eating healthily will gradually allow you to feel beautiful. You will feel that glow from within and your mind will feel free, happy, calm and centred.
By all means, relish in the physical benefits you will see from living a healthier life, but don’t forget about the mental benefits. If you are suffering from low self-esteem, moments of depression and uncertainty then exercise can help you overcome this. Do not just think that with a perfect body you will able to achieve your goals because it is in fact the positive self-image that healthy living promotes that will prepare you best for success.
Words Contributed by: Shoshana Rees, Blogger @ Feeding Self Esteem