Body Image

Fitspo vs Thinspo: Are they basically the same thing?

May 10, 2016

Self-Paced Course: Non-Diet Academy


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A Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian (CEDRD) with a master's degree in dietetics & nutrition. My passion is helping you find peace with food - and within yourself.

Meet Katy

Popular culture is obsessed with images intended to inspire body-controlling behaviors.  In preparation for writing this post I googled "thinspo" and "fitspo" to see what came up.  I knew of the concepts peripherally but hadn't spent much time actually diving in to each one.  My research did not inspire me to be thin or fit.  In fact, it disturbed me.  

 The "thinspo" trend (i.e. thin inspiration) is all about finding inspiration for weight loss and thinness.  It is often also pro-anorexia.  The "fitspo" (i.e. fitness inspiration) is about being fit.  But we tend to equate fit with thin, or at least lean.  I suppose it depends on if you are male or female.  Because for the guys it's ok to be big as long as you're muscular.  For women it's ok to have some muscle definition but ideally without bulkiness.  Let me be clear: Having muscle definition doesn't make you fit.

Although proponents from each camp would argue differently, I see thinspo and fitspo as 2 sides of the same coin.  And that coin is thinness/leanness (whatever you want to call it, basically anti-fatness).  It's about trying to control your body's appearance. 

I have had countless numbers of clients who followed thin/fitspo social media as a way to fuel their eating disorder.  I am not saying these messages cause eating disorders, although they often endorse eating disordered behaviors.  I can confidently say that I've never seen anyone use thin/fitspo as part of their healing.  

If you are plugged into the thin/fitspo community, why?  What is it doing for you?  I challenge you to step back and think about the messages you are receiving and the underlying current that powers each movement: the fear of fatness.  



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