The other day I woke up to see that Facebook had another notification for me. One of the ones that shows you your ‘memories.’ Youuu know what I’m talking bout.
This one was from 5 years ago, when I was in Mexico on vacation with my parents. Therefore it would have been in 2011, when I was in my second year of University and I would have been 19 years old.
The first thing that I noticed was how THIN, I looked. My arms, my back, even my face a bit – there looked to be absolutely no muscle definition. I was shocked, and thus delved a little deeper into the album that I had made at the time. In the majority of the photos I looked pretty weak to say the least. One would assume I couldn’t do a single push up.
At first I thought it was kind of hilarious, and thought about making a joke ‘transformation Tuesday’ photo for social media. It would show everyone how far I had come in those 5 years! From skinny and useless, to strong and lean! It would be great! (p.s., not saying if you’re skinny you’re useless. I’m just saying I would be useless).
Before I could do that, something in the back of my head stopped me. When I was 19 years old, I wasn’t weak, by any means. I had been playing competitive rugby for at least 4 years by this point, and was a tough betch. I could hit harder than most girls my size, and I could most definitely do 20 push ups in a row. Yet I was still growing, still young, and most likely, muscle definition was not something I had been focussing on at all.
Something that i’ve noticed constantly on social media are transformation photos. In this day and age, with fitness as such a huge focus of everyone’s lives, transformation photos mean everything. I’ve also noticed that a lot of people use photos of themselves from many, many years ago, to compare to how they look now. You cannot compare your 15 year old self to your 25 year old self. As i’ve clearly demonstrated, your body composition is completely different, and that comparison is unrealistic by neglecting to tell the full story.
I think transformation photos are a good thing, and the majority of the time can be motivating and a positive reinforcement for many people. That being said, the transformation photos we see can so easily be faked (as this one Instagrammer illustrates below), exaggerated, and unrealistic, which can lead to unsatisfied and unhappy mindsets.
I personally have worked with clients that have seen transformation photos on social media, and questioned me as to why their body wasn’t changing as quickly or as dramatically. Every single body is different, and takes time to adapt to a particular training program. You also have no idea how long it took that person to get the lighting, posing, camera angle and outfit right, just to highlight their transformation.
This can be dangerous as it may start to instill unhealthy ideas or actions to reach that level of a transformation. One article summed it up perfectly, “While we logically know that many images on the internet aren’t genuine, we sometimes allow ourselves to be fooled on some level into measuring ourselves against them.”
Kayla Itsines has previously complained about fake users that post fake transformation pictures, hoping they will get a chance to be featured on her 5.8MM+ Instagram page.
I’m not hating or bashing on people who like to post their transformation pictures – as I said, they can be a positive and motivating tool. But even great things come with consequences, and I believe it’s important to recognize the downfalls of such a massive social trend (that seems to have completely taken over Instagram).
Not so skinny now, eh Cheng?
What About You?
- Personal transformation photos, yay or nay?
- Thoughts on these massive social media trends?