A Response to the Stop Fitspiration Criticism (and threats)

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Content Warning: this article deals with body image, body dysmorphia, eating disorders, and exercise addiction. It also contains an example of a fitspiration image for educational purposes.

They’re back. The Fitspo community is on #StopFitspiration again. Originally, I was going to pull some of their tweets and respond to them individually (like I have in the past); however, after skimming through the twitter stream for about the hundredth time, I felt exhausted and dragged down. So that’s not what I’m going to do today – maybe another day, just not now.

Instead, I feel it’s better to focus more on the positive, and to clarify some things (yet again).

As you may have noticed, we do not get into petty arguments with our critics; instead, we just keep pumping out our message in the hopes that it will be loud enough to not be drowned out.

And so far it’s working.

The truth is, even though there are possibly more people against us than there were when we first came on the scene with #stopfitspiration two years ago, there are also way more people with us. I think if I were to chart it out, I’d actually find the increase of #stopfitspiration supporters has actually been far greater than the increase in #stopfitspiration haters.

The conversation is changing – and it’s changing for the best.

However, the backlash has not stopped – and in the past week it has been incessant and growing – in both number of voices and severity of threats.

So as a broad, general response, I would like to clarify the following:

We are not against fitness.

This is probably the thing that makes me the most upset. Yes, if we were anti-fitness, that would be ridiculous and people would have the right to raise an eyebrow (still not to send hate messages flying across the webosphere, but a pause of “seriously?!” would be fair and understood).

We are all for exercise and fitness – all for it.

Exercise is a valuable asset to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Not only does it have physical benefits, but it has psychological and emotional benefits as well.

However, when taken to the extreme, or under the wrong context or with the wrong approach, exercise can also have incredibly negative effects – both psychologically and physically.

So to clarify: we are not against exercise, but we are against fitness being taken to an unhealthy extreme.

Exercising in moderation to improve and maintain internal health indicators, as a release of emotion, as a way to be social, and as a hobby are all good things!

But exercising as a way to punish your body, or as a means to achieve some aesthetic end (one that most likely is unrealistic, anyways – as we see in the many heavily photo-shopped fitspo photos) is not healthy.

The desire to exercise is good; the compulsion or need to exercise is not.

When guilt and shame are brought into the equation (“If it’s important, you’ll find a way, if not, you’ll find an excuse” and “While you sleep, I train”) it is a recipe for disaster.

Loving your body, working with your body, and keeping your body active are all good things that we support. But body-shaming as a way to encourage/motivate a higher level of activity than is healthy or even safe (“You can feel sore tomorrow or you can feel sorry tomorrow”) are not things we can or will support.

Also, take a look at our #stopfitspiration column and page – you will notice we spend a great deal of time teaching and promoting healthy approaches to fitness, not just sharing anti-fitspo images.

The goal of this whole project from day one has been to “bring awareness to the harm of Fitspiration messages and to offer support for those recovering from exercise addiction while providing alternative information and tips for a more healthy, balanced, and body positive approach to fitness.”

We do not hate fit/thin people.

This one also makes me upset because we work so hard at promoting the message of not only healthy at every size, but also acceptance at every size. We do not thin-shame any more than we fat-shame. And we don’t fit-shame either.

Your body is your body, the same way my body is my body and there is nothing wrong with either one. They are different and unique and beautiful.

We are not lazy gluttons looking for an excuse.

Seriously? …. Seriously?! I feel I shouldn’t even honour these accusations with a response, but I will anyways.

I workout. I go for runs, I do sprints, heck, I even own a punching bag and a full set of weights (which I use, by the way). I am not lazy.

And yes, I do eat cookies and Ben and Jerry’s, but I eat these just as readily as I eat salads, and couscous, and veggie burgers. I eat when I’m hungry, and I stop when I’m full. And when I don’t, I still offer myself grace not shame. I am not a glutton.

If we were so lazy that we needed an excuse to not have to “get our fat asses off the couch” (excuse my french – it’s acceptable when it’s a direct quote, right?) then do you really think we’d go to all this effort to create and maintain an entire project, website, and multiple social media accounts in order to have said excuse to fuel our laziness?


and lastly…

We are not out to get anybody.

So everyone calm down and take a chill pill. Relax. Breathe. We are not “out to get you” – so you don’t need to threaten us with your desire for us to “drop dead” and you certainly don’t need to get all your feathers ruffled.

We aren’t interested in starting a war and we certainly aren’t out to get anybody.

We don’t have time for that, to be honest, nor do we have the desire.

If we were out to get you, we would’ve gotten you already – trust me on that one.

So relax and calm down and don’t worry so much. Vicious, aggressive, pack-like attacks are not how we roll here at Libero Network. You’re safe.

We’re just going to be standing here in our corner, speaking our message – awaiting people to come to us. Don’t worry – we won’t even cross the line over to your side.

We believe in what we say and we believe, ultimately, the truth will always ring loudest.So you keep doing what you do, and we’ll keep doing what we do and we can all just let things unfold.

In closing, we are not going anywhere.

And though we realize the haters won’t stop (“haters gonna hate” and all that) we know that neither will we.

They said they were going to push and push until they wore us thin and we finally surrendered – ha! For those of you who know how I and the rest of the team roll here, you can share that laugh with us.

Lauren Bersaglio

Lauren is the Founder of Libero Magazine. She started Libero in April 2010, when she shared her story about her struggles with an eating disorder and depression. Now, Lauren uses her writing and videos to advocate for mental health. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, playing cozy video games, and taking selfies with her 65lb goldendoodle, Zoey.

SITE DISCLAIMER: The opinions and information shared in any content on our site, social media, or YouTube channel may not represent that of Libero Network Society. We are not liable for any harm incurred from viewing our content. Always consult a medical professional before making any changes to your medication, activities, or recovery process. Libero does not provide emergency support. If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-784-2433 or another helpline or 911.


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