by Matt Weik
With so much talk over the years about internet bullying and fit shaming, I think we need to take a step back and look at the situation from a different lens. I fully understand that what’s taking place on the internet and social media is downright disgusting. People are being threatened, having their lives be told are in jeopardy, that they wish they would die, that they wish horrible things on their family, etc. But what I want us to think about and consider is the source of this.
Do you know these people? Are they complete strangers or are they friends and family? The source plays a major role in this and, I believe, the way society is trending that this is (unfortunately) the new norm. Therefore, we need to take a step back and reevaluate things.
Why Do You Care?
If this is happening to you where you are subject to internet bullying and fit shaming, who is the source? Is it a source that you should really care what their opinion is? Look, I’m not talking about fat shaming here. While that does happen quite often, fit shaming is on the opposite side of the spectrum. Not that any type of shaming is acceptable.
But what exactly are these people so upset over? Many low-life individuals who live boring and unhappy lives find joy in shaming others because of how they feel about themselves. Many times, their shaming is to try to knock you down to their level of unhappiness. They take out their frustrations on people like you because, quite frankly, they have nothing better to do with their time – nor do they have the passion and drive to better themselves because they lack work ethic.
Not everyone is going to be in shape. Not everyone is going to be ripped with a six-pack. Not everyone is going to look good in a bikini. That’s just life. Some people work incredibly hard in the gym and never attain those things. But everyone is unique.
Why do you care so much? If my friends or family had something negative to say about me, I’d have to sit back and think about where all of this is coming from. Why are they saying this? Is my dedication to my training and nutrition interfering with my family and home life? Or is all of this noise from internet bullying and fit shaming coming from a place of individuals who are envious or jealous of what you have accomplished through your hard work?
Looking at the source, if you don’t know them, why do you care so much? Sure, threats to your life should be taken seriously but calling you names or wishing the worst case of diarrhea on you shouldn’t be something that concerns you. You shouldn’t respect anyone’s opinion of you more than your own opinion of yourself. Who cares what people think? The internet provides unhappy individuals with a platform they can hide behind and bang away at their keyboard in an effort to frustrate you. Don’t let them.
Society Is Changing… But That Doesn’t Mean You Should
As a society, we have accepted the obesity epidemic we are surrounded by. Why? In my opinion, it’s partially due to the whole “fat shaming” exposure. The interesting thing is, fat shaming is no different than fit shaming, yet people view them as the polar opposite when they aren’t. If you mention someone’s weight these days, you will immediately get hate from millions of people for shaming them. We’ve created this environment where it’s taboo to discuss someone as being overweight or unhealthy. Even doctors are facing pushback on discussing weight with their patients.
We are unhealthier today than we’ve ever been. And the whole “love your body” movement is actually quite unhealthy and deadly. Just because you love being obese doesn’t make it right. It’s unhealthy. There are serious risks and diseases that come along with it. There are way more negatives to being overweight than there ever will be from being healthy and fit.
So, why are people so worried about the haters posting things on the internet? Just because they are unhappy doesn’t mean you should or that you should let your foot off the gas with your training and nutrition. More than 64% of Americans are considered overweight. And I see that number continuing to climb as the years go on. What can I do about it? Not a damn thing. But what I can attempt to do is educate people through my content as I’ve always done. The problem is, it’s like the saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”
Internet bullying and fit shaming aren’t going anywhere. You can either laugh at the hate being thrown your way or you can let it eat you alive. But at what benefit? Thinking differently about yourself just because you want to stay fit and healthy doesn’t make you a bad person. Heck, having a body fat percentage of over 60% doesn’t even make you a bad person. It just means you’ve made some poor CHOICES.
It’s not possible to change society – it’s unfixable. The only thing you can focus on changing is the person in the mirror. If you are happy with the way you look and with your current health status, who cares what others think? And the fact that you are putting yourself out there on social media showing off your hard work shows how proud of yourself you are for all you have accomplished. You’re wearing your own badge of honor.
What you are doing by showing off your physique is motivating. It provides people with someone they can relate to. It’s the “if he/she can do it, so can I” motto. Don’t let internet bullying and fit shaming change your path. Haters are like rocks as you walk through your journey. You’ll encounter a few on the way that can cause you to stagger but as soon as you regain your balance, you keep moving forward. Don’t let pebbles in your way change the direction you’re going. Push forward.