“Reverse” Progress is a Trend to Avoid

Hello and welcome to the Living Revolution 🙂

Today is going to be a bit of a rant, and I want to stir things up a bit!! I want to be clear though, that I intend no ill will to any individual, but rather my anger is directed at an entire “movement” that made a recent appearance in popular media. I hope this post does ruffle some feathers, and I do hope this post inspires some intelligent debate, but I am not interested in spreading hate or negativity, so if you choose to respond to what I write here, come correct and let’s start a conversation! Okay, here we go…

You may have recently seen the flurry of pics flying around the interwebs depicting “reverse” progress fitness transformations. If you aren’t familiar, check out examples HERE, HERE, and HERE. What we have are comparisons of a fit-looking person, and a now(again) average looking person. Various pop-culture media sites are heralding this new trend as a means of counteracting negative body image issues resulting from how mass media portrays “ideal” body types. I am concerned with this movement because it praises the return to normal for these people. It celebrates the status quo, and reminds all the sheep that even if you leave the flock and doing something great, you will still be welcomed back when you let yourself slip back toward average. To be clear, I strongly support self-confidence and body acceptance, and I am well aware of the stereotypes put forth in the media, showing what THEY think WE should look like. However, it is these ideas and “trends” that make me burn on the inside. Beyond what a body looks like, why is there no concern with how a body functions, and what a body can do, and beyond that even, the mentality and character of the mind operating a body???

But I digress…let me begin by addressing what I see as one problem in this situation. A person’s sense of self, and by default, a person’s body image are composites of various influences and experience. All sorts of things can contribute to a negative or positive body image. How we are treated by our parents, how we view our own abilities, and what our friends tell us all play a part in how we develop a healthy sense of self. One thing that should contribute very little to your sense of self is what you are told by some floating head on T.V. or by some photoshopped model on the back of a magazine. One argument of this movement is how we are all constantly “bombarded” by media images of ideal body types. Well, there is one simple solution: stop looking at all that trash. Seriously. Take some personal responsibility and filter what you put in front of your face. If you don’t like being told you are fat, stop reading women’s magazines. If you don’t like being told you aren’t pretty enough or tan enough or fit enough, maybe turn of the crappy T.V. show you are watching and go for a run and see if that doesn’t make you feel better. Gaaaaadamn! Here is an idea; if you don’t like something, change. Change because you want it, and you know you want it, not because someone told you to. But how you ask? I have a suggestion…

Let’s start here: it is imperative that we develop the ability to think critically, to chose our influences wisely, and to look at the world around us objectively. It is imperative that we teach our children how to do their own research, how to reference multiple resources, how to think for themselves.This skill set is what makes people like you and I DIFFERENT from a vast majority of people alive today. Our desire, our purpose, our struggle is for forward progress. We seek out experiences and influences that contribute to our constant and continued evolution. Our struggle is to free our collective mind from the overbearing pressure of outside influences that do not have our best interest in mind. We seek to step outside the bounds of average, and pursue adventures most people can’t even imagine. This struggle to achieve something great is a daily pursuit for many of us, and our existence is a constant effort to overcome apathy with action!! Which brings me to my next point…

A second problem I see with this movement is the praise of the “lowest common denominator”. The idea here is that we want to teach people how to accept themselves as they are, but what kind of a message are we sending when we celebrate the pursuit of mediocrity? Just think about the phrase they are using to describe what is happening: reverse progress. It is a contradiction in terms if ever there was one! My question and my concern are this; what about this is inspiring? What about this gives people the confidence to “be who they are”? What about this inspires action, what about this inspires motivation, what about this inspires change? What are we celebrating beyond the fact these people who once worked tirelessly to achieve their goals have returned to normalcy and average? Gaaaaaaadamn! What is so wrong about holding yourself to a higher standard and making sacrifices for what you want?

It is true that greatness is reserved for the select few who choose to commit themselves wholeheartedly. However, in today’s society, where the bar is already set so low, how much effort does it really take to do something or be someone who is greater than average? In this New Year, many of us have taken the first steps toward achieving something meaningful, whether that is losing weight, quitting smoking,or counting calories. I encourage you all to continue to be disciplined as you pursue your chosen process, and stick with it! Yes, it is okay to want “six-pack abs” and it is okay to give up some other things to achieve this goal. Yes, it is okay to live a healthy lifestyle because it makes you look good, but also because it makes you feel better about yourself, and it contributes to overall sense of well-being. Don’t be fooled by this blip on the pop-culture screen; there is no such thing as “reverse” progress. Every time you commit to being better than you were yesterday, you are absolutely taking a small step forward and finding success and happiness in the process, and that is what will eventually produce the results you desire. Keep it up!

Alright, rant concluded. I am going to include some links at the bottom of this post to give you a few more options for educating yourself on positive body image. If you have current or past body image issues, and would like to contribute to this discussion, I look forward to hearing from you! As always, thank you so much for reading my words, and for participating in the Living Revolution! Until next time… Peace.Tobias.

Cultivating a Healthy Body Image in Kids

Media, Body Image and Eating Disorders

Male Body Positivity


One thought on ““Reverse” Progress is a Trend to Avoid

  1. Pingback: The Devolution of Man: “The Dad Bod” | Living Revolution

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