I have an Instagram account….so do you. This article will surely NOT be aimed at discussing the pros and cons of IG, whether or not it should even exist, or how wonderful life would be like if we could go back to selecting the “Double Prints” option at the photo processing place and mailing the other half to our friends. If you didn’t understand the last part of that sentence, it’s ok...you didn’t miss much.
Here we are in 2018 and Instagram is a part of our lives, whether or not we have the right headspace for it. It might be a “fine”, even innocuous, presence in your life until you end up going through something rough. Then, it can be a thorn. Everytime you scroll, you might find yourself getting nicked by photo after photo of something that makes you sad, angry, hurt, guilty, confused.
The funny thing is that we seldom realize that we are the ones who chose to bring these people into our feed and we can just as easily cut them out.
I am guilty of this. Who I followed when I first opened my IG account sort of made sense for the mindset I was in at the time...or at least I thought it did. Then, when I was going through the process of recovery from hypothalamic amenorrhea and Overtraining Syndrome, I would see certain people doing certain things and something about it was...like, bothersome. But I kept looking and looking until one day it dawned on me: unfollow these people, dammit.
Now, your IG feed is not my IG feed, but these are the first 6 people I unfollowed when I came to my senses.
The Mileage Shamer
She’s the one with the smiling, flushed face, torso cranked over ever so slightly so that we can see a bit of abdominal muscle. There’s either a collection of numbers prominently displayed somewhere on the pic; distance, time, pace or sometimes she just posts a close-up of her Garmin so we can see it for ourselves. The message is “I just ran this. How awesome am I?”. She gets bonus points if she mentions something in the caption about really not wanting to do this run today, but she just dug deep and hit it hard and goshgolly, ended up with a PR anyway. Congratulations, you are awesome.
The Cheat Day Obsessor
He is a bodybuilder that you know from the gym and a total sweetheart. At first, his gym selfies and shots of his kitchen counter filled with plastic tubs of powders are boring enough. There’s plenty of pics of #mealprep with the standard chicken, rice, broccoli. Of course, macros get a mention, nbd. Then, you start to notice something weird about the posts heading into the weekend. There are photos of ridiculously indulgent foods, dripping and oozing all over the place. They are accompanied by captions filled with what can only be described as yearning; “Dat cheeeeze doe’” and “Omg can’t wait for Saturday when I eat alllll the Nutella”, #foodporn #dumbellsndonuts #cheatday #refeed. Yikes, dude, balance much?
The Outdoor Bunnie
She’s on a mountain, cliff, or canyon. She’s running down a trail in the Dolomites, Chamonix, or Tahoe. She’s somehow wrangled the world’s best friend to take the most incredible shots of her looking incredible in the most incredible places. She is always wearing booty shorts. She looks like a goddess in a trucker cap. Crew-length socks do not make her legs look stumpy. Her freckles say “sun-kissed”, not “pre-cancer”. She writes captions about drinking beer after runs and how little she’s showered this month. She probably burps sparkles and smells like a field of daisies. I am painfully jealous.
The Newbie Runner
Imma make this one short: watching someone go through the process of falling in love with something that you are trying to break up with is not fun. The end.
The “Recovery Warrior”
Sigh. This one hurts me. She has a sizeable following that is, in general, terribly vulnerable. She has the opportunity to help so many, yet she posts pic after pic of her own thighgap and actually offers weight loss tips. She says she’s recovered from an eating disorder, but still talks about “eating clean”. All criticism in the comments is met with “Just love yourself, babe!”. I can’t take this level of hypocrisy.
He says that he is an amenorrhea expert. I will let you do the math on this one. Just. No.
I hope this gives your courage to do the same and unfollow if it suits you. I don’t mean to judge any of these people, by the way. I’m just giving you the commentary that was in my head at the time. Hey...it’s me, not you.
It’s true that the process of unfollowing is a little bit like cutting your hair. At first, you might be a little bit nervous, but then as you chop, it gets more and more satisfying. I suggest you take a good look at your feed and give it a little snip-snip…