health

In defence of healthies.

By NATALIA HAWK

Healthies are the latest thing pissing people off in the social media world.

In case you’re not familiar with the term “healthie”: think “selfie“, but with a uber-healthy twist. Pictures of smoothies, pictures of sunsets over beaches during early morning workouts, pictures of Nike frees on pavements and Lorna Jane fluro bras. Hashtags: #fitness #run #crossfit #goals #gym #bodypump #bodybalance #zumba #cleaneating #yoga #health #sweat #motivate #inspire #protein #superfoods #paleo #healthyeating #treadmill … want me to go on? I totally can, because I’ve seen enough of them.

You can’t stumble far into social media these days without seeing someone post a healthie. Instagram is the biggest culprit – a celebrity’s favourite place for posting evidence of their morning yoga routine, a friend’s preferred means of sharing the recipe for #paleobrownies – but Twitter and Facebook aren’t safe either.

And the haters are emerging. I’ve seen more and more people complaining about what they see to be narcissistic, self-obsessed, unnecessary photos. The Daily Mail wrote an article slamming various celebrities such as Miranda Kerr and Gisele Bündchen and their tendancy to take “oh-so-sickening” healthies:

Either taken by the celebrity themselves in a mirror or snapped by a willing friend, the main purpose of the ‘healthie’ seems to be to showcase the unfeasibly fine physique of the poster, or to let the world know what healthy food they are about to consume.

…However benevolent the motive, the healthie has the knock-on effect of making anyone not currently in a gym, hiking up a mountain or able to bust out a perfect Wheel asana feel slothenly.

To the Daily Mail – and all other haters – I’d like to say… haters gonna hate.

I like a healthie. And I’m not just saying that because I’m partial to an Instagram healthie myself. This is why:

1. They’re inspirational.

I admit some healthies are just Pete-Evans-activated-almond-gate-level ridiculous. As much as I’d like to, I’m never going to find myself doing yoga on a mountaintop, dressed in a tiny crop top and eating drinking a mix of noni juice/spirulina/acai berry/kiwi fruit. Mostly because noni juice is, like, $35 a litre.

But if you follow the right people – healthies are essentially just real people, doing real things to achieve their fitness goals. They’re Jenny from New York, who is experimenting with smoothie recipes in an attempt to get visible abs. Or they’re Bradley from the Gold Coast, who just really wants to be able to do 45 chin-ups in a row.

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You find yourself getting on board with their journeys and even wanting to start your own. Especially if you’re sitting on the couch eating Tim Tams at the time.

Yep, I posted this. Attempting to run 5km without stopping after a month’s worth of ski holidays…

2. They’re helpful.

I have an entire folder of photos that have been screenshotted on Instagram that include either workouts or recipes that I think I might like to try someday. It’s so easy to get bored with exercise when you’ve done the same workout every other day for the last year, but sometimes it’s hard to get organised enough to actually mix it up. Lots of fitness Instagrammers will post exact details of their workouts, dips and squats and all, as well as what they’re having for lunch. Seriously good for ideas and inspiration.

@tabletonic is great for salad recipes on Instagram. Her caption – “Those who know me well know that a sandwich for lunch just wouldn’t do! Just whipped up this quick #ttsalad cabbage, cherry tomato, avocado, edamame, shredded kaffir lime, soba noodles + a lovely Asian dressing involving miso paste, sesame oil, lime juice + sugar… #ttfood #salad Toasted sesame seeds and/or cashews would have been awesome in the mix too #nexttime “

3. They’re positive.

There’s so much negativity out there in the world, and with our use of social media, we’re more exposed to it than ever. But exercise and staying healthy makes people happy – and that’s reflected through healthies. They’re all about positivity – reflecting on what our bodies can do and what we’re capable of achieving. I love it when I see a picture of someone completing a marathon that they’ve been working towards, or enjoying a sunrise on a perfectly still winter’s morning at the beach. That’s what life is all about, isn’t it?

A typical healthie post.

4. If you become a Healthie-poster – it’s a really good way to hold yourself accountable.

So if you’re really keen to get fit, and you become a healthie-poster, and you play things the right way – you’ll start to get a bit of a following. A following that’s really keen to keep up on your progress and see you hitting those goals.

That following is going to be the first ones to notice if you start slacking off. They’re going to realise if you suddenly stop posting pictures of the insides of gyms, and start posting pictures of nothing but cats wearing funny headdresses that make them look like lions.

An Instagram user called @fitalicious_me has 102,000 followers. They’d probably notice if she started slacking off…

Are you a fan or a hater of the healthie?

The Athlete’s Foot want you to get out of the house and get involved in the 2013 running season. For the next fourteen weeks, you can Tweet or Instagram a picture/post/video of yourself pounding the pavement with the hashtag #IDIDIT for your chance to win a free fitting and pair of running shoes from The Athlete’s Foot. Oh, and don’t forget to tag @theathletesfootaustralia. Visit the website for more details. Happy running!

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