The (sometimes) insidious influence of the internet on your psyche

I see a lot of blogs where people are being really hard on themselves when it comes to motivation. Whilst a little bit of grit is a good thing, and a solid work ethic will take you a long way, sometimes we need to take a step back and re-evaluate.

If your goal is weight loss, please, please make sure you treat headlines such as “How I lost eight pounds in eight days” with suspicion. I’m not saying that crazy weight loss feats can’t be done, but there’s an awful lot of disingenuous click-bait out there. These kinds of articles are very slick and designed to maximise traffic at all costs. Genuinely helpful content is probably way down their list of intentions. This is one of the reasons I like WordPress: not everyone on here is an expert (I’m certainly not) but a lot of bloggers are earnestly trying to navigate the minefield of information and misinformation out there in order to present their readers with some kind of sensible advice.

Joe Rogan claims on his podcast that a lot of “before and after” pictures that accompany these kind of weight loss articles are actually reversed: ie. they pay someone who is in really good shape to gain weight and then the after picture is actually the before picture

Whether this is true or not, thirty three years of experience of people tells me that it very well could be true. The world, and the portion of the world that has made it online, does not always have your best interests at heart.

So coming back to my original thought, some of the articles selling crazy transformation routines may be having a negative impact by making you think that you’re some kind of loser if you don’t follow a training plan to the letter, even if that training plan would intimidate even a semi-professional athlete.

And this is the kind of thing I have seen a lot of recently – people getting depressed because they missed one work-out, one morning run.

If this is you, I admire your determination, but please consider showing yourself a little kindness. If you have an inner voice that is always critical, maybe allow yourself a break, just this once.

Healthy weight loss takes time. It’s a slow and steady process, but also a rewarding one. Also, by developing good habits over time, rather than following some crazy crash course, the weight loss will probably be more sustainable.

On top of that, weight is not the only metric of good health. Reducing stress is a very important part of overall health, as is getting enough sleep.

Sometimes oversleeping and missing that early morning run is your body’s way of telling you that you’re overdoing it and you need more rest.

Once you start getting into it, exercise should bring you joy and become one of your de-stressors, not be one more obligation in a list of obligations laid on you by your job, your friends, your family, your life in general.


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I love running, but don't always train in the way that I should. I started my blog in between my first successful completion of a marathon (although I wrote the first post a few days prior to that) and my first ultra marathon, which was the first half of the 100k "Race to the Stones". Maybe part of my reason was to publicly call myself out on my own stated goals. I chose the name "half arsed runner" because I wanted to show that my motivation levels are far from perfect, and that it's OK to be human.

2 thoughts on “The (sometimes) insidious influence of the internet on your psyche”

  1. Well said! It took me a year to lose the last of the weight, but I’ve now managed to keep it off for a year too. I love my exercise time because it’s me time, but I also didn’t hesitate to cancel my run this morning to babysit my friend’s kid and go to a garage sale. I know I’ll be active sometime today:)

    Liked by 1 person

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