Are Unrealistic Fitness Goals Body Shaming in Disguise?

Research has continuously proven that healthy bodies can exist in all sizes.

Deepshikha Chakravarti
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Understanding the cost of unrealistic fitness goals: Body shaming is all-pervasive, it is like if you have a body you will be scrutinised for it. All women have faced overt body shaming at some point of time in their lives. However, there are situations when body-shaming is veiled as a compliment, given that we live in a society that has very narrow beauty standards and being fit often means fat-less in that world. So here is why unrealistic fitness goals need to be called out.

Fat is often viewed as negative. The notion is so firmly stuck in our heads that any mention or consumption of fried or sugary food comes with a dollop of guilt that sits like a rock on your chest. We have forgotten the joy of eating food without any guilt or a calorie ticker constantly running in our heads. And while we all have to endure these rigid standards athletes, celebs, influencers- who are expected to be walking representations of these standards, only have it worse.

A recent report by NYT points out how at the University of Oregon which is known for its track and field program six athletes left citing fears that the "system’s strategy to their weight and physique fats percentages put them in danger for consuming problems." One of the athletes told the media that she was advised to fulfil particular physique fats proportion necessities or would not be able to compete. The fat levels are gathered via DEXA scans and a low physique fats proportion raise efficiency. Another athlete spoke about how eating a cookie would bother her about subsequent unhealthy DEXA scan. Even though the method is scientific and only derived from numbers, these women felt it puts an unrelenting strain on them.

According to medical practitioners, low-fat percentages in girls may lead to amenorrhea, irregular or absent periods, which may affect bone density and fertility.

We all have days when we have eaten more and feel too full, but using "fat" as a negative term leads to the notion that having "fat " in one's body is bad. Research has continuously proven that healthy bodies can exist in all sizes.

It is amazing how heavy people are constantly told how they should "work out". But people of all body types can work out and there are other reasons than just being "lazy" which stop people from working out.

Similarly, shaming someone for being thin and asking them to eat more is equally wrong. People can be skinny for various reasons including genetic make-up.


While setting up fitness goals is important as they make us accountable and push us to do more it is important to remember that your body size is not the only thing that should define you. It is okay to feel envious looking at a super fit model in a magazine but to believe that you can achieve it overnight is being on a road to self-harm.

Set the bar low at least at the onset. Work on your mental obstacles to be at a place where you are ready to play the long game. Goals have to be sustainable only then can they be long-lasting.

The views expressed are the author's own.

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body shaming Unrealistic Fitness Goals