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Can #Fitspiration Actually Become Unhealthy?

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It’s no secret that here at Shape, we love #fitspiration: Living up to quotes like “better sore than sorry” is what keep us from skipping our p.m. workouts. But we’ll also be the first to admit that there’s a huge difference between healthy inspiration and unhealthy ideals.

A team from Flinders University in Australia is studying this idea—the theory that some of the more sexualized, appearance-based inspiration images can do more harm than good.

"Some fitspos can be really encouraging, for example 'healthy is the new skinny,'” lead researcher and behavioral psychologist Ivanka Prichard, Ph.D., has said. But her team is looking more at the overtly sexualized fitspiration, along with its unhealthy sister thinspo.

Some fitspo messages feature women with bodies that the vast majority of women will never be able to obtain or maintain, making them feel bad when they don't match up to these ideals, Prichard says. And while we’re all about the quotes to push you through that last mile, we also agree with Prichard’s team that women need to be looking at the right kind of images.

Luckily, we have all the healthy fitspiration you could want: For constant motivation, try one of these 7 Must-Follow Fitness Boards on Pinterest. And if you just need one little saying to finish a few more reps, 18 Inspirational Fitness Quotes to Motivate Every Aspect of Your Workout will do the trick. Our favorite inspiration of all, though? You, our readers: The Most Inspiring Weight Loss Success Stories of 2014.


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