Running, Veg/Vegan

PSA: Instagram is Not Real

How often do you see photos like this on Instagram? Big booty, tight waist, strong arms – but is it real? As someone that’s been hardcore into fitness for 5+ years, I couldn’t understand these images that  kept appearing on my feed – until I played around in front of the mirror and realized its just posing. Booty popped, an awkward twist in the waist, good lighting and a little bit of dehydration and BAM – insta-model approved.

I didn’t grow up in the age of Instagram, so I worry so much about the women and girls that see these images and believe they’re real life. I would never stand, sit, pose, squat or appear this way in person,  so while the photo is me, it is not TRUE TO LIFE. In simple terms, it’s not real.

Instagram can be a great place to showcase and normalize all kinds of bodies, which is why I personally choose to show photos of mine. But when you’re scrolling through your feed and come across an image that seems unachievable, keep these key points in mind:

1.      No two bodies are the same. Even if you eat, sleep, and train exactly like the girl in the picture, it is physically impossible for you to achieve the exact same results because of your (and her) unique size, shape, genes, body composition and metabolism.

2.      These images are often the result of perfect lighting, careful posing, angles, retouching, and even photoshop – not perfect people.

3.      Most of these people are professional models/bodybuilders/personal trainers, whose job is to be fit and look the part. You wouldn’t compare your ability to cook to that of a professional chef, right? So you can’t compare your body to someone who’s full time job is fitness.

4.      Most of these images are selling something. They are carefully curated to represent an ideal that’s unlikely (or impossible) to achieve in order to promote the protein powder/leggings/detox tea/personal training services being offered.

5.      Instagram is a highlight real. It does not, and cannot, depict real life.

6.      Everyone can physically, mentally, and emotionally benefit from exercise, regardless of their weight, size, shape, age, gender, ability, etc. Do not let the images on Instagram deter you from doing something great for you and your body, if that’s what you chose.

7.      Let me repeat it one more time: fitness is for and benefits EVERY BODY.

Okay, rant over.

 

Running, Uncategorized

Motivation Monday: Body Love

  
This week I read an incredible article on FitSugar about body confidence, size acceptance and straight up happiness. In the cacophony of cleanses, fad diets and spotty nutritional advice all over the internet, it’s easy to forget the first step in making any positive changes in life: self acceptance. Self Love. Crafting your own happiness from the mind first, and the body second.

Although frustration, anger, and self hatred can be great motivators, changes are more powerful when they come from a place of love, instead of fear. Positive intentions yield positive results, whether you believe in karma in the cosmic sense or not.

As a thicker female, I’ve felt the societal pressures of body image weigh me down for most of my adolescent and adult life. Loving yourself when you’re not textbook ‘perfect’ isn’t easy – and growing into my shape as a teenager was rough. It hurts to see my younger family members going through the same thing – figuring out where they fit on the body spectrum, how they should feel about it, and what they can do to stay healthy physically without compromising their mental and spiritual wellbeing.

As much faith as I have in this world, I’m a realist at heart – to me, accepting myself at whatever size/shape/fitness level I’m at makes logical sense. Why would I feel bad about myself, when I’m the only me I have? This is the only body God/the Universe have blessed me with. These genes, curves, legs, are mine and mine alone. They have carried me through foreign countries, across marathon finish lines, powered me through incredible hikes and kicked me on to killer waves.

The least I could do in return is to love and appreciate them, exactly as they are.

Lifting, Running, Thoughts

Thoughtful Thursday: Body Confidence

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A lifetime of soccer coupled with my genes has left me with a thick body. Thick arms, thick legs, big booty. I’ve worked hard to carve out a narrow waist and trim myself down to what I am now, but the thickness remains. It’s who I am, it’s what I look like, and it’s what God’s given me.

Despite all the pro-thick/booty-obsession movements lately, it’s sometimes hard to be happy with a bigger frame. I love running and yoga, but envy the stereotypical ‘runner’ and ‘yogi’ bodies I see all over social media. I wonder if, because I’m thicker, other people question my ability to run or practice.

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I’ve worked hard for my soccer body.

 

The hardest realization was that, no matter how hard I work or how clean I eat, I will never look a certain way. Part of this is my own insecurities; the other part is that disingenuous nature of the fitspo we see on social media. Its idiotic to compare myself to a personal trainer and competitive bodybuilder with a smaller frame & better gene pool to work with. After all, looking fit is their job. And they work hard and eat clean for months on end to achieve what can be easily captured in an Instagram post.

I may not have the body I want, but I will learn to love the body I have. I’m blessed to have a healthy body that allows me to hike, surf, swim, run and explore the beautiful island I call home. My thick legs might bother me at times, but they earned me a partial athletic scholarship to college and a lifetime of playing soccer. This body has taken me around the world, and will continue to take me on many adventures. For that, I am forever thankful.

 

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Lastly, I’m slowly learning that function and health are monumentally more important than looks. Instead of chasing perfection, I’m chasing progress. Rather than stress about my abs (or lack thereof) I’m proud to live a healthy, happy and fulfilling life. I can’t change my frame or bone structure, but I can take charge of my health.

Here’s a little body confidence motivation to get you through the weekend 🙂

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