Instagram is bursting at the seams with health & fitness bloggers, influencers & models. They fill our feed with toned abs, glowing skin, white teeth & impossible feats of fitness they make look like a stroll in the park. It can be super inspiring but it can also be incredibly deflating, demotivating & downright depressing. I mean, how are we ever supposed to compare to these gorgeous Gods & Godesses.
The answer? We're not. We're all savvy enough to know by now that these accounts are curated and each image is posed, perfected & then often photoshopped or face-tuned within an inch of it's life.
If you want a breath of fresh air injected into your feed. Check out these 10 amazing chicks that are keeping it real & flying the flag of Body Positivity for females everywhere.
Any Body Co
This dynamic duo consists of Western Australian models & best friends Georgia Gibbs and Kate Wasley. They created AnyBODY Co to inspire women to quit the comparisons and love themselves after an image of them together went viral because of the overwhelming amount of body shamers that commented. “We want to change society’s beauty standards that smaller is better, when in reality neither is better than the other. We think your health and wellbeing should be the priority.”
Mama Cax is a lifestyle and beauty blogger with an amazing story. She was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 14 and was given only 3 weeks to live. Luckily, she survived, but this horrific disease left a mark – Mama Cax had her right leg amputated. “I recognize how lucky I am and that many can’t afford medical treatments and people with disabilities as a whole face unparalleled discrimination. In many parts of the world, they are politically and socially excluded. I feel like I’m in a position to make a difference and one day be an advocate for people with disabilities.”
Harnaam, from Slough, Berkshire, has polycystic ovary syndrome which causes the body to produce more male hormones, which can trigger the growth of excess body hair. At 16, after feeling sucidal all year, & having tolerated years of bullying and self hate, she decided to turn her life around. 'As I sat there, I started to counsel myself. I told myself: 'The energy you are putting into ending your life, put all that energy into turning your life around and doing something better'.'
She converted to Sikhism, which does not allow the cutting of hair, meaning she had to embrace her facial hair. In March 2016, she also became the first woman with a beard to walk the runway at London Fashion Week by opening the show for Marianna Harutunian. Harnaam also gives motivational talks and is a body confidence campaigner and is signed to Wanted Models in Paris.
We love Sophie Gray for all things inner peace & self acceptance (plus a healthy dose of real language). Meditation & Journalling guru, blogger & lifestyle coach Sophie Gray encourages us all to 'accept the shit out of yourself.' She believes that starting a conversation with yourself is the key to self acceptance. She's also created a mediatation app called DiveThru.
Chessie King is a London based presenter, model, body confidence advocate & travel blogger. Even though she's kinda beautiful and seems like the sort of blogger we might want to stay away from, her feed is filled with funny, real, sometime self deprecating posts that expose some of the tips & tricks other bloggers use to make their insta pics 'insta-perfect.' For that, we love her.
The #ProjectWomanKIND web series all about exposing the honest, real and raw conversations that women have with themselves and their girlfriends about their bodies every single day. It is about challenging ideals, inspiring healthy attitudes and smashing down society's narrow definitions of what it means to be truly beautiful.
If you haven't found Jessamyn Stanley yet, drop everything you're doing and follow her NOW! Done? Ok, good. This incredible Body Positive advocate is using yoga to smash through the perceptions of what a fit, strong body should look like. Her incredible feed is filled with beautiful, bendy pics & poses and shows us that every body is sacred and beautiful. She also has a YouTube channel where you can bring a little inner peace into your life & learn from this badass body-posi babe herself.
The Sudanese model is challenging the typical constructs for what beauty is in the fashion insdustry. Her feed went viral after she posted about an interaction with an Uber driver who asked her whether she'd bleach her skin for $10K (puh-lease!!!) Nyakim has been nicknamed the “Queen of the Dark” by her fans and has proven her royalty in her fierce photos and motivational captions. Nyakim has become a woman that little girls look up to when, they too, are in search of self-love.
“When I put a picture up I'm telling people that no matter what you say, I love who I am. I love my skin tone. I’m telling people that I am beautiful even though I look different than the majority of people in this world I live in.”
Another incredible amputee that will let nothing stand in her way. At age 9, bone cancer meant her leg needed to be amputated. From that point onwards Jess struggled with her body image as the prosthetic leg meant one thigh was always much thinner than the other. 'Through my teenage years I really struggled with this, the rest of my body was filling out and getting shape yet I was forever stuck with this skinny leg.'
Fast forward and Jess is now confident enough to share her vulnerabilities and insecurities through her Instagram and also her blog: Plan Be. 'I am the first person to say - be confident, be yourself and don't let your insecurities hold you back so I was reluctant to share this,' she admitted. 'But I figured, if by me sharing the real me with all of you then maybe, just maybe, you might feel the confidence to be the real you.'
*sigh* One day we won't refer to curvy models as 'plus size' they'll just be models. Ashley Graham is one model that is at least blurring the lines a little. Probably most famous for being the first 'plus size' (gah there's that word again!) model to get a cover shoot in Sports Illustrated. She also gained much support after calling out Victorias Secret for not having any 'plus-size' models in their famous runway show.
Amongst just a few of her achievements; Ashley has released a 'plus-size' swimwear line Swimsuits for All and written a book 'A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like.' Mattel has also approached Ashely to create the first curvy Barbie Doll in her likeness which she agreed to as long as the doll didn't have a thigh-gap (virtual fist bumps for that one!).
"I'm having a moment, but I've been having a moment a little while right now, and I'm so thankful for it,"
"Not only are you seeing women who have my body shape, who are bigger, who are smaller, whatever; you see the industry changing right before your eyes. You can have an 'it' moment, but you have to know how to continue to move this movement into something that's bigger than yourself."
This article was written by Kate Hickey, Personal Trainer & Teen Fitness Specialist for Empower360 Fitness. If you'd like more information on healthy body image, living a healthier lifestyle or are interested in a customised fitness program for adults or teens. Get in touch; firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0403964075