how unfollowing a lot of women on social media helped me gain body confidence

remember in the "olden days" when we used to rip out pages from magazines like "ym" and "Tiger Beat" of Justin Timberlake and the Hanson brothers and tape them to your walls?

I'm not sure if the young kids are doing that these days, but what I can tell you is that I still do that, just in a hey-it's-2016 kind of way, and I'm no longer putting pictures of hot men on my walls. 

INSTEAD, I do two things: 

  1. I have a secret Pinterest board where I Pin images of healthy women doing healthy things, like exercising or eating something nourishing, like a green juice or some fruit.
  2. I follow these healthy women on social media (mainly Instagram and Twitter.)

in a world where overly underweight women still continue to populate the magazines and our feeds, it can be discouraging when you're on your own personal health journey to see thigh gaps 24/7 when a) they may be photoshopping that thigh gap, b) thigh gaps are kinda dependent on the way your bones are angled and c) these women are starving themselves for the sake of having that space between their thighs.

my personal pet peeve? thigh-gap baring women eating things like pizza. have you seen "@girlswithgluten" or "@youdidnoteatthat"? oh.. and, don't even get me started about those promoting to "eat less" and glamourizing being skinny (do you remember the Urban Outfitters controversy?)

it breaks my heart that young teenage girls (and it's starting even earlier I hear!) are emulating these types of women and striving to look like them. imagine a slightly overweight young girl, trying to lose some weight to reach a healthier BMI. she's down 5 pounds and feeling great. then, she loads up Instagram and sees a photo like this.

imagine the devastation. imagine how unhappy and unworthy, in that moment, that girl feels. "I'll never look like this!" or "ugh, I'm so fat and disgusting!" and she feels all this right after feeling good about herself.

listen. there was a point in time when I used to binge eat while scrolling through Instagram. I wanted to have a thigh gap, I wanted to be SKINNY. and it was all just such negative, harmful vibes to my psyche.

so what did I do about it? UNFOLLOWED and then FOLLOWED.

first, I unfollowed all of those Instagrams that were promoting unhealthy behavior (ie waifs posing with macaroons).

second, I followed women or general accounts who inspired me to be healthy and have confidence in my individual self - and care about things beyond what I put in my mouth every day (care about the world, your friends, your relationships, etc.) most importantly, I followed people that were trying to instill these values in others and fighting against the trendiness of a low number on the scale.

since that, I've never had better body image confidence in my entire life since then. seriously. IT'S LIBERATING. and through everything I do with Inspiralized, I hope to encourage other women (old, young, and in between) to embrace their bodies. 

who are my healthy body image icons? let's go through them and my favorite quotes of theirs but FIRST let me say this: I do not follow these people for "fitspiration" - I follow them because I love their perspectives on being healthy. there's a difference. it's cool if you follow people because you want to have bodies like them, but let me tell you from personal experience that that is a very very slippery slope, because again, our bodies and genetics are so uniquely different, it's impossible to replicate someone else's exact body, muscle tone, etc etc: 

demi lovato

selena gomez

kate winslet

I LOVE how she approaches this topic with her daughter, Mia: 

'As a child, I never heard one woman say to me, "I love my body". Not my mother, my elder sister, my best friend. No one woman has ever said, "I am so proud of my body." So I make sure to say it to Mia [her daughter], because a positive physical outlook has to start at an early age.'

julia roberts

I don't necessarily follow her actively, but she's awesome and I LOVE this quote from her:

"Haven’t you ever picked up a picture of yourself from, like, five years ago, and you look at yourself and you just go, ‘And I had no appreciation for how lovely I looked, how fit and healthy I looked.’ So now I say, ‘Now listen. Ten years from now, you’re really going to think you should have appreciated yourself more.’”

others I love: 

  • jennifer lawrence
  • amy schumer
  • kristen bell
  • drew barrymore

on a separate note, you should also follow Inspiralized's Brand & Community Manager, Meaghan - she's been working for me for a little over a year and she's wonderful and has a body positive tumblr called "Well Miss" that inspires me everyday:

who are your healthy body image icons?