Fitness blogger Anna Victoria has built a business on being in shape. But she’ll be the first to point out that her body is far from what it appears to be on Instagram.
Victoria recently shared a side-by-side shot of herself in the same bikini on the social media site. In the first photo, she’s standing and posing in front of the mirror. In the second, she shows her (very normal) stomach rolls.
“Me 1% of the time vs. 99% of the time,” Victoria captioned the photo. “And I love both photos equally. Good or bad angles don’t change your worth.”
Victoria’s post is the latest to shut down the notion that perfect bodies on Instagram somehow represent real life. Fitness blogger Sara Puhto has also opened up about how the chiseled model bodies we see on the platform are often more about angles and good lighting than actual fitness.
It's a much-needed message of body positivity, given that social media has a tendency to exacerbate mental health issues like eating disorders. Experts say "fitspo" images can be harmful triggers that may encourage unhealthy lifestyles in reality. Approximately 20 million women and 10 million men will deal with an eating disorder at some in their lives, according to the National Eating Disorder Association.
Victoria urged her 1.2 million Instagram followers to rethink the way they approach their body’s so-called “flaws.”
“As I’m getting older, I have cellulite and stretch marks that aren’t going away, and I welcome them,” Victoria continued. “How can I be mad at my body for perfectly normal ‘flaws?’ This body is strong, can run miles, can lift and squat and push and pull weight around, and it’s happy not just because of how it looks, but because of how it feels.”
Amen to that.
If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.