Many fitness personalities on Instagram present an image of perfection in their appearance, health regimen and level of discipline. But this Australian mom and fitness star wants to shatter the illusion.
Anna Strode of Melbourne, who runs the popular @bubs2bikinis account, posted side-by-side photos of herself during her current pregnancy. In one photo, she poses in fitness clothing with her hair down and a serene smile on her face, and in the other, she lounges on the couch with her hair in a messy bun as she eats an ice cream bar.
In the caption, she describes the photos as “Instagram Pregnant Life VS Real Pregnant Life.”
"I’m all about BALANCE!” Strode wrote. “Sure, you might look at my page and see images like the left and think this mama works out all the time and she must eat healthy all the time... Well I’m here to tell you NO that’s not how things go and I don’t believe anyone should live without a little bit of life’s indulgences!”
The mom added that she believes it’s just as important to show the candid reality as it is to show the moments when she’s working hard to reach her fitness goals.
“I’m a REAL mama, with REAL pregnancy cravings and REAL battles of accepting how my body changes throughout life’s journeys,” she wrote. “We’ve only got ONE life ― I encourage you to find a HAPPY, HEALTHY, SUSTAINABLE BALANCE.”
Strode’s post has received nearly 3,000 likes. She told The Huffington Post she felt inspired to post the side-by-side pictures after scrolling through Instagram and seeing a steady flow of perfect-looking images.
“Naturally I find myself comparing myself to those people that seem to have these perfect lives within those pretty squares,” she said. “When I first started my Instagram page it was always with the intention of sharing the ‘real’ me. I didn’t want other mothers looking at me and thinking ‘her life is perfect’ because my life isn’t perfect, and I’m certainly not perfect either!”
Strode is mom to 21-month-old identical twin boys named Lachie and Sammy, and she’s due to give birth to her baby girl on the first day of July.
Even though she’s committed to a healthy lifestyle, the fitness personality said she wanted other moms to see that she still kicks back and treats herself like all parents do when they get the chance. And though she believes people should strive to take care of themselves and their bodies, she noted that sometimes that involves “being kind to ourselves.”
Ultimately, Strode said she wants mothers to stop being so hard on themselves. “We live in a world where we are surrounded by the pressures of constantly comparing our lives to others on social media, but I want mothers to know that most of what we see as we scroll our feeds ― it’s not all real,” she told HuffPost.
“Those pretty little pictures that fill our feeds don’t show mamas dealing with children’s tantrums, picking up toys all day, fighting through the days on next to no sleep, crying in our hands when everything gets too much or eating the kids’ leftover dinners because you simply don’t have the energy to prepare a healthy meal for yourself,” she added.
At the end of the day, she hopes her followers can enjoy the pleasures of life without feeling like they’ve committed some sort of crime and beating themselves up over it.
Said Strode, “If you’ve taken care of yourself for most of the day and you feel like a Magnum bar, then have the damn Magnum!”