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The Insta-Body Trap

In this recent time of social distancing, self isolation and work from home most of us a spending more time than ever scrolling through Instagram.

I have found recently this excess scrolling has sometimes left me with a case of the insta-sads feeling a little bit blah and a whole lot body conscious. Why does everyone in my feed have tiny waists, rocking abs, matching active wear set and perfectly blow waved hair? How can everyone all have abs and eat green things all the time? Does no-one eat bread? Do I need to get those new sneakers? What is going on here – when did this become the information that I consumed all day?

As a Pilates instructor I had started to follow a lot of Pilates, fitness and wellness accounts and I was inundated with images of perfect bodies performing super difficult exercises in on trend active wear. Was this the message I wanted to receive? In reality Pilates is the perfect exercise for everybody, at any age or fitness level and in any brand or style of activewear. It seemed that for a large part of the Instagram community this wasn’t the case. There was limited diversity in my feed in terms of age or shape.


Shortly after I realised my flawed instagram two podcasts I listened to really bought it home what I was thinking.

Firstly I listed to an Oprah Super Soul Sunday Podcast between Oprah and Michelle Obama (my big time girl crush) and heard Michelle make some things that struck me to my core. She said something so poignant about realising our bodies are meant to change and they highly unrealistic and unhealthy expectation about expecting our bodies to stay the same our whole lives. we don’t expect a 10 year old to have the same body as a 20 year old so why do we in our 30s and 40s pressure ourselves to have the body of a 20 year old. Here are some of the best points I took from the podcast:

Talking about her daughters she said of them starting to judge their bodies: “when they talk about, 'I can’t fit in my jeans that I had last year.' I said, 'But you’re a whole other year older. You’re now becoming a woman. You don’t have a child’s body.'".

"I try hard not to judge it [my body],” she said. “It’s different. You have to get to know your body, because what this body is at 56—I can’t do the things I did when I was 36. It’s not the same body.”

“We are living things. We’re not machines. You know, we run out of gas. We need fuel. We need sunshine and light. We need to take care of ourselves

Secondly, I listened to a Mamamia Outloud podcast where Mia Freedman mentioned that she had started feeling sad about her eyelashes not being full and long enough and how she realised she that she was feeling this way because her insta-feed had been filled with influencers sporting lash extensions and how just seeing this constant representation of full lashed ladies made her feel that her lashes – which she had never had a problem with prior were less than. It just really bought home the fact that seeing a constant portrayal of a certain beauty and or body standard can condition you t subconsiously think it is the norm even though you know on an intellectual level there is nothing wrong with how you look, you know all bodies are beautiful, you believe everyone has the right to do what they want somehow it just sneaks into your psyche.

After these two podcasts I realised I needed to curate my feed, it was time for an insta overhaul. I was under no obligation to follow any person or brand that made me feel less than. It was my insta my choice. I realised I had fallen into the trap of following someone at a certain point in time or for a competition and never checking in to see if their messaging was still relevant to me. I knew it was time to take some steps to make it work for me.

FOLLOW:

some general body positive accounts and diversify the bodies I was seeing.

In Pilates I followed accounts that inspired me in terms of delivering challenging exercises, studio and business inspiration and not focusing on body shape or size.

@body_smart

@korinnolanpilates

@pilatesonpoint

@pilatesatanysize

@thatpilatespassion

@sizediversepilates

Stepping outside Pilates I focused on people who inspired me with body positivity without the preach but with a side of gorgeous style. I also focused on people I admired and made me laugh.

@amysheppardpie

@lisa_desanctis

@miafreedman

@emrusciano

I followed active wear accounts that showed body diversity @aimn.oceania

@tullylou

@nikewomen

While in lockdown and unable to go into the reformer studio I also tried some online Fitness apps which came with some damn supportive Instagram communities including

@keepitcleaner

@sweat

I still followed brands that I adore and make clothes that suit my style and my body. Clothes bring me ultimate joy.

Ultimately I changed the narrative of what I saw on Instagram –it was MY INSTA MY CHOICE>



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