If you follow any fitness-inspired Instagram accounts, scrolling through your feed can be emotionally exhausting. On top of school, a part-time job and extracurriculars, how can a college student be expected to find time as much work out as much as these professionals?
At the beginning of 2017, I unfollowed all fitness/ work-out centered Instagram accounts and found the Body Positivity movement, also known as #BoPo. This change revamped my year and increased my confidence and self-esteem.
Whenever I scrolled through my feed with “fitness” accounts, I felt off-put by their condescending messages. It felt like I was being told how to live my life: “Only eat this; Never eat this; You need to work out for X hours a day, otherwise you should feel horrible.”
Overall, I found their negativity was forcing me to feel badly about what I was eating and how much I was exercising. Instead of inspiring me to live a healthy lifestyle, these “fitness gurus” inspired me only to look down at my body and lament about why I could never look like them.
It is also difficult to distinguish what is real from what is not. Social media and Instagram in particular are notorious for over-editing. Posts can be photoshopped, perfectly posed at the best angle, filtered and chosen out of dozens of snaps. I found these accounts to be inauthentic, with the goal of shaming others.
However, when I discovered the Body Positive movement, I felt like I was at home. The #BoPo movement includes people celebrating and loving their bodies for exactly what they are. #BoPo Instagram accounts encourage embracing and celebrating every curve, stretch mark, bit of cellulite and love handle. They appreciate bodies that are not seen in advertisements or runways.
Overall, the #BoPo movement prioritizes self-love, happiness, inner peace, positivity, kindness and high self-esteem no matter your weight. Sacrificing your mental health just to live up to society’s standards for what an “acceptable” body is not a healthy way to live life. So far, the Body Positive community has taught me many things, such as that it is okay to be bloated, it is okay to eat a pint of ice cream, it is ok to love yourself as you are and it is ok to be confident, even if society tells you that you should not be.
I encourage everyone to browse through some #BoPo accounts and posts. If you like what you see, follow some, so they can appear on your feed everyday and encourage you to be happy in your own skin. Some of my personal favorites are @bodyposipanda, @selfloveclubb, and @fallingintoselflove. Their posts inspire me to love me for me, be positive and radiate happiness.