Don’t get me wrong – of course I want to be healthy and to look and feel good about my body. But I’ve realised that’s not always best measured by a number on a scale or clothing label.
But there’s one thing that’s made upholding that message particular hard: social media.
Last month, a study by a group of Sydney psychologists found women are far more likely to compare themselves to what they see on social media than on adverts or TV.
And because it’s generally the ‘most attractive’ photos shared on social media (which in turn are often edited or enhanced), most women in the survey reported they thought others looked better than they did on social media, leaving them feeling “unhappier with their appearance and more motivated to start unhealthy weight-loss activities, like going on a diet, than when they made comparisons in person.”
It’s a feeling that will strike close to home for many.
So what to do? Determined not to fall back into that trap, in the last few weeks I’ve made a small but significant change in the way I use social media, in particular Instagram.
Any time I see an account that makes me feel bad or unhappy about my body, I simply click the unfollow button and seek in its place an account that does make me feel good about myself.
I’ve replaced several of the usual ‘fitspo’ accounts with these and already I can notice a difference in the way I look and feel about my body.
With more than 350 thousand followers, Megan Jayne Crabbe — a.k.a. bodyposipanda — describes herself as a “body positive feminist ED warrior”.
She takes ‘before and after’ pictures with a difference (see her post-Christmas lunch picture that went viral), feel-good quotes and body love selfies.
The Melbourne-based artist and feminist has more than 87000 followers who love her for her body positive illustrations with a difference.
The ‘Self Love Club’ tattoo she designed for herself to encourage self acceptance even spawned its own movement.
23-year-old Kelly Jobin is on a mission to “Make self love the new sexy”.
Milly Smith is a self-described “Depression, BDD, Endo and EDD warrior and positivity spreader”.
Her account is the perfect antidote to all those “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” meme accounts.