The Year of “Positive Body Image”

(I originally posted this at the beginning of 2017 but feel it’s still relevant in 2018)

This past fall, I decided to try Kayla Itsine’s ‘Bikini Body Guide’ – I’d heard really great things about it, had a friend that tried it with a lot of success, and after spending roughly 10 hours looking at ‘#BBGTransformation’ Instagram posts, I was sold. I quickly paid and downloaded the two guides, accompanied by the meal guide, saved them to my iPhone and was ready to go.

And go I did. I’ve never been more dedicated to a workout program before. I religiously went to the gym on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and didn’t miss a workout in the first eleven (of twelve) weeks. I felt like I never cheated the workouts (they’re 4 x 7-minute interval circuits) and always kept going until my timer went off. But, alas, I didn’t see the same amazing, life-changing transformations that Kayla bragged about on her social media pages. Sigh. Isn’t that how it always is? It doesn’t work for a majority of the people that actually try it. I mean, my friend saw results but was even more religious than me I think and it wasn’t the first time she’d done #BBG. Looking back, I’m sure I could have tried a bit more with my reps, or squeezed a little harder, gone a little faster, or done something better. I’m also confident that it had some results and if I continue with the program in the new year (which I plan to), I will eventually see results. Not everyone can be shredded in 12 weeks (but damn those who can).

This post isn’t about my experience with #BBG though. During my 12 week obsession with all things #BBG, I also started following a lot of ‘fitness gurus’ on Instagram (I blame a few likes on Kayla’s posts + my searches for #BBGTransformations + Instagram’s algorithms) and eventually my feed was filled with shredded, toned (and tanned) women who had #BodyGoals. I’m confident that every woman has struggled with body image issues at some point in their life (and with that being said, men, too). We either feel we’re too thin, too fat, not toned, our love handles aren’t so lovely, that damn cellulite just won’t go away, etc. etc. etc. And whatever my reasons were, I turned to #BBG to help me feel better about them. I was a little disappointed when I didn’t get my results but my loving boyfriend reminded me I was beautiful, regardless (#HesTheBest). Annnnyways, I digress. Back to my Instagram feed, filled with #FitnessGoals / #BodyGoals. It seemed motivating when I was going to the gym but disappointing once I stopped. I’d never be these women who had the time to workout (what seemed like) all day and would never be #BodyGoals. So, I slowly started unfollowing them. But I kept following Kayla Itsines, queen of #BBG.

Until today, when she posted this photo:

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It’s ironic to me that the image of ‘Body Confidence’ is a toned, beautiful woman without an ounce of imperfection. So, this is my long, drawn out way of saying that I unfollowed Kayla Itsines because I don’t agree with how Kayla supports a positive body image. She probably wouldn’t be as successful if she was always posting otherwise – but whatever. It would have been much more impactful to show a woman who isn’t perfect. Yes, 2017 should be the year of #BodyConfidence – 100% – but that includes being confident in your body how it is and knowing you’re perfect and beautiful just the way you are. Don’t let Kayla, #BBGTransformations or Instagram tell you what’s beautiful or what’s confidence. Be confident in your body and love yourself. Make changes for the right reasons, not to flaunt your body across social media.

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