With seemingly ‘perfect’ social media posts hammering on your self-worth each and every day, it’s easy to get lost in the noise and believe that you might not look as good as you do. Correct posing, professional lighting, getting implants, having the entire day to exercise before photos, taking countless pictures until you get the right one, and photo-editing can turn anyone into an Instagram model or a fitness blogging star. However, it’s an inaccurate representation of reality and it can lead to a lot of pressure for women (especially young girls) to try and copy nigh-unachievable looks.
There is a spark of hope for some normalcy and common sense, however. Women continue to join the #NormalizeNormalBodies movement on Instagram and on TikTok that does exactly what it says on the tin: it celebrates normal bodies that nonetheless don’t get enough representation online. Have a look at what the trend, started by Mik Zazon, means below and, as you scroll down, upvote the photos that inspired you the most, dear Pandas.
We wanted to go in-depth about unrealistic body standards and how this affects mental health, so we reached out to the UK Addiction Treatment Group. Nuno Albuquerque, the Head of Treatment for the UKAT Group told Bored Panda that, unfortunately, there will always be people who are negatively affected by photoshopped and 'perfect' images on social media. Especially young adults and children.
The day that I created the #normalizenormalbodies movement, and little did I know that it would start a movement to connect stories from all over the world.
This photo is one that i will cherish for the rest of my life.
I started photography partially because I’m a control freak and partially because I felt that I would never belong in front of the camera. I default to a lot of similar positions because I’m new to this, and my body doesn’t move the same way as others. Learning to feel comfortable expressing myself, especially as I collaborate with and learn from others, has been so fun.
The reality is that I have mobility limitations, and certain poses are painful or not possible. I’m trying to focus on the ones that are, and make them unique to me. Aaaand for some reason, this weird flamingo pose is one of them
We can respect our reflection without loving it.
We can respect our reflection without feeling joy for it.
We can respect our reflection while struggling with it.
Respect should come FIRST...
Respect it with kind words.
Respect it with rest.
Respect it with clothes that fit instead of squeezing it into clothes that don’t.
Respect it with movement.
Respect it with nourishing foods and water.
How are you respecting your body this week?
"The continuous promotion of these types of images can lead to an obsessiveness for perfection, and this in itself could be the underlying psychological disorder that leads to the eating disorder Anorexia Nervosa," Albuquerque, the UKAT Group Head of Treatment explained how photo-edited pictures can affect us.
According to the expert, acceptance and a love for oneself "comes from within but is hugely influenced by environmental factors." That means that all of us, in part, are responsible for how welcome (or unwelcome) some people feel.
"As a society, we must work together to create a culture of self-love and support, and this means by ensuring the promotion of as many different body types, shapes, colors, and sizes as possible. If a young girl is brought up only seeing one type of woman in advertisements, on social media, in films and music videos, in her family and close friends circles, then seeing something different in herself could cause confusion. This confusion could then manifest itself into an unhealthy mental health state," he told Bored Panda.
Your GOAL WEIGHT is not always your HEALTHY WEIGHT.
I often get asked how I became comfortable with my WEIGHT, with my BODY. How I stopped restricting. How I began eating. How I let myself slide into swimsuits and shorts and didn’t pick apart the cellulite, the stretchmarks, the soft folds that slunk over seams.
These questions are coming in more right now, as so many of us are home, slowing down, sliding into our thoughts.
And like SELF LOVE itself, the answer is complicated.
Because those thoughts never entirely go away. They’re part of being human.
Yet BODY ACCEPTANCE isn’t about always feeling only sunshine and rainbows.
It’s about feeling what I feel, but knowing in the same breath that my BODY says nothing about my WORTH as a woman.
That no matter WHAT, I deserve to EAT.
That I can have fitness goals, but they should come from a place of LOVE, not of punishment or restriction.
And that a NUMBER on a SCALE can not, should not EVER define or control me. Even if it once did. Even if once it was all I thought about for days on end.
So here’s a little reminder for any of you struggling right now with the urge to diet or shrink or minimize all that you are:
Know that incredible GOALS can have NOTHING TO DO with WEIGHT, and EVERYTHING to do with HEALTH.
Good luck out there girl.
You’ve got this.
I always have a hard time with these posts. Because even though I try to post real candid photos, I still have a tough time being completely vulnerable and open.
But I just wanted to show you guys, what a wonder posing and high waisted pants are. They can completely change your perception of someone’s body.
I spent so long hating my body instead of celebrating it. And I can honestly say I am finally content in my skin. I know that my body is ever changing. It is growing and shrinking, and then growing and shrinking again..
But I have definitely spent a lifetime hiding it up until now. I’ve perfected the art of dressing for my “body type” and posing my body in photos. And I naturally suck in my stomach at all times due to years of doing it.
We all have things that we don’t like about ourselves. Our tummies, our bums, our thighs, our chicken wings, our back fat.. but we’re all just trying to love ourselves fully, and that includes those things we’ve tried to hide in the past.
It’s an uphill battle. But we all deserve grace. We all deserve support. So let’s be kind. To ourselves. And to others.
And if I may, I implore that you stop comparing yourself to the people you see on Instagram. What you see isn’t reality most of the time. Is it intentional? Sometimes. Sometimes not. But what I can say with 100% certainty is that comparison is most definitely the thief of joy.
Your WEIGHT may change, but it doesn’t impact YOUR WORTH.
Even though sometimes, for so many of us, we get confused.
We start to think it does.
That some silly number on a scale makes us GOOD or BAD.
It’s been on my mind a lot lately thanks to all these ’OH NO, ENDING QUARANTINE FAT!’ memes.
Dark humor is a way so many of us survive difficult times.
But this bodyphobic humor is dangerous. Because it whispers to us lies wrapped in fear: that if we gain weight, we will be failures, not worthy, worthless.
Only that’s WRONG. So wrong.
Because our worth? Our worth sits in SO. MUCH. MORE. Than some stupid number on a scale.
It’s in our ability to reach out with kindness even as the world rocks.
It’s in our brains. Our souls.
Our determination to fight for something better.
Our hope for the future.
Our love for each other.
Our WORTH is connected to all that makes us WONDERFUL and HUMAN.
That’s something weight could never change
Albuquerque stressed that the key to finding the balance between leading a healthy lifestyle and loving yourself as you are lies in moderation and avoiding obsession.
"We would never discourage someone from wanting to lead a healthier, more active lifestyle, especially in the current climate, it is so important to make the most of the outdoors and enjoy walking, not only does exercise have a positive result on your physical wellness but it provides huge benefits to your mental state."
He continued: "A healthy lifestyle means something different for everyone, and so regardless of a person's body shape or size, if the desire to be active is there then great. It's important to stress however, that for anyone of any size, being active, eating healthy and exercising can become an obsession for some people, and it then becomes unhealthy for that person's mental health. Everything in moderation is key." If you'd like some help with identifying eating disorders and for other insights and support, you can visit the UKAT website right here.
Love yourself, your normal rolls (you know your skin), and remember to stop comparing yourself to anyone
Our bodies are poetry, and our stretchmarks are perfectly written lines.
I’m often asked when this journey started for me. When I stopped tearing apart my body and moved toward acceptance.
It’s been a long process in the making, one that truly began on a therapist’s couch at 20 and is still ongoing. But sometimes there are single moments, tiny seconds when lightbulbs go off. Seeing @sarashakeel ‘s Glitter Stretchmarks series was exactly that.
Her work forced me to question what I had always been told was shameful.
Because there, reimagined through her lens, stretchmarks were striking. Stunning. Sparkly and strong and undeniably beautiful.
So today, if you’re struggling with your stretchmarks, know this: we have been conditioned to believe they are ugly. They are not. They are your wonderful marvellous body serving you and supporting you always. Always.
You’re poetry, babygirl.
You’re a work of art. .
Zazon started the hashtag as part of her fight against disordered eating and the mental illness problems that it walks hand-in-hand with. Or, as she put it, “Screw diet culture. Screw weight loss programs. Screw our healthcare system for basing our health by the number on the scale. My body was smarter than me all along. My body was normal all along.”
She aims to include every type of body in her movement: “As a cis woman, I’ve faced unique challenges in accepting my body. Within the #normalizenormalbodies movement no size, weight, gender, sex, color, and shape is excluded.”
After losing over 200 pounds I am left with loose skin. A little reminder on this #mondaymotivation not everything you see on Instagram isn’t what it is. I get a lot of questions about loose skin. From did you have it removed to will you get it removed. The skin is here as you can see on the right.
This is my reminder of all the hard work that I have put into myself. No surgery, no diets, no pills and no keto. Simple calorie deficit and a lifestyle change is what helped me.
Now that I have the loose skin my issue is retaining fluid. Now that I have been incorporating more carbs and calories my skin likes to retain it. This is way my body does and I keep everything transparent with you all. This may not happen to everyone but it does to me.
Rather if I get loos kin surgery or not it doesn’t take from the hard work that was put in to make this happen. There is a possibility that I will get it removed. It’s hard having this in the way. It gets heavy and now I’m starting to have more back issues than I typically would. Even started have skin issues. It’s almost been a year since I’ve maintained. I do fluctuate a lot especially right now as I’m prepping for my next competition.
As with a lot of recent beauty trends, like the ‘Filter Drop’ challenge, the ‘Normalize Normal Bodies’ movement is about cutting through digital illusions and getting straight to the truth. What with how much the Covid-19 pandemic has changed our lives and forced us to stay at home, it’s no wonder that more and more people don’t want to pretend anymore and continue to embrace who they are.
Embracing who you are is a powerful thing because you love yourself for who you are and your confidence rockets through the roof. And we’ve all felt how being confident improves our lives. Especially when we compare it to the times that we constantly barrage ourselves with criticism and ideas that we’re not good enough—we’re never good enough and that there must be something wrong with us.
This photo is for the multiple men who tuned in to my tik tok live on saturday, saw someone passionately speaking about their small business and their first instinct was to tell me that I “have more rolls than Swiss Chalet” , that “Montreal must have a lot of food”, and that I should “put down the fork”
I’m actually glad you said it live so you could see exactly how little you’ve affected me.
However, I’m terrified for the women who, through no fault of their own, will be the next ones to receive your bs comments and take them to to heart. Who will hear your words every single time they look in the mirror; who won’t show up online anymore until they lose weight; who will literally starve themselves and lose all peace of mind... just because of something you won’t even remember 5 minutes later...
So let’s remember that, unless you’re their doctor, another persons weight is none of your [freaking] business
The ‘Normalize Normal Bodies’ movement is at the same time very individualistic and very unifying. I’ll explain. Every single one of us has a different understanding of what ‘normal’ means (and no surprise what with how different all of our bodies are), but at the same time, seeing others post under the #NormalizeNormalBodies hashtag creates a sense of unity and community.
Our bodies deserve a lot more credit than they get. Not only from others but most importantly from OURSELVES.
After having kids, we criticize our bodies so much. We look in the mirror and often don’t like what we see. We look at pictures online and compare our bodies to other women. We pinch, poke and prod at our flaws until we start to hate our reflection.
We do all this so often that we forget that our body looks different because IT LITERALLY GREW LIFE INSIDE IT!
Unfortunately, this is something that we have been taught from a young age. Society has made us think that our bodies are less worthy after doing one of the most amazing things that the human body can possibly do.
Why is that?
Pregnancy and giving birth isn’t some small task. It’s a HUGE task that can be traumatic to our bodies. Our organs literally rearranged themselves to make room for another living being. Our bones shift to make space for that being to exit. We literally produce AN EXTRA ORGAN just for this other being. We then push them out. We bleed. We experience hormonal changes throughout all of this. And then our bodies have to recover for weeks after birth. So no, this is no small task and that deserves to be acknowledged.
We deserve more credit. Our bodies deserve more credit. We deserve to look in the mirror and be reminded that our bodies have served a purpose. They have created someone that you will love forever.
Here’s what we don’t deserve-
We don’t deserve to feel pressure to look a certain way or two “snap back” after pregnancy. We don’t deserve to hear comments about what we should or should not look like. we don’t deserve to feel like we have to fit a certain societal standard to be accepted and feel beautiful.
We deserve better than that.
Our bodies may look different. Our boobs may seem different. Our weight may be different. But that’s what makes motherhood beautiful. And we sure as hell deserve a lot more credit for that than we get.
We are creators.
We are strong.
We are magical AF.
We are mothers.
We deserve some damn recognition
Nearly 3 months postpartum. The scar is making it harder to shrink back to normal. I'd like to start exercising, but I haven't been cleared for it because I've got a second surgery next week (with another 6-8 week recovery). So I guess I have to love myself as is, oh darn. Not a swimsuit model, but this body made two lovely kiddos!
I have never had what I consider a happy valentine's day and this day won't be an exception. But I want to change that.
The narrative that you have to be loved by someone else to determine how important you are, is normal...we are humans who seek for love, but that shouldn't make us feel like s**t.
I let that narrative control 1 day and it affected the rest 364 days and I thought that it was because I didn't demonstrate enough my love to others. So one day I decided to give what I wanted to have to someone else...but never got it back. And that was my mistake. Expecting a reciprocal love from someone when I needed to give that love to myself first.
We like them but we don't need flowers, chocolates or gifts to know that someone is thinking about us...and YOU are someone
However, there is a flip side to this situation. Of course, everyone is beautiful as they are (and I’m the last person on Earth who’ll judge anyone for having a bit too much belly fat). And inner beauty is what really counts at the end of the day. But leading a healthy life isn’t something that we should shy away from if we’re not feeling that we’re meeting our own standards for ourselves.
In other words, if we feel absolutely fine, energetic, get plenty of movement and fresh air, walk around with a massive smile on our faces, maintain nutritious diets, and our doctors confirm that we’re doing great, then wonderful. More power to all of us!
This is your reminder not to punish your body for enjoying food after a holiday🤍
Valentines Day is usually filled will lots of love, flowers and (if you prefer) treats!
I used to find myself incredibly disappointed and depressed following holidays like Valentines Day where there was any form of eating involved.
I can vividly remember forcing my body into 2-a-day workouts and skipping meals in order to counter act what I perceived to be the “damage” of the day before.
It took me a really long time to discover that there’s no reason to punish your body for simply enjoying food.
Valentines Day is about love, but we often forget to extend the love we give to others to ourselves as well.
We deserve a break.
We deserve to enjoy our food without guilt - no matter what we look like.
So here’s to loving ourselves and food and not letting it define our worth.
However, if we’re not moving enough (hello, my sweet quarantine couch, how I’ve missed you), have a poor diet centered around fast food, feel lethargic and depressed, and our doctors have some concerns, then it’s time to face facts that our understanding of what a normal body is might be slightly out of sync with reality. The #NormalizeNormalBodies movement is all about cutting through the noise, after all, so be honest if you’re happy with where you are and (more importantly) if you physically feel great being how you are.
Happy and healthy and brimming with confidence and ambition? Keep doing what you’re doing. Not happy with how strong and healthy you are currently? It’s time to change a few things about your life while realizing that aiming for a normal body is perfectly fine. As long as you’re not chasing after impossibly high standards that are pumped full of fakeness and plastered on your social media feed, you’ll be just fine. Do it for you, not because someone with great Photoshop skills convinced you to.
Things that are normal - body rolls, scarred skin, wobbly arms, tummy pooch while sitting, weight fluctuations, feeling sick some days for no reason, acne, strawberry legs, double chins, short torsos, wide feet, loose skin, stretch marks...and the list goes on!
"The body-positive movement is specifically for people who have marginalized bodies. But I do feel like there's some space to give women with 'normal bodies' more of a voice,” Zazon told Shape. "I've lived in so many different bodies throughout my life. This movement is my way of reminding women that you're allowed to show up as you are. You don't have to fit into a mold or category to feel comfortable and confident in your skin. All bodies are 'normal' bodies."
Learning to love myself has been a journey. I think it will always be - especially as a women and a mother. Your body stretches and grows and often we get busy taking care of everyone else and forget about making sure we are are carving out time for us - hence why my morning routine and nightly ritual are so key. If your body doesn't look like the standard you are use to seeing I am here to say wear the suit, post the picture and let's change the convo. This past summer I rocked the suit and made the most epic memories with my kids. It was the best summer we had - not because of my weight but because I had powerful thoughts about my healthy strong body.
Social media IS NOT real - even when it comes to SITTING DOWN.
Just check out these three popular INSTA-POSES. And if you’re feeling brave, try the first one. I dare you. It took me 10 minutes and lots of falling to figure it out . Today I just wanted to remind you gals how filtered this online world is. How casual poses are rarely actually RELAXED. And how you’re GREAT exactly as you are.
Now if you fancy taking your own snaps at home, here’s how it all worked:
All the insta poses involve arching my back, exhaling, squeezing my core, and lifting an arm. All super flattering things.
Plus I’m using SIDE LIGHTING. There’s a window on my right. The light comes in sideways and creates that great shadow/bright contrast on the CORE.
PLUS I’m shooting in a mirror. Mirror + side light = the best situation for fierce selfies.
So there we go! Just a reminder today about how all this stuff works.
A little pulling back of the curtain.
And a big reminder about how amazing you are:
Whether you’ve got abs all the time (like certain hard working fitspo I know), sometimes, never, or whatever. However your body is shaped, what matters the most is that YOU are YOU.
And that’s pretty incredible indeed.
In a previous interview with Bored Panda, Cornell University associate professor Brooke Erin Duffy, who studies the intersection of media, culture, and technology, told us that the pandemic had affected the influencer industry. Influencers have had to branch out even more than usual because their careers were even more unstable than usual.
What's more, the pandemic has changed how some social media users view 'fake' content. "Indeed, while women influencers have long faced backlash for being what audiences deem inauthentic, excessively self-promotional, or ‘fake,’ the critical blowback seems to have intensified in the wake of the pandemic.”
When you stop criticising and hating on your yourself, it actually has a direct impact on how you treat others.
𝘏𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘦𝘥?
You compare less.
You don’t judge based on appearance.
You realise you no longer want/need “their” body.
You know now each human is as individual as their DNA.
You know any thoughts based on someone else’s appearance are both unhelpful and meaningless.
𝐈𝐧 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐫𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐧𝐧𝐞𝐫 𝐯𝐨𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐚 𝐛***𝐡!
What do you think about the movement, dear Readers? Do you support Zazon’s ideas? What’s your own relationship with your bodies? Are you happy with how you look and how you feel right now? Drop us a comment or two below and be part of the conversation.
We all struggle with our body image sometimes; so I’m gunna embrace mine and let it shine because I felt amazing today and had a great body image day
There's a calling.
To leave behind your insecurities and self-hate
To put down the external measures of your worth
To feel wildly free in your skin
To accept yourself: messy, imperfect, moody, and all
To scream as loud as you can: I AM ENOUGH
To claim all of the confidence, happiness, and self-worth that's been waiting for you
To own exactly who you are and exactly what you want
Can you hear it too? I hear it so loudly, I can barely hear anything else.
Let’s chat about body image....
After two c-sections my body was a mess... seriously the last year has been an emotional struggle with my body, both physically and mentally. The image I had of my body was that of pure disgust.. I couldn’t even look in the mirror
For me mental health was my first priority, I struggled with postpartum depression after my second.. then the pandemic hit and it was like life was turned upside down. I felt so trapped in my mind.
Since moving to MT I have focused on taking care of my mental health, finding peace, calmness, even in stress finding ways to stay centered. I am proud of where my mental health has been these last few months.
Today I am proud of where my physical health has come these last 4 weeks, I have been part of an amazing group of woman all working toward building a better relationship with food and our bodies.
With no more babies in my future I can’t wait for what is to come with fitness and wellness journey I have so many big goals for 2021!!
I will always fight those body image demons, but I will fight them off every time.
“Change your mind.. Change your life”
Just remember that not everything is always as it seems On the right picture you see me on a really good day: no bloat, little water retention and a good tan. Obviously I am flexing my abs. This picture shows a “presentable” version of me (which sounds horrible already). But still I dont fit social media beauty standards. I have a narrow hip but a rather wide waist. I have a more or less androgynous body type instead a feminine hour glas figure. And I am just an example. Body shapes are so manifold yet it feels like only one specific type is celebrated at a time. I honestly don’t care because there is nothing I can do about my hip size (Break it and insert some steal to make it wider?). And I happily celebrate beautiful women! I just think that it is unnecessary to try to idealize only one specific body shape. I think beauty comes in many different ways!