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More and more women are coming forward and exposing the damaging and disingenuous  reality behind the fantasy displayed to young women online. Depending on how you approach it, social media can be a magnet for insecurity or a source of inspiration, but when you are looking at these otherwise remarkable Instagram accounts, are you looking at true depictions of healthy and successful transformations, or a skewed view of reality?

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Body positive account @SaggySara is working toward breaking the unrealistic body expectations women face every day. The 20 year-old Finnish vegan has been showcasing her awesome fitness transformation online for some time now, and through her work, she has come to understand the many tricks of the trade involved in showing  your body off to its best advantage through camera angles, body positioning, and lighting.
The perfect pose can ‘trick’ your friends, loved ones, and followers into believing that every day, you look as flawless as your manufactured photos appear.

“Before I started being body positive on Instagram I would’ve posted the photo on the left (sucking in my tummy as much as possible) and said something along the lines of ‘gained a bit of fat this week’ when in reality, what I look like relaxed currently is like the photo on the right.”

“Everyone looks like this when they sit down! Nobody is judging you and even if someone was then that’s a reflection of their inner insecurities, not yours. You are not fat. We all have fat, especially on our tummies and it’s completely normal.”

Photoshop is another widely used tool and a hard reality of the industry. Most of the time, your favourite celebrity or blogger will photoshop their images, even in just the slightest of ways, to perfect their bodies, making it impossible to distinguish what’s real and what’s fake.

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Another fun way that Sara shows off her transformations are her “10 second transformation photos.”

“These were taken a few seconds apart while I was at the beach the other day, the photo on the left is what I look like relaxed and not posing, basically how I look 99% of the time in a bikini! And the one on the right is how I look in good lighting, flexed and posing 😁”

“I was just going to post the photo on the right today but thought that I’d do another 10 second transformation just in case someone needed a reminder after the weekend that Instagram ain’t reality and I don’t always look flexed like I do on the right!”

Another surefire way to transform your body in 10 seconds or less is to change the way you position clothing on your body. “On the left I have my tights pulled up to cover up my tummy fat while flexing and on the right I’ve pulled down my tights, not coving my tummy fully, still flexing. As you can see angles and the way your pants/body is positioned affects the way you look,” she writes.

For some reason, we vilify our bodies for constantly changing on us, but when did we come to believe our bodies must conform to our wishes at every moment? We literally change every day, throughout the day, and Sara helps to show us this in a 24-hour body transformation series.

“First photo was taken in the morning after waking up. The second photo was 8 hours after the first and after eating a whole bunch of delicious Christmas food and a having a few drinks. And the third was taken 24 hours after, just after waking up, no workout in between these photos and no flexing/sucking my tummy in.”

The great thing is that many other famous Instagram accounts are coming forward and showcasing their ‘least flattering’ angles as well, really driving home the fact that the true reality of their lives is far from perfect, and that what we see is only a small fraction of their daily life.

Your body is unique to you. We can do our very best to shape ourselves away from our true nature, but when we do that, we choose to disconnect from our body and soul, making it unlikely we will find happiness outside of the social media world. Our body desires acceptance, and we have been conditioned to believe that this acceptance has to come from a place outside of ourselves. Love your body, and recognize that it is always working to hold you up, even when the world is trying to pull you down. Let’s give ourselves a little thanks.

“This idea of beauty we have currently is so odd. Who decides what’s beautiful? It’s not some checklist that you go through and suddenly can qualify for. Should one have flawless skin, a lean body and groomed body hair to be considered beautiful? No. Because that idea of beauty is non existent. Nobody in reality has that 24/7. Beauty is not some elite group that only some people can join. I currently don’t shave my leg or armpit hair because it’s cold where I live, my skin is breaking out and I do not, nor ever will have a lean tummy with 0 skin folding or minimal amounts of fat. That’s the reality.
Yet some people constantly still judge each other and hate on each other for having these things. I see so much hate nowadays on social media and it makes me so upset. Please don’t be one of those people that tears others down. What’s the point. What do you gain from it? Does it make you feel better when you comment these things on people’s posts? Do you ever think why? I’m sure everyone has something they’re insecure about. So let’s just make the world a slightly better place and STOP SENDING HATE COMMENTS because it’s really not necessary to be rude. We all have our own problems to deal with and you never know what someone’s going through, please consider that before you say things that could hurt someone.
Also think about that when you say hurtful things to yourself. There’s no point in being rude towards yourself. Learn to love yourself because you are an amazing person and you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. As long as you’re doing your best, you’re doing an amazing job.”

 – Sara Puhto


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