Reality Check: The Real Reason You Shouldn’t Always Trust Those Fitspo Images You See On Instagram

When it comes to #healthies, not all is always as it seems.

It’s around this time of year, that many of us, in a bid to keep our new health and fitness goals, start trawling transformation pics on Instagram, under hashtags like #fitspo and #Healthie, for an extra dose of inspo.

And while they can be great at motivating us to achieve our goals, sometimes they can have the opposite effect; making those impossibly perfect body selfies seem all the more difficult to achieve.

But here’s the kicker; not all of those #fitspo images are exactly as they seem, and now for every couple of hundred perfect bikini pics, you might see one or two ‘real’ posts claiming that what you see isn’t entirely gospel.

Exhibit A. Take Imgur user SomewhereUnderWater who posted her own ‘reality check’ pic back in March; a split screen, showing her flat, toned tummy on one side with a pic of a stomach roll when she was sitting down on the other.

Fitspo reality check

“We aren’t barbies,” she wrote on the pic. “We are made of flesh and blood. These are all the same body — my body. I have worked hard for this body and I am proud of this body. In a world were [sic] we are surrounded by the images of our friends’ highlight reel sometimes it’s good to see a little reality so we can keep our expectations real. No matter where you are on your body’s journey, be proud and love yourself. Make goals because you love your body not because you hate it.”

Back in June, personal trainer Sophie Kay also made a point about just how ‘real’ those before and after body transformations really are.

Showing just how much difference a good angle and some smart lighting can make, Sophie snapped two before and after pics, only three minutes apart, to show just how different she looked in each image – no diet or exercise required.


Perhaps the most well known case though is that of Instagram star Essena O’Neill who renounced social media and her half-a-million-strong following back in November, ‘fessing that in one snap she had taken “over 100 in similar poses trying to make my stomach look good,” and “would have hardly eaten that day.”

Yep, not so #goals after all, is it?

Essena O'Neill

The thing to remember? While it’s great to have aspirations, if idolising a certain’s Insta star’s body is getting you down, try focusing on your own progress instead. Sometimes looking back at your own personal transformation – and even focusing on little improvements, like feeling better and having more energy – can be all the motivation you need.


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