About a year ago, I looked at a picture of myself I wanted to post on Instagram and thought, damn, when did I get chubby? I quickly shrunk my stomach down in Facetune and posted the picture, satisfied with the subtle change.
A few weeks of shrinking my stomach in pictures got old, so I joined an exercise class in Jersey City. I told myself that I wanted to get in shape and slim down for the wedding, but the reality was that I’d become obsessed with how my body photographed.
Fast forward a few months, and not only had I lost ten pounds, built muscle, and looked snatched for my wedding, but I started liking how my body looked in outfit photos. Comments rolled in saying I looked toned and lean, which confirmed my earlier suspicions that I’d gotten flabby. My fashion content performed better than it ever had, and I secured more and more fashion sponsorships.
But at what cost?
My strict macro counting nutritional habits fell FAR by the wayside after getting married. I didn’t have time to prep five small meals and get up at 6am to workout daily, choosing instead to spend precious extra moments bonding with my new husband. In turn, the flab came back. With it returned those same feelings of body insecurity and shame. I looked up flattering poses and angles, and tried to remember to simultaneously suck in my stomach and poke my butt out to accentuate my waistline. That’s all really hard to do while also smiling and looking natural, so I rarely got it right.
After my past two photo shoots, I’ve found myself once again scrutinizing, and at times editing down my stomach before sharing a post on Instagram. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but since I’ve added fashion blogger to my repertoire, I’ve become increasingly conscious of how my body looks in images. I don’t know whether the subtle edit will be the difference between 500 likes and 1000 likes, or if it will be an image a brand pulls up when choosing bloggers for their next campaign. On top of the pressure to be skinny on social, there’s also the newlywed thing. The slightest pooch or bloated belly leaves people thinking I might be pregnant, and since some folks lack home training, I wouldn’t want to be embarrassed by a comment asking how far along I was.
Let me be clear, in everyday life, I’m cool with my body. I feel strong and healthy, and my husband constantly uplifts me and showers me with compliments. I LOVE my thighs. They’re strong and muscular! And depending on what pants I’m wearing, I kinda like my booty too.
But I definitely experience a pressure to conform to a certain blogger “shape” on social media. There’s either skinny and thigh gap, ridiculous waist to hip ratio, or confident plus-size – there isn’t really a niche for “just below average but not exactly skinny and a bit toned in some parts and flabby in others” bloggers like myself. It’s a daily project for me to be comfortable in my own skin – and flab – on social media, but hopefully opening up about my insecurities is one step towards getting over them.