Do you remember when it was all the rage to have a thigh gap? It seems like only yesterday that teens around the world were being warned about the dangerous diets they’d committed to in an attempt to have an Instagram ready body.
Then there are the waist trainers which burst on to the scene in 2016 after being endorsed by the Kardashian clan, who, prior to that, were responsible for endlessly promoting diet tea, protein shakes, juice cleanses and teeth whitening kits. The photo-sharing platform has been repeatedly abused by those wishing to profit off of the insecurity of others. So much so that Instagram themselves have had to take action – to little avail. Just when the situation was starting to get out of control (the terrifying blue whale self-harming craze was the latest and scariest viral trend to saturate people’s timelines) a new trend was born, one which is no doubt sending companies who profit from dieting fads into turmoil. The craze? Body positivity. Spearheaded by British model, Iskra Lawrence and supported by plus-size stars such as Ashley Graham, the body positivity movement is gaining massive traction – a quick search will show you that ‘#BodyPositivity’ is tagged in more than 1.4 million Instagram photos already. The trend sees women and men embrace their body, no matter what shape or size in order to promote a healthy approach to self-care. The movement encourages people to celebrate their curves and lust for love handles, rather than obsess over an unattainable standard of beauty. With her inspiring posts which remind people to love themselves, Iskra Lawrence has attracted a healthy four million followers who buy into her lifestyle. However, behind her stunning selfies and abundance of self-confidence is a story that the 27-year-old doesn’t often share. Taking to Instagram the model shared a photograph of her 10 years ago, in comparison to today. In the heartfelt post, she admitted to having battled with eating disorders throughout her youth, but goes on to say how over a decade she had learned to love her body.
“Both of these images are of me. The left is about 10 years ago. And the right just under a month ago. I remember being proud of how skinny I looked during this shoot. And how now people call me fat when I’m just happy to be alive and grateful for this body I call my home.”
“I used to seek approval from the fashion industry and tried to be ‘perfect’. I thought if I looked like ‘her’ (an unrealistic beauty ideal), I’d be happy, successful and loved. All I found was failure (because you can’t change who you are) emptiness (because my time and energy was being used up trying to achieve something completely self-absorbed and shallow sacrificing doing things I loved) and unhappiness (because no restrictive diet or abusive exercise feels good).”
Iskra continues in her inspiring Instagram post:
“I share my experiences with you all because if you are feeling like I did there is another way and those recovering from [eating disorders] you’re not alone. The best thing I ever did was focus on looking after myself and being the best me I could be. Seeing value in who I was.
I started Investing time into self-care, doing things that made me happy. Listening to my body and mind and nourishing them both, without guilt.”
“My dream has always been to get self-care (mental, emotional and physical wellness) education into schools. And I’ve started that, but I also wanted to create something for adults that still needed a safe space that’s judgment-free to go on a positive journey of self-love.” Inspired? I know that I am. Suddenly my New Year’s resolution to lose weight suddenly feels a little unnecessary! Instead, I should be losing the feeling that I need to lose weight in the first place. Who am I trying to please? As Iskra says: “We were all created to be imperfectly perfect,” so enjoy what feels good to you – if that’s stuffing your face with nachos and a couple of sit-ups each night, then so be it!