you probably think this post is about you…
Hello, my name is Laura and I am an addict. Since getting my first iPhone at 22 I have uploaded 2061 photos to Instagram and accumulated 1145 followers (Bizarrely I still don’t understand how this has happened). Most days I struggle to get change for the bus out of my bag as I seem to always have permanent fixtures of a coffee cup in one hand and my phone in the other, oh isn’t it ironic. My morning ritual has become some sort of game, lying in bed one eye open one eye shut, three fingers behind the phone, pinky underneath I use my thumb to scroll the newsfeed, I have to get to the bottom. After looking at countless fitness instagram pages from America I’m there! Only now can I get out of bed.
A year ago a friend told me that what I posted on my Instagram made me look like I had a big lesbian crush on myself (In the voice of Janis Ian Dyke of course). I brushed it off at the time and could see how others may take it that way. However, lately I have read a lot of criticism online regarding the ‘gym selfie’ and ever the over thinker began to analyse it.
Firstly lets get this out of the way, growing up I lacked self esteem, I was never the smallest and by 16 I was 12 stone. I had never worked out before, I hated the gym, I went once in my teenage years but I was useless, falling off a treadmill mid sprint I decided maybe fitness wasn’t for me. I also feared for my nose as I had almost broke it twice due to being the ambassador of clumsiness.
Throughout my teenage years my weight has fluctuated (never from healthy choices) and when living in London at 18 I was taken home after losing so much weight and making myself ill.
Around a year ago and after going through a tough time and a not so fun breakup, without realising I had eaten my bodyweight in junk and accidentally couldn’t fit in anything that didn’t have at least 99% elasticity. I began taking photos, to hopefully motivate me to swap the baby bell for a barbell. Now 24 with a 5 day a week training regime I have admittedly fallen into the gym selfie club regularly taking photos to compare my progress. If I could show my 16 year old self what I’m like now I’m pretty sure she would punch me in the face (she was an aggressive girl).
The culprits that blast this kind of photo-sharing on my social networks are usually those of a negative disposition of all things in life and not just fitness. However, seeing a gym related status, or picture really gets their cage rattled. Interestingly this negativity seems to be solely directed to those that work hard to be in the shape they’re in? I’m pretty sure there’s more negativity towards the ‘gym selfie’ than there was towards that game of live or die ‘neknominate’.
So why blast it? Would I be criticised so heavily if I were overweight and posting progress photos? Why are we punishing those that want to better their health and ignoring those that want to drink their health away?
Admittedly I have a huge way to go but for now I will continue to post pictures of my body when I am proud of my hard work and if working hard to be the healthiest version of me makes me vain, then so be it.