Like most people, especially young women, when I joined social media, I began to follow accounts with very unrealistic body standards for women. I followed accounts like Victoria’s Secret, models, and a lot of influencers who are extremely skinny and beautiful. I would rip my body apart because I did not look like them, I would never look like them, and I hated myself for it. I remember crying multiple times looking in the mirror at my naked body because I was not skinny like these models I was seeing. Seeing this everyday made me think that was the norm, but at 21 years old I am not realizing that this is in fact not the norm. Over quarantine I made the decision to change the social media that I watch, I felt inspired by the body positive Tik Toks I was seeing on my “FYP/ For You Page”. Tik Tok was one of the first social medias that I had that would show you content from people you were not subscribed to. I noticed and interacted more and more with people who talked about body positivity and I saw them loving their bodies, and I wanted that.
The first woman I saw on my FYP was a lovely and inspiring woman named Mik Zazon, and she is in recovery for three different eating disorders. At first, I was literally the epitome of pure awe at her spirit and her joy, I became addicted to learning more and more about her journey. She was the first person that I think really vocalized my struggle with body positivity, and she did so with a pure spirit, she has so much love for other people. I have learned so much about her journey and I have listened to her advice, she inspired me to become better, and now I am being open with my therapist about my issues. As I have said in a previous article I have struggled with my body, but once I saw her video, I decided to make a change in my life, to make my life better. It started with some of her advice of changing the social media that you watch and see, to “unfollow anyone who makes you feel like crap”. I did that, I stopped following Victoria’s Secret and brands like that, I unfollowed the models that I used to idealize. I started following her and her hashtag #normalizenormalbodies. My Instagram has taken a huge turn from what it used to be, then I noticed that my Tik Tok was changing too due to the algorithm. Once I interacted with her first video, it only took one like, and now my feed is flooded with body positivity creators.
The next Tik Tok person that I became inspired by was Brittani Lancaster, it started with me seeing one of her “What I Eat in a Day” videos. She showed me that eating is okay, making sure your body is able to sustain itself is okay, gaining weight is normal and okay, it is okay to take up space. I do not need to shrink my body in order to have value as a woman, and as a human being in general. My body is changing and normally I would hate myself for it, but she is showing me that just because I am gaining weight does not mean that I have to starve myself to try and “fix” it. Just because I eat an unhealthy meal or have an unhealthy eating day does not mean that I have to starve myself the rest of the day, or the next day. “Balance is Key” she always says at the end of her “What I Eat in a Day videos” and that is so true because nutrition is about so much more than calories.
Changing the social media that I am viewing has had a very positive effect on my body image, I still have my bad days just like everyone else. However, I am more able to live my life happier with who I am and what I look like, I do not cry as much as I used to, I do not weigh myself nearly as much as I used to. I am communicating better about my eating and about the struggles I have had since a very young age, and it is all thanks to these lovely women that I have seen. I wish I could thank them personally and tell them how much they have inspired me, the effect that they have had on my life.