I have a confession to make…
I used to photoshop the s**t out of my photos, especially anything that was going on Instagram. My feed was full of perfect (although probably digitally enhanced) bodies and I felt a huge pressure to compete alongside them. I’ve never been blessed with an athletic figure, so I knew unless I wanted to be extreme with my diet and fitness regime there was no way I was going to achieve the ‘perfect body’ without a bit of nip and tuck in some of my favourite photo apps.
Unfortunately, photoshopping your body in images is pretty easy, and when it’s done right you can’t really tell the image has been manipulated. I would nip in my waist in almost every outfit photo, and it slowly but surely became addictive. You see, the comments I was getting on those outfit photos started convincing me that I just had to keep editing my body, because they were all so complimentary. I would tell myself a little bit of editing wasn’t a bad thing, ‘if nobody notices, I’m not doing anything wrong, am I?’
However, if I’m honest, this photoshopping was impacting somebody greatly, and that person was me. I was so certain the digitally altered version of me was the only attractive one I began to passionately hate the ‘real’ body I had, convinced that any and every inch of fat was disgusting or unhealthy.
The dangers of photoshopping
I was in love with the body I was creating for social media, but the truth was it wasn’t real, it wasn’t the body I was living in so the gap between reality and social media began to feel wider and wider for me, it got to the point where no matter how much I worked out or ate ‘right’ I just hated my imperfect body and longed for the digitally altered one.
Let’s be real though, I was never going to achieve the digital body I had created because, you know what? The proportions just weren’t right. There’s no way my waist would be that nipped in, I would probably need a few ribs removed to achieve it and aint nobody got time for that.
When I look back, I’m kind of frustrated with myself for falling into the photoshop trap and editing my body to make it look ‘better’. Sure, I might have looked great in the photos I was posting, but what I was promoting was fake and it made me feel fake, inside and out.
Learning to love what I’ve got
You know what? My body’s just a bit of alright, I may not have a flat stomach or perfectly toned arms, but what I do have is a lovely curvy shape that I just have to embrace and love if I want to feel good about myself.
So I stopped photoshopping my pictures
Just like that, I decided to embrace my body fully and learn to love the way it looked. Alongside editing my own pictures, out went the #fitspo accounts that were filling up my feed. I went on my explore page and hit ‘see fewer posts like this’ on as many as I could spot to try to control how much of it I was seeing.
Since then, I’ve felt so much more comfortable in my skin, I’ve learnt to appreciate what I have and look at an unedited picture of myself and smile, instead of grimace.
I’ve regained my confidence
And I don’t feel so restricted in the way that I’m living. There’s not more ‘I HAVE to work out’ or ‘I CAN’T eat that’ there’s just a desire to do what I want, and what makes me feel good, regardless of what my body looks like, and how many likes it will get.
If you’ve ever been tempted to manipulate the way your body looks in pictures, please don’t. It honestly won’t make you feel any better about the way you look, and the image you’re putting out will only be feeding into a huge problem we have on social media – the blurred line between what is real and what is fake.
The more real bodies we see on social media, the better. Variety is the spice of life and the sooner we realise that not everyone looks the same, the easier it becomes to accept the differences we seen in ourselves and accept them instead of flagging them as flaws.
Have you ever photoshopped your pictures? If so, why did you decide to do it and (if you have stopped) why did you decide to stop?