By Caroline Best
Last Summer I went on a social media break for a week, and completely stayed off all of my accounts. To be honest, it made a big difference in my mood. I noticed my day-to-day state was happier and more relaxed.
I’ve thought a lot about why I had such a strong reaction to doing something so simple.
Social media can be a positive thing in moderation. It’s a great way to keep up with loved ones and see interesting/inspiring things. However, social media (especially a lot of it at once) can be pretty toxic if we’re not careful. People tend to post what I call “highlight reel” pictures. Or photos where they’re out doing fun things, looking great, surrounded by friends, ect. Seeing enough of these photos can play on very natural human insecurities. There’s a lot of research being done right now on how this can affect mental health. This constant exposure to everyone’s highlights makes us feel like we need to “keep up”. And this can have a draining effect. We have an earlier post that talks a lot about how to combat this ( link).
However, this post has to do with social media in the summer and some amazing accounts to follow.
Social media in the summertime can be especially toxic because of “summer body” culture. There’s a lot of absurd (and dangerous) messages about how to “look best” for the summertime and focusing on getting a “swimsuit body”. We’re all constantly exposed to marketing trying to convince us to try to mold ourselves to narrow and often unattainable beauty standards.When in reality, once you put on a swimsuit, you have a swimsuit body. Nothing else is needed. You don’t have to do anything else (tan,shave,work out, ect.) despite what society might try to convince you.
We went through and found some accounts that fight against summer body/diet culture and are really refreshing and inspiring. These accounts are filled with great reminders to appreciate your body:
Tess Holliday, @tessholliday
Tess Holiday is totally redefining what is means to be a supermodel in the best possible way. Her instagram is empowering and seriously beautiful. She’s a perfect role model, exemplifying how all bodies are swimsuit bodies. She also keeps it real with her posts, and regularly calls out diet culture.
Continuing the Tess Holliday love…. Eff Your Beauty Standards is actually an account founded by Tess Holliday, and has several other body positive contributors. The mission of the foundation focuses on breaking down and redefining beauty standards. The pictures focus on celebrating the many sizes and shapes bodies come on, and emphasizes how all of these are beautiful.
Rosey Blair, @roseybeeme
One of the reasons instagram can be pretty harmful is so many of the popular fashion bloggers and influencers tend to fit a narrow beauty standard (PSA:these standards are so damaging because they try to convince us to work towards unrealistic/unhealthy expectations). Rosey smashes these standards and totally owns her role as an instagram influencer and fashion blogger, focusing on size inclusive style. Not only are her pictures gorgeous and interesting, she is also an advocate for size diversity/inclusivity.
Empowered Eating @empoweredeatingrd
A shameless plug. We have an instagram run by our amazing empowered eating dietitian, Alex Raymond. The account focuses on combatting diet culture, offering eating disorder recovery support, and highlighting all of the reasons to respect your body. Alex does a great job sharing quotes/blogs/ stories that are really motivating.
Not only is this account so aesthetically pleasing, it has a great message. I find it calming to look at. Each post has an inspiring message that focuses on keeping it real and self-love.
Jessamyn Stanley, @mynameisjessamyn
This account is so great. There’s a lot of messages out there that convey there’s a way to “look like an athlete”, which is completely untrue. We are peppered with the message that athletes are always muscular/tall/thin, which is completely untrue. Athletes come in all shapes and sizes. Jessamyn is the perfect example to show how serious and dedicated athletes (in her case yoga) can be any body size/type. She has a program called Ever Body Yoga which has great yoga routines (shared on her insta page!) that focuses on body inclusive workouts.
I absolutely love Not Plant Based. It’s such a refreshing account. The account was co-founded by two journalists who are passionate about eating disorder recovery and promoting positive body image/healthy relationships with food. The posts totally call out diet culture bs. There’s a good mix of recovery inspiration, some honestly great food pictures, and quotes.
Kelvin Davis, @notoriouslydapper
Our last account on the list focuses on an important topic that often doesn’t get enough recognition. A focus on promoting positive body image for men. Men are exposed to tons of damaging messages about how to look “best”, especially in the summer. This instagram influencer focuses on size inclusive style for men.
To wrap it up…..
Those are some of our favorite accounts. I think these do a great job of providing inspiring and motivating messages while also taking down narrow beauty standards and fighting diet culture. So many popular accounts present airbrushed, edited, photos as natural and this creates a wildly unrealistic beauty standard. Remember, the pictures you are seeing as highlight pictures, you never know what went into the behind the scenes. I also have a challenge for you to take on during summer. Do a social media clean up. Unfollow/ mute accounts that share unhealthy messages about body image. I promise it’s really helpful to do.
If you want to talk more about promoting healthy body image, size inclusivity, recovery resources or anything else, contact one of our great dietitians at firstname.lastname@example.org