Being body positive isn’t something anyone can achieve overnight, but daily posts of encouragement and inspiration from body positive advocates on Instagram can help in the process.
Achieving true body positivity is a process that takes time and constant effort from the person hoping to achieve acceptance and love for him or herself. It’s about embracing oneself through scarring, stretching, gaining, losing, and all the in-between.
It’s a challenging, time consuming experience, and one that can feel nearly impossible to go through alone. Luckily, we don’t have to, and in the end, it’s always worth it.
Instagram has become one of the most popular forms of social media in the short time since it’s release in 2010.
With over 400 million active monthly users, an average of 95 million photos and videos are posted every single day. There, you can find selfies, puppies, and pictures of pizza – which is the most Instagrammed food, according to Brandwatch.com, in case you were wondering.
The list you’re about to explore, however, is filled with Instagram accounts that are far from average.
The following users have chosen to use their Instagram handles to spread awareness and encouragement to the growing body positive community. When they post, they post with their loyal followers in mind and they spread messages of love, acceptance, and most importantly, support.
While your journey towards body positivity can be difficult at times, we encourage you to find solace in these accounts. Let their posts give you the push you need on your good days and especially on your more challenging days. In no particular order, these are just some examples of the countless people rooting for you out there in cyber space.
We asked 11 Body Positive advocates on Instagram:
1) What got you into body positivity?
2) What accomplishment are you most proud of?
♦Ashleigh Dunn from Southern California♦
1) Body positivity is a relatively new thing for me. I didn’t learn to truly love my body and all it’s perfect flaws until this past year.
It’s been a lifelong struggle, but when I finally started having more love for my body, I wanted to share this progress with other women – and even men – who may struggle with body image.
The more we can put images out into the universe of ALL bodies – different shapes, sizes and colors – the more we will all be accepted.
2) I think I feel the most proud when I get messages from followers telling me their stories and struggles and explaining how my posts may have helped them or showed them a more positive way to live.
In the end, it’s not about myself. I don’t post to make myself feel better. I post for others, for my followers, to hopefully help them hear a positive voice.
♦Lauren McAulay from Los Angeles♦
1) I am a survivor of a past eating disorder. That past has fueled my passion to help other women overcome and break free from the diet and disordered eating world.
2) [I’m most proud of] creating a community called The Body Love Tribe. Everyone is unique in the tribe.
People could be struggling with eating disorders of all different kinds, body image issues, fear of food, people who obsess over their weight/calories/food logs/scales, workout obsession, etc. We all fit into ONE tribe because no matter your struggles there is only one thing we all need to heal: LOVE.
♦Alexis Lemelle from Lake Charles, Louisiana♦
1) I had no idea this whole body positive community existed on Instagram.
About a year and a half ago, I was searching under the Torrid hashtag for plus size outfit ideas. I noticed a woman being attacked in the comments because of how she looked. It was an absolutely vile comment and I had never witnessed that kind of hatred on social media.
Through some searching, I realized that there were so many fat and body shaming accounts out there. I decided to start my own body positive Instagram account. It would be somewhere that people could scroll through the feed and be inspired.
I wanted my page to be the opposite of these hate accounts.
2) I’m just grateful that my page has impacted not only women, but men as well. It really makes my day when I get comments or messages that say what I’m posting is helping someone in a positive way.
♦Anne Ransom from Rhode Island♦
1) I suffered from severe anorexia from age 18-23. I was a perfectionist and felt as though I needed something to control in my life. The choice I made was to control my food, exercise, and weight. I became addicted to doing hours of cardio, taking laxatives, and purging. I truly felt hopeless.
Through the help of many doctors, family, an eating disorder coach, nutritionists, and friends, I slowly started to stabilize my weight and recover.
As a result of my stabilized weight and clearer thoughts, my personal trainer, and now one of my best friends, Matt, introduced me to the amazing world of weightlifting.
With his guidance and encouragement, I started eating more foods in order to build muscle and get strong. I fell madly in love with weightlifting and it became my incentive to fully recover from my eating disorder.
I am now a strong-woman competitor, powerlifter, and eating disorder recovery advocate.
2) I am most proud of the non-profit organization that I volunteer with called Project HEAL. It raises awareness for eating disorders and gives financial aid and scholarships to those seeking treatment.
Through this organization, I have met so many amazing young men and women that have similar stories to mine. They are just as passionate about recovery and aiding others as I am.
♦Olivia Callaghan from Birmingham, UK♦
1) I got into body positivity when I stumbled upon @bodyposipanda‘s Instagram. She just seemed so happy! She seemed so happy and full of life and I wanted to be like that.
I was tired of hating myself and putting myself down.
2) My biggest accomplishment is making my parents proud.
Seeing them happy because they know I’m happy and helping others is the best feeling. It really makes it all worth while.
♦Emily Margaret Wright from London♦
1) I’ve always struggled with my weight. When I was about 13, my body started changing and I got huge hips while all my friends were so tiny and petite. I genuinely felt like there was something wrong with me.
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a Victoria’s Secret model so badly. I downloaded the soundtrack from the show. I used to strut around my room like I was on the catwalk.
Throughout my teens, I took laxatives to try and lose weight and continuously watched what I ate but still didn’t feel good enough. It wasn’t until my partner showed me @iskra on Instagram that things started to change. I felt I could relate to her because she looked like me.
There should be a fair representation of every body type: tall, small, curvy, lean, etc.
I thought, enough is enough! This is my body. People say confidence is sexy, so maybe I’ll just fake it till I make it.. and that’s what I did.
It’s still a struggle sometimes but my life has improved so much. When you love something – in this case, your body – you want to look after it.
I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to do something about the lack of representation in the media. I’ve met some amazing girls doing it too! Their stories of overcoming their struggles are inspiring.
2) I think I feel the proudest when I see girls that message me post a photo; a photo I know they would have been scared to post. That makes me feel like I could burst. I’m like, “YES GIRL!”
I also think that men need to have a voice, but I’m only one person. I can only fight one battle at a time.
♦Hilde Atalanta from Amsterdam, The Netherlands♦
1) About a year ago, I attended a lecture where I learned that in the past decade there has been an enormous increase in labiaplasty amongst young women.
Labiaplasty is cosmetic surgery to partly or entirely alter the size of the labia minora, the inner folds of the vulva. The performed labiaplasties are often not medically indicated, and are merely done because of cosmetic purposes.
Many women who undergo this procedure are unhappy with the way their labia look, especially their labia minora (inner labia). They think their labia minora are too large, and therefore they perceive them as ugly and disturbing. So, the increase is partly due to an increasing dissatisfaction of women with the appearance of their labia minora, perhaps accompanied by a greater knowledge about the availability of labia surgery. People are becoming aware of it, they hear about it or read about it on the internet.
The only way to change the way individuals experience their bodies is to educate them, and others, about natural variation. Showing them that there are so many different body types, in many shapes, sizes, and colors is important.
I hope that The Vulva Gallery can contribute to the way people view the broad range of vulvas, and that they are perfect just the way they are. Diversity is beautiful.
2) I just started my project last summer, in August. In the past five months, The Vulva Gallery has been growing quite fast. I’m not sure about what I’ve accomplished yet, but what impressed me most is the amount of positive and touching messages I received.
People telling me that seeing the diversity in The Vulva Gallery changed the way they see their bodies and their vulvas and made them realize they are normal… people telling me they can finally start accepting and loving their bodies just the way they are– that’s a huge compliment to me. It’s also a sign that an initiative like this has a very positive impact.
Recently, I started sharing the stories on my website (anonymously, and with permission,) in order for them to empower others as well.
Also, my illustrations are being used in several sexual education projects in high schools, teaching kids about body diversity and female sexuality. I think this is wonderful and it’s a direction I’d like to take with my work.
I hope The Vulva Gallery will be part of educational projects and I hope it will become its own sexual health and sexual education platform in the future.
♦Halle H from America♦
1) I have been anorexic and bulimic for about 16 years. Two and a half years ago, I went into intensive eating disorder treatment. I started in a partial hospital program and moved into outpatient treatment.
A few months ago, I reached recovery.
Being a part of the body positive community on Instagram has changed my life. It was a big part of my recovery process. I owe so much to all the beautiful women all over the world that I am now friends with.
2) What I am most proud of is the way I’ve inspired my followers. Knowing that by sharing my story, my experiences, and my knowledge, I’ve encouraged women all over the world. They’re gaining courage and bravery. They’re trying to learn to love themselves and their bodies just as they are.
♦Michelle Rogers from British Columbia, Canada♦
1) I honestly just realized this past year that I’ve been at war with myself and my body for almost my entire life and I was tired. Tired of putting other people before myself and my mental health.
I had some pretty toxic friendships and negativity surrounding myself for awhile and I didn’t know how to focus on myself without feeling guilty about it. Once I started taking care of myself a bit more, I began to see a counselor. She encouraged me to start some form of blog to share my story and here we are!
BodyPosiPower is about not only my journey, but everyone who visits my page’s journey to self love. It’s not an easy thing; it’s an ongoing process that follows you throughout the rest of your life. I’m not in love with myself, but I’m learning and so can you.
2) My biggest accomplishment is the connections I’ve made with people around the world.
The chance to be named one of BodyPositivity.com’s top BoPo Instagram accounts is right up there as well. I am so flattered and appreciative.
I’ve also gotten to hear so many new and relatable stories and some folks have even said that my story and my page is helping them. That is so surreal for me to know that I’m helping in some way.
It sounds somewhat cliché, but I really am thankful to have the opportunity to share my story and potentially inspire others along the way.
♦Brittany Baxter from Cologne, Germany♦
1) I struggled with an eating disorder for seven years of my life. Prior to the development of my eating disorder, I had always struggled with my body and body image.
After my recovery, I knew I wanted to help people who are or who have been in a similar position to where I was a few years ago and are still struggling.
I decided to complete a degree in psychology and during that time I also became a certified life coach. I now work with young women, guiding them to break free from body and self-hatred.
It’s been my experience with my own body struggles and eating disorder in combination with my passion to help people that got me into body positivity.
2) The accomplishment that I am most proud of is contributing a new voice to the body positivity movement.
I remember when I first started out on this journey, I came across so many amazing women contributing to the movement; however, I noticed that my body shape just didn’t quite fit in anywhere. My body falls closely in some ways, but somewhat far away to what unfortunately the media portrays as “ideal.” Because of this, I felt a lot of pressure.
Because my body is small, thin, in between or average (whatever you want to call it,) I had a lot of trouble validating my struggle with my body, because of how it is perceived.
It was like I wasn’t allowed to struggle.
In reality though, I struggled (I still do from time to time,) and from that I knew that there must be millions of women out there similar to me, who struggle just like I did and occasionally still do.
So, I’m proud to be able to contribute a new voice to the body positivity movement and to be able to share with women all over the world, that regardless of your size, your struggle is valid and that it is possible to love yourself no matter what size you are.
♦Luz Achával Barral from Cordoba, Argentina♦
1) I remember being little and seeing my older sister wax and think “I’m never going to do that.” Of course when I was a teen, it seemed utterly impossible, if you were a girl, to let your body just be. I ended up waxing my armpits quite religiously.
Luckily, my legs are not very hairy and I sticked to the “I don’t need to shave my legs” for years. When I started Fine Arts in college I found a couple of art history feminist teachers, that finally put into words, without any shame, all the crap I as a woman have seen basically my whole life, and I went from “I don’t need to shave,” to “I just don’t f****** want to”.
After that, I became more and more involved with feminism and body positivity was an aspect of that. It just never felt right to criticize or mock someone because of their looks or body. With this movement, I found the words and arguments necessary to dismantle the disrespectful “opinions” that are too often heard, for example all this false “health concern”.
2) I guess the real accomplishment for me is to contribute to the representation of bodies that are usually invisible.
It’s an imperative need to normalize all body types. We as a society must stop selling the idea that there is only one good kind of body and only one way to exist in the world and be accepted. Art is subversive in and of itself, so I think it’s a very useful resource to enact this change.
We here at BodyPositivy.com are sure there are many more Instagram accounts doing their part to inspire and encourage the body positive community. Perhaps we forgot your favorite. Don’t hesitate to write your opinion and other accounts in the comments section below.
Last but not least, don’t forget to follow the incredible Body Positive Instagram accounts we’ve shared with you here!