Love Your Body

With 2 honest photos, woman reminds us that Instagram is not reality

The “perfect” fitness photos we see on social media don’t always tell the full story. That’s what one body-positive blogger wants to remind us with her inspiring post on “Instagram vs. real life.”

Sara Puhto, 20, recently posted two side-by-side photos of herself on Instagram. In the right photo, she’s striking a pose and standing at a diagonal angle to the camera. The left “real life” photo is more candid, with the camera directly behind her as she steps onto a rock.

Instagram vs real life 💁🏼🌿 If I saw the photo on the left a year ago I would've instantly thought so negatively about my body, that all my hard work from working out was non existent, that if someone looked at me they would've never thought I've been working out for 2 years and think I wasn't trying hard enough. But the thing is is that all bodies look different. Nobody's booty looks round and peachy from all angles. Nobody's body looks the same from all angles. Don't eat less or miss out on your favorite meals/drinks or over exercise to "look good for a holiday" or to "look good in bikini photos" because there will always be angles that are "unflattering" that might make you feel bad when you see them. Instead workout and eat healthy because it makes you feel good, not as a punishment. Start loving and accepting your body at all angles with all your "flaws", instead of trying to fit into societies image of 'beauty' because that image isn't inclusive of all individuals, which is so messed up. Don't hate yourself just because of bad photos, they do not define you as a person. You look the best when you're living life to the fullest and happiest. There's no point in missing out on things and stressing yourself out so much. Life isn't meant to be a competition on who can look the best and we should normalize not having to "look perfect" all the time because it's a ridiculous concept. You are perfect the way you are 🌴☀️ ------------------------------------------ . . . #instagramvsreallife #beforeandafter #lawofattraction #bodypositive #bekindtoyourself #lifeisgreat #dowhatyoulove #veganbooty #youareenough #progressnotperfection #bodyimage #vegansofig #girlswhoworkout #selflove #youarebeautiful #veganfitness #loa #fitnessjourney #bopo #bodyacceptance #bodyconfidence #effyourbeautystandards #bepresent #justbe #moderation #balanceddiet #staypositive #thinkpositive

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Though the photos were taken minutes apart, Puhto’s proportions look completely different in the two shots, which she says is a reminder of how dramatically camera angles and posing can affect your appearance in a picture.

“If I saw the photo on the left a year ago I would've instantly thought so negatively about my body, that all my hard work from working out was nonexistent,” Puhto captioned the photos. “But the thing is is that all bodies look different. Nobody's booty looks round and peachy from all angles. Nobody's body looks the same from all angles.”

In short, a single photo can never truly capture how you look, Puhto says, so you shouldn’t be hard on yourself for how you appear in one image.

“Don't eat less or miss out on your favorite meals/drinks or over exercise to ‘look good for a holiday’ or to ‘look good in bikini photos’ because there will always be angles that are ‘unflattering’ that might make you feel bad when you see them,” she wrote. "Don't hate yourself just because of bad photos, they do not define you as a person. You look the best when you're living life to the fullest and happiest."

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Women strip down to embrace their beauty ahead of swimsuit season

Play Video - 5:31

Women strip down to embrace their beauty ahead of swimsuit season

Play Video - 5:31

Puhto, who is from Finland but is currently studying in South Africa, often posts side-by-side images like this, showing the disparity between reality and so-called “perfection” on social media.

Bikini body 👙🌿 I'm sure we've all had that feeling where you're feeling cute at the beach but then you sit down and all of a sudden feel insecure and don't know how to sit without your tummy feeling oddly too exposed. The other day I went to the beach and would have slight moments where I felt like people were looking at my tummy and these feelings of insecurity where I wanted to hide my tummy because "it didn't look good" sitting down. But I realised that I was being silly and ruining my time at the beach and not enjoying it fully just because of this small silly thing. You really shouldn't feel that way! Everyone looks like this when they sit down! Nobody is judging you and even if someone was then that's a reflection of their inner insecurities, not yours. You are not fat. We all have fat, especially on our tummies and it's completely normal. And that fat does not make you worth any less as a person! Nobody has abs or a flat tummy 24/7 when they sit down. Don't let this idea ruin your time because it's completely normal! If you want to wear a bikini, then wear it cause life's too short not to wear what you want!! You look amazing so wear it with confidence and you'll radiate beauty! 🌴☀️ ------------------------------------------ . . . #bikinibody #bodypositive #lawofattraction #beachtime #insecurities #bodyposi #fitnessmotivation #positiveenergy #manifest #bodyfat #allbodiesaregoodbodies #bodyacceptance #selflove #bopowarrior #allbodiesarebeautiful #fitnessjourney #weightlossjourney #bopo #vegansofig #veganfitness #bbg #positivethinking #positivelife #positivemind #loveyourself #youareenough #youmatter

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When she started, she admits it was scary being so open and vulnerable about her body in such a public space.

“I was so nervous and almost didn't post it because I had no idea what kind of response it would get,” Puhto told TODAY Style in an email. “But now I don't get nervous at all because I tell myself that as long as one person benefits from seeing this post it will be worth it ... I know how horrible it feels to be insecure and dislike what you see in the mirror.”

Puhto’s recent post clearly struck a chord, racking up more than 12,300 likes on Instagram, and many women thanked her for her “gorgeous" and “uplifting" message.

All this positive feedback inspires Puhto to keep sharing her raw, honest photos. “[It] makes me so grateful that my posts can help others in such a positive way,” she told TODAY Style.

Photoshop vs reality 🌿 I wanted to post this because the other day I saw an instagram post by a celebrity who had clearly photoshopped their body to make it look more curvy (the tiles behind them were curved). I'm not gonna name anyone because I don't want anyone to come at me, but I see tons of people do this. I know people always talk about this and I know there's nothing I can do to change it. All I want is for people to know not to ever feel bad about their body when looking at someone else. I used to feel this way and always wanted a more curvy waist like you see all over social media now a days. But it's silly to want that. It takes 30 seconds for me to photoshop this image on the right on a free app, but it can take someone a lifetime hating their body and wishing they had what all these photoshopped bodies look like. Please don't wish you had someone else's body. Love the body YOU have because there's nothing wrong with it. There's no point in wasting time wanting to look like someone else because the reality is that everyone is different and you will never have the same body as someone else. Start embracing everything you used to feel bad about. The beauty industry strives off our insecurities, and only shows so few body types, please don't let this make you hate yourself. Because being you and having confidence is what makes you beautiful, not what some beauty magazine portrays as beautiful. I hope you all have an absolutely amazing day, you deserve it! 🌴☀️ PS: excuse the clothing choice, I was feeling cute while trying on bikini bottoms while packing 😂 ------------------------------------------ . . . #photoshop #lawofattraction #bodypositivity #bodyshape #lifeisgreat #dowhatyoulove #bootybuilding #beautytips #beautyaddict #progressnotperfection #bodyimage #sweatwithkayla #bikinibody #vegansofig #girlswholift #girlswithmuscle #weightlifting #selflove #youarebeautiful #fitnessmotivation #screwthescale #weightlossjourney #beyou #beconfident #selfconfidence #embraceyourself #manifest #flaws #confidence

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Still, while she’s all for honesty when it comes to social media, Puhto notes that she doesn’t blame people for posting only their most flattering pictures online. We all want to present the best version of ourselves to the world, after all, and fitness and lifestyle bloggers are no exception.

“It's understandable that these fitness Instagrams would post their best photos because they want to show off all their hard work they put into reaching their goals,” she told TODAY Style.

Basically, she says, there’s no harm in knowing your best angles and posting your most flattering photos, "as long as the people following these fitness lifestyle Instagrams know that what they ... post on Instagram (isn’t) an accurate representation of reality.”

Thank you, Sara, for keeping it real!

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