Most of us are privy to body shaming in some fashion—whether we’ve experienced it or witnessed it. Take it from female fitness professionals who are held at an even higher standard: One little “imperfection” in a picture can set fire to a slew of Internet hate.
When we stumbled across this article by Molly Galbraith, co-founder and owner of Girls Gone Strong, about her new Love Your Body Challenge, we had to share an excerpt. Galbraith has left her extreme figure competitor and powerlifting days behind her, and she’s now helping women look and feel their best while falling in love with their bodies.
Below, three female fitness professionals reveal how lighting and angles can make a major difference in photos, proving that even incredibly fit people can have cellulite, stretch marks, and loose skin.
I have so many “perceived imperfections,” from my belly when I sit down, to my booty full of cellulite, to my stretch marks and loose skin, to my incredibly small eyes. After looking at them through the eyes of a stranger, I’ve decided that they actually aren’t that bad after all.
This is the difference between good lighting and a flattering angle (left) and bad lighting and a horrible angle (top right). Oh, and a little loose skin, stretch mark combo for good measure.
These pictures were taken in the spring of 2015 after spending a few hours at the beach. I took a picture of my abs and then turned around and took a picture of my butt.
I have great abs—abs that other women probably look at and admire. But in the past, I was so bogged down with feelings of perfectionism and comparison, I chose to disregard this altogether. The truth is, while you might be comparing your abs to mine, I’m probably comparing my legs to yours.
The thing is, this is my body—not some sort of Mrs. Potato Head that can interchange its pieces. I’m not a Frankenstein monster made up of different parts. I’m a whole person. Yes, there is cellulite. And yes, there are stretch marks. But there are also so many other things to me—I am not my cellulite and stretch marks!
3. Jen Sinkler
Like 90 percent of women, I have cellulite, and I have since I was just a little scrap. I was fit then, I’m fit again now (and a hell of a lot stronger too). But now I dare to wear short shorts (cue that classic Nair jingle). And often.
What changed besides my clothes? My attitude about what I “should” look like.
These two photos were taken the same day, during the same shoot for my apparel line. The light coming through the skylight was a little softer in the one on the left, and it didn’t feature the backs of my legs, complete with my cellulite on blast. Plus, it was right before the launch of my e-book on conditioning, Lift Weights Faster.
Would it hurt sales, I wondered?
But then, hot on the heels of that thought, came a resounding “F*** IT.” Because my responsibility as a woman who works in the fitness industry to demonstrate that you can be fit and pitted drowned out any reservations.
To learn more about the Love Your Body Challenge and read the full article by Molly Galbraith, click here.