An Instagram model has caused controversy by moving away from fitness inspiration and bikini posts, causing her to lose 70,000 followers.
Sophie Gray has said she’ll never post a bikini photo ever again, saying the posts were ‘harmful’ to many.
She posted to Instagram to say compared to feeling fit, pizza and cookies are way better.
You no longer see pictures of my body this way on @Instagram for this reason. Having a six pack and thigh gap doesn't make you happy. Pizza and cookies are fucking delicious. And I'm sick of women being told they have to be anything other than themselves to be happy. I know I was in the #fitspo industry for years, and I still want you to care for your body – but ? this bullshit. You guys asked for a hashtag – so if you wanted to repost this with #fuckyourfitspo and @wayofgray – that would be amazing! Let's get this out to as many people as possible!
She posted this rejection of her former Instagram ways:
Having a six-pack and thigh gap doesn’t make you happy. Pizza and cookies are f*cking delicious.
And I’m sick of women being told they have to be anything other than themselves to be happy.
I know, I was in the #fitspo industry for years and I still want you to care for your body – but this [is] bullsh*t.
Have you been all levels of emotional lately? I cried in my shower this morning thinking about the ending of Wonder Women. I also cried uncontrollably for 15 minutes while hugging Rio because I know one day I won’t be able to do that. All of the emotions. Can you relate?!! If you have been going through something similar the past week or so, know you’re not alone. I won’t go all woo woo on you, but the moon plays a huge role in our emotional experience as women. It’s bizarre to me that I can have these crying fits, or deeper, more “I’m not moving from my couch for 2 days straight” experiences and in the moment think I’m so alone. But, when I connect with my girlfriends, I learn that they’re experiencing the same thing. This connection and ability to hear what they’re going through instantly makes me feel better. It doesn’t make me feel better because I’m stoked that they’re hurting. It makes me feel better because it shows me just how connected we all are, especially women. I’ll be completely honest… I have never had a great relationship with my female peers. My own insecurities left me feeling judged, insecure and shut down. It feels like as women we were trained to see each other as enemies, or competition. This couldn't be further from the truth. As of late I have been learning the absolutely necessity of finding people to connect with. I know it can take a long time to find girlfriends who lift you up, so I want to give a space for that right now. Is there something you’re going through that’s making you feel really alone? Or have you been crying uncontrollably about random things? I would love to hear your experience below. But, I'm making a rule.. if you’re sharing – connect with at least one of the other lovely ladies who have shared their experiences. Connect. Relate. Be vulnerable. This isn’t a place to vent or rant. It’s a thread to show up, be heard and connect. It's not about dwelling in these experiences. It's about allowing them to be heard and then instantly releasing them. Okay, go! Tell me what you're going through. Or, what you have been crying about recently. Share, and know it's a safe space to do so.
Sophie has seriously changed her lifestyle – she now eats pizza, ice cream, chocolate, donuts and all the other great things in life while still working out – balancing her diet to make sure she’s healthy.
She’s on a campaign to promote body positivity, posting a picture with the caption: ‘Self love over six packs.’
Her new approach has lost her almost 70,000 followers, down from 430,000 to 360,000, but since then, her following has slightly improved, and at the time of writing, she has 397,000 followers who are responding to her incredible message.
Today I had a moment where I was disgusted with what I saw in the mirror. Heart breaking. I haven't been working out like I used to. My body has shifted back to where it wants to be. For years I hated how my legs naturally looked. So, I worked out. I controlled what I ate. I did everything I could to shove my legs into a box that they did not belong in. In that moment I was reminded what it felt like to base your opinion of yourself off of how you look. In that moment, the very sight of my thighs erased all of the good in my life. The favour I did for my boyfriend? Pointless. The joy I felt while holding my baby niece? Didn't matter. The appreciation I feel for my life? Gone. My entire life revolved around the mere sight of my legs. But, FUCK THAT. No. No. No. I am not defined by my legs, and if I was, that still makes me awesome – because every inch of my outer shell is an absolute gift to this world. But, I am so much grander than my legs. I am important, worthy and incredible simply because I showed up to life. And so are you. I know what it's like to define myself by my body. I understand what it's like to be a slave to the scale. But, I want you to know, that at the end of the day those things don't define you. Your presence is needed here, and is wonderful. You are wonderful, just fucking wonderful. End of story. Period. That's it. That's all. You are a queen, love.
One of her more popular posts admitted to self harming when she was younger, as well as accepting her time obsessing with fitness, writing:
@WayofGray is for the girl, nine years ago, who touched a blade to her skin her the first time. It’s for the girl who felt as though her pain was out of her control and had to regain it through self harm.
It’s for the girl who looked in the mirror and only saw what she thought she lacked. It’s for the girl who didn’t want to exist within her body and her life anymore.
It’s for the girl who cried herself to sleep and carved permanent scars into her body.
While @WayofGray is only four years old, today marks the nine year ‘anniversary’ of what this channel is really about. @WayofGray started as a fitness page. If you have scrolled through my feed over the last year, you would have noticed a shift. The shift involves a whole lot of vulnerability, curse words and an obsession around accepting who you are. Within this evolution, I have uncovered who my work through this channel is really for. @WayofGray is for the girl, nine years ago, who touched a blade to her skin her the first time. It’s for the girl who felt as though her pain was out of her control and had to regain it through self harm. It’s for the girl who looked in the mirror and only saw what she thought she lacked. It’s for the girl who didn’t want to exist within her body and her life anymore. It’s for the girl who cried herself to sleep and carved permanent scars into her body. It’s for me. But, @WayofGray is also for you. It’s for you if you have ever, even for a split second, wanted to be someone else. It’s for you if you have ever wanted to be prettier, smarter, or more successful. It’s for you if you have ever just wanted to be less you. It’s for all of us. But, today I wanted to take a second to acknowledge the part of me that experienced that pain. So, thank you, younger @wayofgray. Thank you for having the courage you did. Thank you for choosing to keep on living, even through the pain. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
The post continued:
It’s for me. But, @WayofGray is also for you.
It’s for you if you have ever, even for a split second, wanted to be someone else. It’s for you if you have ever wanted to be prettier, smarter, or more successful.
It’s for you if you have ever just wanted to be less you. It’s for all of us.
Despite losing so many followers at the time, Sophie has gained another 30,000 who love the positive message which she’s advocating.
Your mental well-being is more important than the gifts, obligations, festivities and any other thing stressing you out right now. Can’t afford gifts? Give the gift of presence. Anxious about all the parties? Say no to some of them. Overwhelmed with the need to be jolly, even when you’re not? Learn to be okay with not being okay. Breathe. This time of year is about spending time with your loved ones, not the things stressing you out. Remember that.
It’s an increasingly common phenomenon of women eschewing the traditional airbrushed and edited lifestyle of a typical instagram model for the more realistic and body positive online presence.
This will undoubtedly have a knock-on effect on the young and impressionable people who are looking to people like Sophie for inspiration; it’s a wonderful thing they’ll find acceptance in those places rather than an unrealistic ideal which will undermine her sense of self worth.
Absolute hats off to Sophie and people like her!