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Health - Top Stories

An Instagram fitness star just called out the social media's body image problem — and urged people to unfollow anyone who is 'too perfect'

INSIDER logoINSIDER 2018-09-08 Lindsay Dodgson
a person standing in front of a brick wall © Sia Cooper / Instagram
  • Social media is full of pictures of people living their best lives.
  • But it's not always a real representation of someone's life.
  • It can be damaging to our mental health to constantly look at images of perfection.
  • According to Instagram fitness star Sia Cooper, who has 1.2 million followers, scrolling through highly edited photos just makes us feel like we're not good enough.
  • She wants her audience to know that imperfections are normal - you can still be fit and have cellulite.

Instagram is full of pictures of people living their best lives. That's what they want you to think, anyway. Social media is a place where we share the best of what's happening, while often cutting out the less glamorous parts.

It can be hard to avoid falling into the trap of trying to achieve perfection. Instagram fitness star and personal trainer Sia Cooper, who posts on the account diaryofafitmommyofficial with 1.2 million followers, called out how social media can make people feel like they're not good enough.

"When you go to a plastic surgeon's office, they mark your body just like this-depending on what you're having done. I know. I've been there once," she wrote in a post, which currently has over 22,000 likes.

"All of the markings represent what's not 'perfect enough' for us to accept on our own bodies whether it's breasts, nose, body fat, or even tummies. I remember sitting in the surgeon's office 7 years ago hopeful that bigger breasts would make me feel better about myself."

But cosmetic surgery doesn't make you feel better, she wrote, In fact, you only feel better when you start to accept the things you shouldn't be changing in the first place. If she could go back and tell herself at 21 that she didn't need to have a breast augmentation, she would.

"I would tell her that it wasn't worth it. I would hug her. Cry with her. I would tell her that she was beautiful and didn't have to do this," she wrote.

When you go to a plastic surgeon’s office, they mark your body just like this-depending on what you’re having done. I know. I’ve been there once. All of the markings represent what’s not “perfect enough” for us to accept on our own bodies whether it’s breasts (🙋🏽‍♀️), nose, body fat, or even tummies. I remember sitting in the surgeon’s office 7 years ago hopeful that bigger breasts would make me feel better about myself. Cosmetic surgery doesn’t make you feel better though.. you only feel better when you start to accept the things you shouldn’t be changing in the first place. If I could go back and tell that 21 year old girl awaiting her consult for a breast augmentation, I would scream at her that she’s perfect. I would tell her that she does not need to be cut into like a slice of meat. I would tell her that it wasn’t worth it. I would hug her. Cry with her. I would tell her that she was beautiful and didn’t have to do this. Why am I posting this? Because millions of females and males struggle with the alluring idea of getting nipped and tucked. They make it look so glorious and amazing! But what if I told you that women who get breast implants are statistically 4 times as likely to commit suicide after? You would think otherwise, right? Since getting surgery, my depression and anxiety has worsened. The ability to accept myself has worsened because it makes you want MORE. This might be a triggering message, but I urge you to love yourself. No body deserves to be marked on as if it needs changing. It’s degrading and it’s never a good feeling. I’m not totally against plastic surgery, but I can’t say that I’m really for it anymore. To each their own. But I want you to look good and long at this photo noticing the cut lines. It’s sad isn’t it? We feel so much pressure to be perfect because plastic surgery is the norm. Yes, implants, fat transfers, liposuction, nose jobs, eyebrow lifts, and even chin jobs are the NORM for many Instagram influencers and people in general. THIS is why I urge you to never compare. Unfollow anyone that is “too perfect” for you. Follow those who do good for your mental health. You’re worth it! YOU DO NOT NEED FIXING.

A post shared by SIA ALEXIS COOPER🦄 (@diaryofafitmommyofficial) on Sep 4, 2018 at 5:38am PDT

Cooper told INSIDER she thinks the obsession with perfection comes from social media itself and the people we choose to follow. If you're constantly scrolling through pictures of people who Photoshop their images, you're always going to compare yourself to something unattainable.

"If all you see is a perfectly flawless face and body, you will end up looking at yourself asking questions such as 'Why aren't I that thin?' or 'Why do I have so much cellulite?'" Cooper told INSIDER. "Comparison is the thief of joy yet we do it to ourselves every day."

Instagram stars use Photoshop, Facetune, special lighting, and poses to make their photos look as flawless as possible. With apps and clever tricks you can get rid of stretch marks, scars, acne, while slimming your waist, hips, and thighs.

"I used to edit my images after the birth of my son," said Cooper. "I would airbrush my cellulite specifically because the people who I chose to follow seemed so perfect and I felt the need to be that same way."

Being in the spotlight was also hard, she said. Because she's a personal trainer, Cooper felt the pressure to appear in the best shape.

"It was not until the birth of my daughter that I realized what a disservice I was doing to the female and male population," she said. "I stopped editing. I started posting real live vs IG photos to show the tricks I used to use. I now ask myself prior to posting: 'What would Everly (my 2 year old) think?'"

With such a large following, Cooper said she feels a responsibility to people who are struggling with their body image - as do other social media celebrities. That's the aim of the pictures she posts about how people hide their tummy with high rise leggings, and what her abs look like first thing in the morning compared to the evening.

"As a personal trainer, I have realized the importance of mental health and how social media can dramatically affect that," she said. "I want my audience and every woman to know that you can still be fit and have cellulite. These features that have been deemed as flaws are actually pretty normal."

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