This Fitness Guru Photoshopped Herself to Prove a “Perfect” Point

    I don’t need to tell you that most women, young and old, struggle daily with their body image.

    We know we have our insecurities, we know our friends have their insecurities. And that’s all to be expected, isn’t it? Because we’re all just “regular folks,” and regular folk struggle with their regularity. That said, all we have to do is scroll through our Instagram feed to see women for whom that’s probably not the case—right?


    Of course there are women we see, admire and yes—sometimes resent. The models, the fitness gurus or the social media celebrities we don’t dare classify as “normal” like ourselves.

    But they are, which is to say that they grapple with obtaining that perfect body just as much as those of us who aren’t waking up to thousands of “likes” or comments on our “selfies.” Because there is no real winning in this day and age for us ladies. That is, if we’re playing the game. And that game looks a little something like this:

    We drop 5-10 pounds? We’re too thin. Our chests are too flat. 

    We gain a few pounds? People ask if we’re “okay.” Careless strangers respond with negativity or cruelty while wearing their “internet armor” in a very public, and humiliating way. In other words, “the perfect body” is always just out of reach, at least as far as so many (too many) of us have come to understand it, because no matter our shape and size there will always be criticism flung our way.

    And thanks to a recent experiment, we have proof. 

    Check out the image below (you can click on it to see the original Facebook post):

    Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 12.15.48 PM

    If you’re having trouble reading the comments, here are just three:

    • “her waist and thigh gap I need that”
    • “you look anorexic now tbh”
    • “still too fat”

    Now take into account the fact that this image has been photoshopped—photoshopped so as to achieve “perfection.” Below, the woman in the photo (and the video we led with) who is, in reality, a very healthy and athletic personal trainer explains why:

    “I’m so happy that many of you clicked over to watch my short film when you saw my new “perfect” body. You experienced the most powerful video I have ever created. You saw me strip down my confidence and self esteem. You saw me raw. Hurt. And vulnerable. For those who haven’t seen it yet, click here:

    I wanted to post again because there was a weird phenomenon that happened when I posted this photoshopped picture. On the very same photo, I got some people praising me and others degrading me.

    What worries me is this: 1. That some people think this is real and that it should be “goals.” 2. That some people still think it’s not good enough.

    It’s tough knowing what’s real and what’s not when magazine covers and music videos are photoshopped (yes, music videos), Instagram pics are photoshopped, and so many women are getting surgery. How are we to know what kind of beauty can be naturally achieved when everything around us is so deceiving?

    If you want to know what you can do to help stop body shaming, all I ask is that you share the video with at least 1 person. That’s all.

    I hope you guys liked it. I love you. Stay beautiful.”

    Today, we’re grateful for this woman (who braved some serious digs, by the way) for taking a very personal stand against body shaming. On one hand, her experiment is disheartening. On the other hand, it’s an exceptionally powerful reminder that your struggle and my struggle with “perfect” is every woman’s struggle.

    So—what can we take away from all of this?

    • The perfect body does not exist. Perfect women don’t exist. And chasing an illusion is not only exhausting, it will distract you from living a life that is happy, healthy, and most importantly—good.
    • Praise can be just as harmful as criticism. Be generous and open in your love and admiration of one another, but celebrate women in a way that will not strengthen our own chains. Tell your friends they look magnificent, don’t focus on the gap between their legs. Acknowledge their healthy lifestyle, don’t transform them into a standard.

    Now, as a woman of faith, you may already have confidence in the way God created you—you may see the work of the ultimate artist when you look in the mirror. But not all girls are so lucky–they’re simply not “there” yet. So, extend your hand and help pull them towards a purer understanding of beauty. The spirit of women everywhere will be better for it.

    Like what you’ve read here? Well, Nicole’s BRAND NEW book is up for pre-order and contains so much more of this. Pre-Order today and receive some fun FREE gifts!


    1. I am sort of amazed no one has commented on this post yet. So, I guess I’ll be the first. I think this young woman was very brave to step out and address a serious issue in our society today. We base true outward beauty on what technology can create, not what our bodies (at their healthiest) can.

      I’ve also come to another disappointing realization: outward beauty fades. We are not of this world, and starting the day we are born, our bodies are wearing out. After all, we are using them 24/7, and they are not permanent. They are a vessel in which God placed us to navigate this world for the time we are in it. When we invest ourselves too heavily in our outward appearance, it is, indeed, a lost cause.

      I am not saying that we should not take care of our bodies, or not care what we look like. After all, as Christians, we are temples of the Holy Spirit which dwells in us. We should take care of ourselves for that purpose; however, when we allow our outward beauty to trump our inward beauty–the true beauty that lasts forever–we have lost ourselves.

      I have met elderly women, the sweetest ladies you will ever meet, but they are not beautiful anymore. Not physically. Their skin is starting to sag, their form is becoming frail, their hair is thinning. But people still love these ladies, people adore them. Why? Because they are divas? No! Because they have a radiant spirit that shines past the wear and tear of this world. They are gorgeous in a way that make-up, name brand clothes, and the latest hair style can’t pull off.

      I want to be radiant. I want to shine beyond my outward body, the one that ages, and eventually dies. God promises that when we get to heaven, we will be given each a new body, one that will never age, never fade, never die. Then, we will be beautiful because we will be clothed in God’s glory.

      Right now, in this moment, I need to cultivate my inward beauty. Because that is the beauty that will never leave me.

      • A-freaking-men, sistah! I used to be overweight and I was always being told how I needed to lose weight and how I wasn’t healthy or pretty, so I started eating less and less every meal. Without realizing it, I started skipping breakfast and eating less than I should have been. While this along with my growth spurt caused me to lose a lot of weight, I was soon TOO skinny- I could see my ribs without sucking in. It was then that I realized, it didn’t actually matter. My hair, my body, my eyes, my legs, my stomach, my smile, and my teeth, they were all made by a perfect and loving God who 100% knows what he’s doing. If he, a perfect and loving God, made ME, a mortal finger on the hand of His body, what gave me the right to try to change myself?

    2. One of those comments on that picture bothered me a lot more than the others. There’s the one girl that wrote “Shes seriously starving herself and working out more, I wish I had your Will power.” Maybe in that comment she meant the working out part, but I’m guessing she was referring to both.

      Are you wishing you were starving yourself?
      Are you wishing you were “strong” enough to have an eating disorder?

      Because as someone who struggled with anorexia for most of my senior year of high school and the summer before college, let me just say that is not something that should be measured as strong. My anorexia was more than just “I want to be skinnier.” I was using my lack of eating as a coping mechanism for other emotions, like depression and insecurity. I was sad and anxious all the time, so I never felt hungry so I never ate. It got to the point where I’d conditioned by body to start rejecting food, and eating became a chore. Even after I started getting better, I’d still get sick if I ate more than once a day because my stomach wasn’t used to it. It took most of the first semester of college before I could eat normally again.

      Eating disorders are not a sign of strength. For me, not eating was easy. It was easier than dealing with my emotions and insecurities. It makes me sad to see that there are people who glamorize such diseases, because suffering through it was one of the most horrible things I have gone through.

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