And its changed the way I see myself
I hadn’t spoken to her for a couple of weeks, which isn’t unusual for us. Until I noticed on her Snapchat she was on a flight to Turkey. I figured she’d gone on a spontaneous trip with her boyfriend, again not unusual. I thought nothing of it. So when I noticed she was now back in the country I called her to ask her all about her holiday.
‘Okay, so I know you’re gonna think i’m mad, but I got lipo on my stomach and hips and got a nose job. Do you think i’m crazy? Let me send you before and after pictures!’.
Within seconds our Whatsapp conversation was now filled with pictures of her scar covered stomach and her bruised up nose. I was speechless. She’d always gone on about how she was going to get a nose job when we were younger, but I never thought she’d actually do it. And liposuction, where did that even come from?
‘It was just taking too long in the gym, I just don’t think I can actually get a flat stomach through working out, you know?’.
Her getting liposuction and a nose job wasn’t necessarily surprising. After her lip and cheek fillers the year prior it wasn’t something that had blindsided me. What did surprise me however, was how it changed my view on people physically. After getting her surgery she began posting pictures of herself in gym clothes which showed off her new slimmed down figure. I would read comments of people telling her how amazing she looked and asking how she did it, to which she replied ‘weight loss and make up’.
It was then that a part of me stopped taking my favourite fitness influencers at face value. Thats not to say that they aren’t working hard and that their physiques aren’t achieved through their own efforts. But what it does mean is I’ve spent my whole fitness journey looking online for inspiration and wondering why I can’t look like every fitness model on Instagram, when the truth is I’ve been aspiring to a false version of reality. With the endless edits and filters and kept quiet surgery, all of which we completely disregard when seeing these pictures, it is doing more to counteract our progress in improving ourselves than anything else. Its more than just no longer trusting everyone who preaches about their lifestyle and success, which admittedly was and is a part of it for me, but its also about recognising the trap we all too often fall into when looking for change. We turn to the internet, despite knowing most of it is comprised of a fabricated version of reality, we allow ourselves to question words but so willingly believe pictures.
I decided then my only comparison is myself. My unedited, unfiltered and unaltered self. The before and after pictures online are no longer what I use to hold myself accountable. I’d rather focus on creating my own transformation pictures, with the importance being on whether the difference between them is an improvement in myself, not just physically, but as an overall better individual than I once was. I no longer sit and disect whether my waist looks slightly slimmer now than in a picture from 6 months ago. I want to see whether my smile is bigger now than it was 6 months ago. For me, that is the kind of transformation I hope to achieve.