Chasing the Perfect Instagram Selfie

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Polished, lean, perfect physique and down right gorgeous are just some of the terms to describe some of the owners of the most popular fitness-related Instagram accounts.  Accounts like those belonging to 2x Ms. Bikini Olympia Ashley Kaltwasser have more than 197,000 followers.  Using social media can be a great way to stay motivated on your goals and give that extra push to keep going when things get though.  Seeing the progress of others helps to confirm that if you keep pushing, great things are to come.

It’s also great to be able to feel connected with like-minded individuals, all giving something up to achieve a goal.  Seeing what someone eats; what exercises they perform and how that hard work pays off can be extremely beneficial during your path to a healthier you.  When someone around you or someone you see on social media is losing weight or looking great it is more likely to light your inner fire and get you to follow suit.  The question to ask is how obtainable are the lean bodies seen on social media?

Social media following can cause individuals to place judgment on themselves according to a survey in Glamour magazine conducted by Jesse Fox, Ph.D. and assistant professor at Ohio State University.  This same survey of 1,000 women ages 18-40 found that 64% of these women reported that looking at images of other women on social media sites made them feel worse about their own body image.  It seems to be easier for women not to feel as bad about their own body when looking at famous women (actresses, singers, etc) because we deem them unobtainable, assuming they have personal trainers, chefs, money and that the images are edited.  It’s easy for us to see Instagram women as real women with attainable results because most have full time jobs and busy lives but somehow they find the time to make changes happen.  They post pictures of chiseled abs, sleek legs and perfectly round derrières and you think to yourself if she can do it with out excuse so can I.

We are in an era of high tech internet-based living.  We go to the internet for everything; need a phone number – wait 30 seconds and Google it; who needs a phone book.  Want to know what to eat for dinner out of town, you can bring up all the restaurants in a 1 mile radius with reviews.  So why wouldn’t we go to the internet and social media for diet advice and to chase that dream body?  My journey started like this.  I was putting in hours at the gym and doing cardio and couldn’t understand why I didn’t look more “toned”.  So I started Googling “how to get toned”.  I came across pages and pages of information.  This is where I learned with proper nutrition and weight training I could get the body I was seeking.  I started to search Instagram to find other woman who were also putting in the hard work and to find woman who had already reached the goals I had set for myself.  I found account after account of the “dream body” I was working for.  My first competition, I followed these girls, always looking in the mirror week-by-week thinking “why don’t I look like them?”.  I ate the food and performed the exercises, but my bum certainly didn’t look like all the stage pictures I kept seeing of the other girls.  The day of my first competition finally came and (holy crap!) peak week is some sort of miracle.  You wake up on stage day look in the mirror with that amazing spray tan and (holy crap!) I looked like that girl on Instagram!

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Bikini competitor and sponsored athlete Kayleigh fell in love with weight training during her search for a healthier lifestyle. Wanting to challenge herself, she entered her first bikini competition and was hooked. She has become a master of making time to train and meal prep. Before competing she graduated with high honors with a bachelors in broadcast & journalism but after graduation chose a career in healthcare because of her love for helping others. Priorities for Kayleigh are making the time to eat healthy and train hard and she has a passion to share it with others. Her goal is to inspire and motivate others by sharing her fitness journey and experiences through progress, nutrition and workouts. Her favorite non-fitness thing is making others laugh. "As long as you have a smile on your face, everything else will take care of itself."

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