Picture Perfect

Even though the fitness profiles of Instagram are there to help other users stay motivated, they can have the opposite result.

All the pictures of tanned, fit and young bodies can unintended result in low self esteem for average people. Even those who actually care about nutrition and training can end up with low self esteem, because they only focus on the 1%, who are the fittest and have the best poses on all of their Instagram posts. The brain simply chooses to focus on the absolute elite and thereby “forget” the posts of those you actually can compare yourself with (menshealth; Instagram self esteem).

Many teenagers and young adults feel a pressure to look amazing on social media like Instagram, and afterwards in person as well because they do not want to appear completely different than on social media. The pressure to look stunning on Instagram is originated from to places.

One part of the pressure comes from other users’ posts on Instagram. Every Instagram user is constantly confronted with others’ beautiful pictures. These pictures could for example show a phenomenal journey from being overweight to a fit body.

View this post on Instagram

Tonights shout out goes to the beautiful Amber Marie and her success with our nutrition system. We are changing lives left 👈🏼 and right 👉🏼 and that's what gets me fired up every single day!!! ⠀ How motivated are you to crush some goals???⠀ …………………………………………………………..⠀ Amber shared: ⠀ "💕🤗💪🏼I'm so excited 💪🏼🤗💕⠀ I have absolutely fallen in love with these products, this community, and most importantly, with myself again. ⠀ The first picture is January 23, 2017. I don't look happy, because I'm not. The second picture is today! I look happy because I truly feel joy and love inside. ❤"⠀ #wellnesswednesday⠀ #nutrition⠀ #results⠀ #gamechanger⠀ #nutritionalcleansing ⠀ #bestlifenow #teamdeclare #transformation #motivation #gym #fitspo #fitfam #weightloss #lifestyle #instagood #gymlife #progress #health #fitnessmotivation #success #goals #fitlife #dedication #weightlossjourney #noexcuses #inspiration #healthy

A post shared by Regina Lawrence (@thereglawcoaching) on

Photo posted by @thereglaw on Instagram

When you, as a user on Instagram, are constantly confronted with pictures like these, it becomes the norm. It becomes the standard that every user tries to live up to what is posted.

When you take 20-50 pictures of the same motive, edit the best shot and post it, another pressure appears. For many, Instagram is not only for posting great photos. It is about posting pictures so great, they will get a massive amount of likes. Some users care so much about likes, that they will take down the picture again, if it does not get a certain amount of likes. Some users think that a small amount of likes equals that they are not pretty enough, thin enough – amazing enough to post on Instagram. This creates low self esteem and uncertainty about oneself (The Guardian; Instagram young women self esteem).

This extra self-awareness Instagram can create, can result in a very negative self image. When you always compare yourself with the best of the best others post, you are more likely to lose hope, and that extra roll on the stomach suddenly becomes a much bigger problem than it ever was. As an Instagram user you risk to get a self image, that are misleading because you are exposed to these perfect bodies all the time. You forget that these people are not living mannequins, who walk around being picture perfect all the time. You forget that they talk at least as many pictures to get the perfect shot, as you do yourself (Elle; How Instagram is ruining our self esteem).

People, who are overweight, can easily get the feeling of not belonging or not looking right if they use Instagram. Very few Instagram profiles show average bodies. Very close to none show overweight bodies. Instagram is filled to the edge with fit bodies.

Is there an overweight, who is brave enough to post a body picture, it is more the rule than the exception that they get body shamed. The comments could be “How can this person be happy with themself while looking like that?” and some users are even of the believe that it is completely accepted to comment degrading comments “because they choose themselfs to be overweight”. Apparently there are no space for diversity on Instagram.

Photo posted by @conversationswithstupidmen on Instagram


A healthier life with Instagram

Instagram is a media that is diligently used by fitness promoters, who want to motivate and inspire others to start their own fitness journey.

These fitness accounts often post pictures of beautiful fit men and women to make their followers visualise how they want their body to end up looking. The fitness accounts want to inspire their followers to continue the battle it sometimes can be to get fit.

View this post on Instagram

Relationship goals! 😍 Featuring: @selenapolefit

A post shared by Fitness Models 🌍 (@fitness_models) on

Photo: @fitness_models on Instagram


Before and after photos is one of the biggest trends on these fitness accounts. They give hope for those who still have a long way to go and makes the ones who are well on their way confidence. The before and after pictures create an illusion that everyone can make it if they are only persistent enough. Beneath most of these before and after pictures are the most incredible stories of how this person has translated and how hard they have fought to get where they are today. These stories often end with a short but precise message: “RESPECT!”

The comments usually follows suit and many comments only consist of one word: “RESPECT!” Some makes an extra effort and writes something like “Way to go! Respect!”

View this post on Instagram

@hashi88 I have always been overweight since childhood. Even through high school I struggled with my weight and had self image issues. During my first year of university I tried to change my eating habits to lose weight but had less or no motivation at all. With the stresses of university I ate really bad and continued to struggle with my weight. I have always wanted to dress nicely and have the curves to show off, but because of my overweight body it seemed a dream.Then one day a friend upload a group photo with me in it on Facebook , and I got really bad comments on my figure and how overweight I was. I was devastated and had a emotional breakdown. After that I decided to fully commit to losing the weight, so started eating healthy and going to the gym 6 days a week. After 10 months of fully committed to the diet and training, I lost 42 kgs. This change in my body further motivated me to keep going.I started to dress nicely and loved to show my new curves. This added further to my motivation. I trained harder and became stronger and fitter. My ultimate motivation is the results I see within myself and that itself is my inspiration. @hashi88 gwl . . Follow @great_weightloss_inspirations for inspiring stories, tips, humor and a possible feature💞 . . Tag someone, share and motivate!

A post shared by Great Weightloss Inspirations (@great_weightloss_inspirations) on

Photo: @great_weightloss_inspirations on Instagram


To help the followers progress the fitness accounts also post workout videos with the purpose of inspire the followers to try new and possibly more effective exercises they will be able to add to their daily routine.

It is these workout videos that will keep the followers on the account. The pictures of fit strangers are not enough to keep the inspiration and motivation up. When the follower already had had the “wow!”-experience and has started their journey towards the perfect body they have already build up a picture of how they want to look like. That is why the workout videos are perfect to keep followers to actually follow. They show new ways of reaching your goal and that is what you want.

Video: @fitness_junkie on Instagram


All of this online attention towards health and training has created a health spiral that has made more and more people aware of their physical appearance all over the globe. People who have never thought of exercise and nutrition before are suddenly very aware of what they do for their body.

The successful fitness accounts have made it more acceptable to be proud of your body and show your progress for the world to see. There are so many people out there showing their well-trained bodies and they should! Getting fit and keeping it that way is an accomplishment that is worth celebrating! It brings along a lot of positive attention and the respect we all crave from strangers on social media like Instagram.


The fitness accounts help people get in better shape by motivating normal people trough pictures of others’ process and ideas for hoe to make your daily exercise routines even more effective.


Here are some links to articles with suggestions of which Instagram accounts you can follow if you want to be motivated to build yourself a healthier lifestyle.




Please write a comment underneath if you have any experience with following and being inspired or motivated by the fitness accounts of Instagram or if you have any suggestions on accounts that are a must follow!