Instead of showing off photos of her body in minimal clothes and sharing workout videos, Sophie now posts inspirational messages about loving yourself and, in general, just keeps it real.
The Way of Gray blogger says she made a conscious decision to stop posting bikini pics after deciding she wanted to promote a healthier body image.
Instead of showing off photos of her body in minimal clothes and sharing workout videos, Sophie now posts inspirational messages about loving yourself and, in general, just keeps it real. Unfortunately, not everyone was on-board with that. Sophie tells INSIDER that she lost more than 70,000 Instagram followers after she went body-positive with her posts nearly a year ago.
Sophie says she decided to make the switch when she had a panic attack on a flight home while she was traveling. During that time, she took a good look at her life. "I had started noticing my resistance to being a fitness person, but decided to shove it down," she said. "I realized that continuing to be this fitness person, even though it didn't feel like me, was wrong. It was hard because I had built my following surrounding that image for three and a half years."
She touched on this theme in a recent Instagram post depicting her with a donut. "I understand that @wayofgray's old images may have been inspiring," she wrote in the caption. "But, I know those images were damaging for many...I was constantly worrying about my body image because my 'worth' through this channel depended on it." She added that the images she saw perform better with her audience at the time were those that showed her fitter, thinner, and "more perfect."
Now, Sophie tells INSIDER, her account “reflects who I am. It reflects my truth.” "I am proud of myself for sticking with it, even though from a vanity perceptive, it 'is less popular,'” she continued. “But, the impact it's having on people who have stuck around, makes it worth it. It's something I enjoy doing, again."
That doesn’t mean she thinks fitness accounts are bad—Gray says you should just be aware of how the people you follow online make you feel about yourself. "For me, the reason my account was a fitness one in the first place was because that's where I found acceptance,” she said. “I was needing to look for it outside of myself because I wasn't giving it to myself—but all we're ALL looking for is our own acceptance and love.”
Sophie isn’t the only Instagram star who has pushed back against unrealistic Instagram body standards. Anna Victoria, for example, has made a name for herself by posting photos of herself with tummy rollsand bloating to show that even fit people experience those things.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being proud of what you look like, and it makes sense that when you work hard to look a certain way, you want to show off the results. But, above all, it’s important to love who you are—not to try to achieve an impossible ideal.