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Instagram fitness star Sophie Gray opens up about why six-packs are out and body positivity is in — and gives her tips for self-love.
Sophie Gray is done with six-pack selfies. The personal trainer and wellness coach built an Instagram following of 400,000 with her food and fitness pics, but she recently had a change of heart. Take a look at her feed now, and it’s all about self-love instead of six-packs.
Gray’s aha moment came while she was globetrotting with her boyfriend. They were on a layover on their way home when she had a full-blown anxiety attack after ignoring the signs that had been building up.
“I’d feel shaky and nervous, but I shoved it down,” explains Gray. What should have been a 45-minute flight turned into a 38-hour cross-country drive when Gray physically couldn’t get on another plane.
“If you had looked on my social-media accounts, I was traveling around the world, I was sharing bikini photos, and it looked like I was having a really great time and I was happy,” says Gray. “But I wasn’t.”
We met up with Gray in her hometown of Edmonton, Alberta, where she shared her tips for finding your own empowering tribe on social media (it is possible) and what she’s focusing on instead.
1. Fill Your Feed With #BoPo (Body Positivity)
Surround yourself with people and messages that empower you. “I started to find amazing body-positivity accounts that are really empowering,” says Gray.
“There are tons of girls on social media that are being real and vulnerable, that are posting makeup-less selfies, that are showing their true, incredible, beautiful bodies for the world to see with no editing,” she adds.
Social media can promote a fake sense of perfection, but it also inspires and connects people who are willing to share honestly and authentically. “Social media can be a really positive thing,” says Gray, “when people are conscious of how their words and imaging affect people.”
“Having a good body is one thing, but if you don’t love and accept yourself it truly doesn’t matter." —Sophie Gray
2. Keep It Real
Gray says she started sharing her experiences to let people know they’re not alone: “It’s really isolating, and it can feel like there’s no one else experiencing this, but that is not the case.”
Her advice: Be real and be vulnerable. “I’m not slamming girls that post those kinds of [six-pack] photos. Maybe they’re authentically and genuinely happy, and that’s amazing. Share that,” Gray says. “But if you’re not and you’re putting that out there, it’s contributing to the problem.”
Being honest about what you’re going through will allow you to connect with other amazing people and remind you that you’re not alone on this journey.
3. Be Your Own Best Friend
“Having a good body is one thing, but if you don’t love and accept yourself it truly doesn’t matter,” says Gray.
Start by simply asking yourself questions and being honest with yourself. “You ask friends how they’re doing, but when was the last time you slowed down and connected with yourself and really showed up for yourself?”
Gray recommends keeping a journal or connecting with yourself through the mirror. “Look yourself in the eye and say, ‘I love you,’ and repeat your name. That’s a really beautiful way to help with that negative self-talk just by showing up and keeping at it,” according to Gray.
Remember, you are not deserving of love because of what you achieved or because of who you are. You are deserving of your own love and appreciation because you are a human being.
—Lia Haberman, Senior Social Media Manager