Sara Puhto is an influencer taking posed and relaxed photos to show how different bodies can look.
Puhto says her content isn’t to shame those who edit images or pose but to be honest with followers.
Puhto told Insider: “I always thought I wasn’t working out enough or eating healthy enough.”
A content creator shares side-by-side images of her body while she’s posing and relaxed to show how different bodies can look on social media.
Sara Puhto is a 25-year-old influencer based in Finland who uses the Instagram name @saggysara and has over 412,000 followers. She’s been making fitness content since 2015 but quickly grew tired of posting flexed muscles from the best angles with the right lighting.
Puhto told Insider she would often feel bad after comparing herself to people online and didn’t want her page to have the same effect on others.
“I noticed that my body didn’t look like this 24/7 and decided to share my thoughts and what I really looked like most of the time,” she said. Puhto began regularly posting images of her body when it’s posed, such as sucking in her stomach, and when it’s relaxed.
Puhto described her content as “all about body acceptance and self-acceptance,” and said she wants to normalize not looking “Instagram worthy” all the time.
“I always thought I wasn’t working out enough or eating healthy enough,” she told Insider, adding that she thinks “only a small variety of different body types are glorified and posted on social media.”
By posting comparison photos, Puhto hopes to encourage people to be comfortable in themselves and not get caught up with how other people look online. With the thousands of likes her posts receive — such as an April post demonstrating how influencers can make their butts look bigger, which had over 23,000 likes on Monday — Puhto’s body-positive approach appears to be working.
While her online following is predominantly made up of women of all ages, Puhto said she hopes to reach impressionable teenagers in particular.
The message Puhto hopes to convey on her page is simple: “Your body isn’t a trend, so please don’t treat it like one.”
“I think my biggest wish is that younger teens and the newer generations see the message that I am attempting to put out there and don’t live their lives beating themselves up for their bodies existing naturally,” she added.
It’s not just restrictive ideas about weight and fitness that Puhto hopes to challenge with her posts. In March, she received over 21,800 likes on a post showing her body hair and razor bumps, and in November she got over 31,000 likes for a post highlighting how different face-editing apps can make people appear online.
As well as helping other people feel better in their own skin, posting honest images and starting conversations makes Puhto feel more confident too.
Puhto told Insider that there was a time when unrealistic body standards that are promoted online made her “spiral into a very unhealthy and maladaptive relationship with working out and eating” in the years between 2014 to 2017.
She said her posts also benefit her because she’s created a supportive community that she can turn to on days when she doesn’t feel great about her body.
“I just love doing what I’m doing because of the two-way support,” Puhto said, noting that the platform gives her more confidence.
Puhto said that editing apps have become prevalent among content creators but the body acceptance community tends not to use them.
“I don’t think it is prevalent in the body acceptance community as it goes against what we spread messages about,” Puhto told Insider, saying it was more of a concern in the wider content creation industry.
Some key signs that people can look out for are warps in the background and shadows that don’t add up, as well as filters that airbrush all faces to look the same, Puhto said. She caveated these observations by acknowledging that she isn’t trying to criticize anyone who does edit their images.
“Everyone is allowed to show up on social media as they wish,” said Puhto. “I just wish more people would state and be open and honest if they do tend to photoshop or edit their photos.”
Puhto still catches herself comparing her body to others online, but she’s developed ways of distancing herself from these feelings.
Puhto said she has personal boundaries in place for moments when she feels insecure. These include taking social media breaks or relying on “mental checkpoints.”
“If I’m feeling down about myself I’ll ask myself why, look at how much I’ve mindlessly scrolled through social media, and remind myself that everyone is allowed to show up in the online space as they wish,” said Puhto.
She added: “Comparison happens, it’s human, but I need to remind myself that it’s okay and I am my own unique self, and that is amazing.”
While the conscious decision to love herself is harder to do at certain times, Puhto accepts that every day is different and “self-acceptance is never linear.”
Read the original article on Insider