We’re all people. We all have flab. We all have angles that flatter us and angles that don’t. We bloat. We squish. And that’s okay. It’s easy to forget that when you’re scrolling through and endless stream of toned thighs and sports bras, so here’s a reminder – this time from Sophie Allen.
Sophie Allen is a personal trainer and nutrition coach, so she’s in pretty stellar shape. But she wants to make it clear that not even her tummy is flat every second of the day – and we shouldn’t be comparing our 24/7 bodies to one picture of someone else’s.
Sophie posted two photos of her stomach side by side on Instagram: One immediately after a workout, before having lunch, and one after a workout, but also after eating lunch and drinking water. As you’d imagine, a stomach filled with food and water won’t be as flat as an empty one. Behold:
‘If these help break the perception that most people have flat stomachs around the clock, then I’ll continue to post them’ Sophie wrote in the caption.
‘I believe normal is defined differently by everyone, but if the vast majority of people experience what’s going on in these photos (which they do), then it’s pretty normal!’
Sophie told metro.co.uk that she was inspired to post the photos after seeing similar pictures shared by other bloggers and Instagrammers.
‘I’ve seen a few other women post these, and always felt such a sense of relief and amazement when I saw them,’ she told us.
‘Like.. “omg I get that too, I feel more normal now!” If that was how I felt seeing them, I hoped I’d be able to spread that message and feeling to some of my followers.
‘I know so many people who experience this and it can be quite a lonely, disheartening feeling, thinking you’re doing everything right, but have this protruding belly for a lot of the day.
‘I post a lot of posed, flexed photos because I’m proud of my hard work, but I would hate for someone to think that I look like this all day every day, so bursting the bubble that is the Instagram highlight reel is really important to me.’
Despite being a super fit personal trainer with more than 130,000 followers, Sophie hasn’t always been confident in her body. After leaving school the traveling and drinking led to some weight gain, and Sophie couldn’t help basing her self-worth in her size.
‘My confidence and happiness was defined by my clothing size, the number on the scale, what I looked like in photos,’ she explains.
It was only when she began to focus on strength and health, rather than shrinking down, that Sophie changed the way she viewed her body. She’s learned to stop comparing herself to anyone else, and to remind herself how hard she’s worked to get the body she has.
Sophie was still nervous about posting a less than flattering photo on Instagram.
‘It’s so easy to fall into the trap of only posting your most flattering photos [and] angles for a few reasons.
‘It’s the fitness industry, I want my followers to know they can trust me and put faith in the advice I’m sharing.
‘We all want to look our best, this and other photos of me are on the internet in front of hundreds of thousands of people.’
But the supportive community Sophie’s found online gave her the confidence to be honest about her body.
‘I’m surrounded by so many incredible people, those following me are so supportive, encouraging and beautiful and I’m so lucky to have such a kind #girlgang engaging with me.
‘The positive comments and direct messages I receive make it so worthwhile.
‘I think (I hope) people mostly find it refreshing to see ‘real’ photos, to feel ‘normal’ in a world that classifies flat stomachs and box gaps as beautiful.
‘They’re standards that most of us can’t live up to 24/7, and we ultimately end up feeling not good enough because we don’t look like the fitness instagrammer who took the photo first thing in the morning before eating or drinking.’
Sophie wants to be a voice adding to the body positive movement, telling women to love their bodies without feeling the pressure of comparison.
‘We’re beautiful as we are,’ she says.