While Instagram can be beneficial for a variety of reasons, many users of the photo-sharing app find the highly curated, edited, and posed avalanche of body shots to be somewhat stressful. With unrealistic body standards on the rise, many people can feel a lot of pressure when it comes to their looks.
So it appears almost miraculous when some Instagram influencers decide to show their followers the reality behind the super-staged snaps. This is exactly the case for Sara Puhto, 23, also known as ‘@saggysara’ on Instagram.
Sara’s whole ethos revolved around ‘body acceptance reminders’ as she teaches her followers: “Your body isn’t a trend, so don’t treat it like one.” Sara has made it her mission, with over a thousand posts on the platform, to share the tips and tricks that many influencers use to appear a certain way on the app.
Sara is here to reveal the truth behind picture-perfect Instagram photos, from posture posing and muscle tensing to clothing placement and lighting angles. Sara now frequently posts ‘Instagram vs Reality’ photos after starting to share her health and fitness journey online in 2015.
“I was posting fitness photos only, which consisted of me flexing my muscles and were all taken from my best angles,” she told Insider. Sara revealed that after joining the fitness influencer community, she began to feel ‘insecure’ because everyone else’s posts seemed to revolve solely around one thing and one thing only – working out.
She admitted: “It made me feel insecure and bad about my body because I was comparing my body to theirs.
“I realized that the photos that I was posting may have been making other people feel like this,” she added before revealing that she flexed in every single one of the photos and made sure to capture the images from the ‘best angle and in the best lighting’.
Sara decided to try something new when it came to social media posting because she wanted to make a difference. “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.
Sara made the decision to adopt a more ‘body-positive’ approach to Instagram just a year after she started posting about her fitness journey. She said: “I started posting more body-positive photos in October of 2016 and have been doing so consistently since then.
“It has helped me realize that many of us pose in certain ways to make ourselves look better in photos.” Sara explained that people ‘look different’ when they do things like ‘suck in your tummy, flex, stand up straight, and pop out your booty,’ noting the common poses used by influencers.
Also adding that no one actually poses or stands like this in reality, Sara explained that the staged positions are not ‘an accurate representation of how someone looks’. She noted that we are used to seeing images of ‘apparently perfect bodies’ alongside only the ‘highlights’ of people’s lives on social media.
“Social media is becoming more and more difficult to avoid,” Sara explained, “it’s difficult not to compare ourselves to photos we see on social media.” Instead, Sara promotes being ‘more transparent about falsities in photos’ to help people realize that the perfection they’re chasing ‘doesn’t actually exist’.
“We should learn to start appreciating ourselves for how we are naturally,” she added. The fitness influencer continued: “We see this false reality and try to obtain it, often forgetting that what we already have is amazing.” “These images are not a realistic depiction of bodies and the diversity of people in society. “We shouldn’t feel the need to change in order to love ourselves.”