It's easy to get caught up in the spiral of losing weight, especially when social networks like Instagram provide such a platform of high standards for us to constantly compare ourselves with. It's easy to get caught up in unattainable aspirations, which is why this post from nutritionist Alexis Poole is so important for bringing us back down to reality.
Alexis, who's a fully trained nutritionist working for health start-up Spoon Guru, told Cosmopolitan UK she's had enough of being asked for advice on weight loss and "how to get that perfect 'summer body'." But rather than just grumbling about the pressure women (and men, for that matter) place upon themselves to shed pounds, and wishing it was different, Alexis went one step further by posting a picture of herself "feeling my most vulnerable and unconfident" on her Instagram page to make an important point.
Sharing a picture of herself wearing a bikini, Alexis bravely exposed her body online and wrote a pretty awesome caption to go with it.
"This is me, my most vulnerable, most exposed body", wrote Alexis. "I don't have visible abs but I guarantee I can probably out plank a few people who do! Not to mention that my cardiovascular fitness and general health is pretty good."
The nutritionist went on to explain that her "outer appearance is by no means an indication of what lies on the inside, be it my strength or my health. And that is the reason for this post."
Describing how frustrated she is with the "obsession around weight loss", Alexis revealed that she, too, has "spent many years fretting over how to achieve my 'ideal' weight". But not anymore.
"I never got there," she said. "Or so I thought. We're lead to believe that once we're at a smaller weight we'll be so much happier. I couldn't have got this more wrong. At my smallest, I was probably my unhappiest and, my friends will also tell you that I didn't go out, I was antisocial, I didn't drink and the gym was my life."
Nowadays, Alexis has decided she just wants to be healthy, and she doesn't care how that manifests itself aesthetically when it comes to her body. When asked by people at the gym what her weight loss goal is, she tells them she's there purely for enjoyment and for stress relief. She loves food, and balances the meals out in restaurants (and the booze) with the healthier ingredients she needs to help her IBS.
And most of all, she's happier now.
"I'm content with how I look," Alexis wrote on her post. "People have their own stories, people have their own relationship with food and the way they look. Don't judge, be happy, and please don't think the only way to be healthy is to diet and lose weight!"