In June, Instagram Influencer and Fitness Personality Kayla Itsines ruffled the feathers of moms around the world (remember, she has 12 million followers on Instagram, afterall) when she posted pictures of her abs just six weeks postpartum.
Were her abs flat? You better believe it.
Did she look like she did prior to having a baby? Absolutely.
So, why was this controversial?
A number of her followers, many of them moms, felt that she looked too fit in her pictures and that by posting these pictures, she was adding to the pressure that moms, and many women in general, already feel about trying to have the perfect body. Many of these angry fans spoke out in the hopes that she would be more honest and real about her recovery from childbirth, and stop making them feel so badly about themselves.
Kayla Itsines is the reason that moms feel badly about their bodies? Seriously? Give me a break.
As a Mind/Body/Emotions Weight Loss Coach, I have a real issue with the misdirected anger that is being hurled at Itsines. She is on her own postpartum journey and it is within her rights to choose to post whatever she wants on her IG feed. Now, would that be what I would choose to post? Probably not, because first, my abs would never look like that, and second, I would know that many women would interpret the pictures as being boastful and would feel resentment towards anyone who posted those kinds of pictures.
But is it okay for Itsines to be vilified in the media for posting these pictures? I think this type of body shaming is just as hurtful and detrimental to women’s rights and empowerment as any other oppressive act directed towards our gender.
Body shaming is the act of ridiculing or harassing an individual regarding the shape or size of their body.
It is time for people to take personal responsibility for where they are and to stop blaming others for how they feel. No one can make you feel anything …. each person chooses to interpret a circumstance in the way they want and develop their own thoughts about it. We all have the power to think positively about something or not, and our thoughts will dictate our feelings.
Those who choose to judge others should remember …. when you point a finger at someone, you have three fingers of your own pointing right back at you.
“When you judge me without knowing me, you do not define me, you define yourself.”
I would like to propose a better direction for these “followers” of Itsines to focus their attention …. if they aren’t liking their abs, or some other part of their body, make a plan to do something about it. I am in no way saying that anyone has to change, or that flat abs are the Holy Grail, but people should focus on themselves and how they can feel better and more positive about their own lives instead of fixating on what others are doing. And in the process, saying things to tear them apart.
“Let us seek to build others up, not tear them down.”
Itsines has the right, just like anyone else does, to live her life in a way that suits her and her child. Self-care is everyone’s right and no one should be crucified for giving themselves the gift of time and attention to their own needs.
To Kayla Itsines, I don’t know you but I respect your right to live your life in a way that gives you joy and makes you happy. If more people did things to take care of their own needs and didn’t worry about what others were doing, the world would most definitely be a better place.