Unsplash | Paul Hanaoka

Former 'Fitspo' Influencer Shares The Truth Behind Misleading Instagram Posts

"Fitspo" or "fitness inspiration" is an online movement fueled by social media influencers who share tips on working out, eating healthy, and staying fit. Sounds pretty good, right?

Unfortunately, this trend has lead to unrealistic ideals surrounding body image and fitness standards. One former fitspo influencer has been brave enough to speak out about her own experience. Amanda Lekland now uses her social media accounts to share a body-positive message and unravel common Instagram lies.

Amanda first went viral in 2015, thanks to the workout routine she did with her boyfriend.

Whatever exercise they would do, they would reward each other with a kiss. This led to viral fame for the pair. However, for Amanda, it wasn't a sustainable lifestyle.

They were working out a lot.

"For me, this wasn't healthy. It didn't make me love myself more. Quite the contrary. I became aware of every little detail on my body and obsessed on how to change it," she said.

Obsessive behaviors may be hard to spot, thanks to how we celebrate them in society.

As Amanda explains, fitspo can lead to obsessive habits, but since followers think their new routine is healthy, they get sucked into the lifestyle.

"You've spent years starving yourself. Or maybe you've been throwing up your meals. But now, you're strong and healthy. You're all about counting your calories and macros," she said.

It's easy to see the unhealthy habits, like starving yourself, but it's harder to see the damage overdoing 'fitspo' can cause.

It's especially hard because society often praises people for sticking with a dedicated work-out plan and diet.

"You're gaining some muscle and people around you applaud you for your results. You are dedicated and disciplined," said Amanda.

For some, the fitspo 'cage' is dangerous.

Amanda refers to the fitspo "cage", meaning that followers can become trapped by the lifestyle and striving towards unrealistic standards.

"You are still obsessive about food, workouts and your body. You still have anxiety about missing one workout and don't allow yourself to eat certain types of food."

For Amanda, the pattern was repeating itself.

Now, she uses her Instagram to show the difference between Instagram poses vs actual reality.

A lot of Instagram fakery involves pulling up the sides of your swimsuit or underwear to hide your "rolls." I think it kinda looks like you have a perma-wedgie, tbh.

Besides her own personal experiences, Amanda now works in an eating disorder clinic and sees the negative impact unrealistic Instagram posts have on young girls.

"I can actually get so tired of social media sometimes. Since I work at an eating disorder clinic, I see the way young girls are so pressured to look a certain way it has gone too far," she said.

She still works out, but she does it to be healthy.

And in moderation!

"Your life is more than a workout. If you need a break, take it. The gym will still be there. Don't worry. Do what feels best for YOU!"

She stresses the importance of curating your IG experience.

"It is SO IMPORTANT to be picky with who you follow. You might not think that social media is affecting you, but if you're brain is exposed to perfection day in and day out... [Of course] that's gonna leave a mark," Amanda said.

Being a goofball is crucial.

"You have to remember that everyone chooses what to post. They have probably taken 200 photos that didn't make the cut."

That second picture is what I see when I accidentally open the front-facing camera.