As someone who looks to Instagram for foodspiration, inspiring quotes and all-around life hacks, it means a lot to have accounts I can go to for some real #fitspiration. Now I don’t mean people like Khloe Kardashian, Beyoncé or the IG celebs who might have surgically-altered bodies. I don't mean those who have been photoshopped and get paid to take pics with their waist trainers and their fit teas. I mean real people, people who are struggling, who fight every single day to maintain a healthy self-image and do not wage their self-worth on being thin. People who remind their followers that it's so important to love yourself. I want to see people I can relate to physically and mentally, because as much as I love following celebs (and trust me, I do), their stories don’t always inspire me. I just can’t relate to their circumstances. So, here are my favorite body positive Instagram accounts. They’re filled with activists, models, mental health warriors and all around awesome people, who remind me to take care of myself and teach me to forgive my body for not looking like a magazine cover. They are taking a stand against typical beauty ideals and normalize beauty in all shapes, sizes and colors. Most importantly, these IG accounts show me that body positivity goes beyond size and they provide me with more inspiration to love myself than any celebrity photos ever could.

1. bodyposipanda

Earlier this week I went to an event hosted by Instagram and Elle magazine to celebrate women who tell their stories on social media. There was a panel discussion, and when question time came I raised a shaking hand, and asked the most influential woman in the room what she thought about the toxic side of social media, and how much she worried about her daughters body image being influenced by what she saw. Her answer? Young people are smart nowadays so they can control how much the media affects them, they know what's real and what's photoshopped and we don't give them enough credit. Now, some of the most intelligent people I've ever known have been the ones to fall furthest into the depths of eating disorders and self hatred. So being smart has nothing to do with it. And sure, most of us can tell when an image has been photoshopped beyond belief, but that doesn't stop us comparing ourselves to it. We still get the message that this is the 'ideal', edited or not, and that we don't measure up. As for giving credit, let's give it where it's really due. To every person who survives another day at war with themselves because of the media poison that's seeped into their mind, convincing them they'll never be good enough. I left the event really disheartened, that someone who could actually change things would rather evade responsibility and avoid the truth. That smart, creative, extraordinary people are dying everyday for this. And while magazines and social media aren't the sole cause, they are a powerful part of the machine that works to reduce us to imperfect pieces, and sell us the solution. And denial isn't going to change that. To anyone out there struggling to find their self love, their recovery, I see you. I know you are smart, I know you are fighting against forces greater than yourself. Your struggles are valid, and your fight is a real one. So please, don't give up. And first steps? Throw away the things in your life that make you feel bad about yourself. Refuse to let them profit from a pain that they won't even acknowledge. You've got this. 💪💜💙💚🌈🌞

A photo posted by Megan Jayne Crabbe 🐼 (@bodyposipanda) on

2. mynameisjessamyn / jessamynstanley

We live in a society of instant gratification and I think many of us tend to expect that one day self-confidence will appear out of thin air. However, obstacles are how we grow stronger. Verbal + emotional bullet wounds make us better. Usually, people who've never been bullied evolve into hypersensitive adults who buckle under the slightest bit of emotional pressure. I am forever grateful for the people who showed me no mercy as a child, who made it their mission to let me know just how "fat", "ashy",and "ugly" I was in their estimation. Because of those "insults", I was forced to get to know myself inside and outside those descriptions. I didn't know it at the time, but those shitty experiences were tests of character & strength. And strength means nothing if it's not tested. Often, the test is waking up and going to school or work in active defiance of our oppressors. I guess what I'm saying is that it gets better. Really. If you're afraid to go to school tomorrow because your classmates make fun of you, or if you eat lunch in your car while at work because you can't stand the smirks and stares in the break room, believe me- it gets better. Building an internal fortress against those who mean you ill will is hard as fuck, but the payoff beats being a victim. So happy to be home tomorrow at noon, @durhamyoga! FYI, after 1/19, I'll be on the west coast w/ @nolatrees until late February for #mynameisnola West Coast Edition. I know, it's sad but look on the bright side- we'll see each other tomorrow and next week! (ALSO,HAAAAY NEW @codyapp FAM!!💋💋👊🏾👊🏾💪🏾💪🏾) Top- @purelimesport Leggings- @rainbeaucurves Fingers & Toes- @yogapaws (Fuck all the imitators, these are the real deal. I paid ~$50 for mine & they are worth every penny.) Photo by @lydiahudgens Also, @babyface_garza & @haddadtraining (& Everyone else) we'll be teaching #inversions+ #armbalances & #fundamentals in Portland, The Bay Area, & The LA area- click the link in my Instagram header for registration info! & @sophina1, click the individual date links for registration info! A photo posted by Jessamyn (@mynameisjessamyn) on

3. isupersheng 

I never saw a trans man on television or in a movie when I was a kid-- and I watched a LOT of TV. I never even met another trans man until I was 14. I had only ever met two trans women before. The first time I saw a trans man on television was Max from "The L Word." We shared a similar gender identity, but we looked nothing alike. What about my race? What about my ethnicity? Where were the Asian trans men? Did they even exist? For a little while, I was convinced that I was the only one. I knew there had to be others out there, but I didn't know where or how to find them. But then I met another Chinese trans guy. And eventually, I was connecting with other East Asian trans men on Tumblr and here on Instagram. But there was a good three/four years between meeting the one other Chinese trans guy and connecting with the others--three to four years where I still felt like few of us really existed. It's a crappy thing to feel like there is no one else like you. This is why I share my story. This is why I post about my journey. I've always hoped that it would help promote respect and acceptance, but it's more than that. Messages from other EA trans guys about how they're happy to have found more EA trans men to talk to, how they appreciate seeing EA trans men tell their story-- THAT is why I do what I do. Because I know what it's like to feel alone, to feel like you are the only one. I know what is to see people who are supposedly like you, but are really nothing like you at all. And I what it's like to wait to see yourself reflected in the media, but never to do so. I don't speak for all EA trans men. I speak for myself and for the kid I once was. #ftm #transisbeautiful

A photo posted by Leo Sheng (@isupersheng) on

4. effyourbeautystandards

5. nourishandeat

6. nadiaaboulhosn

Thank you for this interview @papermagazine! Link in my bio to read it. #papermagazine A photo posted by Nadia Aboulhosn (@nadiaaboulhosn) on

7. itsmekellieb 

A positively dazzling 60 seconds is now live on my @youtube 😝💋 Link in my bio! #video #ootd #outfits #lotd #bts #vlog

A photo posted by K E L L I E B R O W N (@itsmekellieb) on

8. endangeredbodiesnyc 

What makes YOU happy? Tell us in the comments below! #happynewyear #newyearresolution #bodypositive A photo posted by Endangered Bodies NYC (@endangeredbodiesnyc) on

9. gabifresh 

10. theashleygraham 

11. thebodyisnotanapology

#intersectionalbodypositivity #radicalselflove #thebodyisnotanapology #allbodiesaregoodbodies

A photo posted by The Body is Not an Apology (@thebodyisnotanapology) on

12. winnieharlow

@chekothari A photo posted by ♔Winnie♔ (@winnieharlow) on

13. bbwgeneration 

BE YOUR OWN WONDER WOMAN! TO: Single Mamas and Single Gals Your Super Man or Super Woman may still be out fighting crime OR making their way from another Galaxy... In the mean time... YOU STAND TALL and Be YOUR OWN Super Hero/Heroine.... Because YOU ARE! 💥💪🏽 Behind The Scenes: Getting a CLEAR picture of this stance was a RIOT! My Son was laughing so hard the majority of the images were blurry... AND I was tied up in my corset so tight that when I chuckled with him I tipped back DOWN THE HIL BEHIND ME (you can't tell from the pic) and landed in a pile of hair and cape trying not to cry from laughing so hard and mess up my makeup! I had bruises and sore ribs once this shoot was over! My GREATEST Valentines are my Babies and knowing they will have these memories with me makes my heart EXPLODE! What a lucky gal I am to have them! ❤️ Happy #VDay!!! #BBWGeneration #wonderwoman #Cosplay #PSCosplay #Plussize #wonderwoman #DIY #Petite #Latina #Blogger #Over40 #Bloguera #TallaGrande #Cuarentona y Que!

A photo posted by MizLiz (@bbwgeneration) on

14. thechristinecho 

Today we're discussing a favorite feature of ours. A feature that I have long hated, but am learning to love are my breasts. Let the slut shaming and objectification begin... Since I first started developing them, I've been shamed for having them more times than I can count. Like as if it were my fault they manifested to such a large degree! I couldn't fit into button ups or most tees for my size because designers didn't anticipate most 14 year olds being a DD/DDD. So I wore band tees cut for men until I was 16 in my last year of high school when they implemented a uniform. Everyone had to wear polos or button ups. YAY! The two things that didn't fit! So I bought a lot of button ups and buttoned them halfway with a cami underneath. About two weeks into the school year, a student showed up in my first period classroom carrying a summons to the dean's office with my name on it. I'd never been in trouble a day in my life, and I was getting called to the disciplinarian. When I got there they basically said change into this ill fitting, smelly boy's cut polo or get in school suspension for the day. Yep, either I could taint my perfect record by standing up and saying it's bullshit that you're shaming me for having cleavage and sexualizing a 16 year old by saying any male I come into contact with would be too distracted to function, OR get shamed anyway by walking around in this gross shirt all day. I chose the second out of fear. Well it's been 8 years since then and I'm here to say FUCK YOU to Saint Cloud High School for body shaming a teenage girl with already such low self confidence, when she was doing the best she could to adhere to your dumb uniform policy. How many flat chested girls got called into the office that day for wearing a button up with a cami? I'm not ashamed of my cleavage or breasts anymore. My body is not indecent! A photo posted by ⚡️⚡️Christine Cho⚡️⚡️ (@thechristinecho) on

15. healthyisthenewskinny

16. philomenakwao 


17. marquitapring 

✨Stay fly✨ 📸 by @anastasiagphoto #IMGirls A photo posted by marquitapring (@marquitapring) on

18. goofy_ginger

I give love away freely. It's not because I'm stuck in some childish Disney fantasy, but because why effing not? The world is a nasty place, and there is enough hatred. I have a lot of love to give, and I see no reason why I shouldn't share it. I may not know you, but that doesn't mean I can't love. We may never have met, but you still hold a place in my heart. I tell my friends I love them, even if we aren't very close, and I absolutely mean it. I call them names like, "babe" "honey" "sweetie" and "darling", because to me it's a way of expressing my deep appreciation for their existence. My friends are used to being showered with hugs, kisses, and flirtations, because I'm so flushed with adoration, I can't help myself. It makes me sad to know that the world has made some people so bitter and hardened that the slightest sign of love makes them uneasy. I may seem over the top. I'm emotional, sensitive, and a little sappy. I'm that way because, even though I've seen terrible things, I know that we can counteract the evil the world with positive vibes and kindness! So, today, instead of worrying about not getting your loved ones a box of chocolate or a bouquet, show your love. Loving yourself and others is so much better than obsessing over meaningless material gifts. Let your aura be one of warmth, so when people enter, they feel at home. Be the light the world needs. #LoveYourself #Encouragement #BoPo #Feminist #AlternativeCurves #effyourbeautystandards #celebratemysize #bodypositive #pizzasisters4lyfe #positivevibes #allbodiesaregoodbodies #mybodymyrules #Empowered #riotsnotdiets #Confident #NobodyShame #SelfLoveWarrior #Happy #edrecovery #Empowerallbodies #Inspiration #GoddessVibes #Inspire #Beautiful #Girlgang #BodyPosi #BodyPositivity #Valentines #edsoldier #Valentinesday A photo posted by Cheyenne (@goofy_ginger) on

19. preciousleexoxo 

20. fatgirlflow

21. mandythered 

Yes!! #beyourself #nevertooold #plussizemodel A photo posted by Mandy Holverson (@mandythered) on

22. jordynwoods

23. positivebodyimage

Start with body acceptance, body love will come. #selflove #bodylove A photo posted by Positive Body Image 💞 (@positivebodyimage) on

24. jagmodels

25. honorcurves

Wear WHATEVER you want. WHENEVER you want to. #HonorMyCurves (via @behindyourback on Twitter / @mauraquint ) A photo posted by I am Honor Curves // 🇨🇦 (@honorcurves) on

26. MusingsOfACurvyLady

Every body-positive person sharing their story makes a difference to someone. I hope that like they have for me, these Instagrammers will provide some encouragement and real inspiration for you.
Photo: Giphy

Which accounts do you follow for body positivity and inspiration? Share with us in the comments!
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