While Instagram and other social media sites can be a great source of fitness inspiration, they can also really make you feel pretty down about yourself if you're not careful.

After all, when your feed is full of people who look like models, celebrities, and actual models, it can be pretty easy to look at yourself in the mirror and wonder how you measure up to those people.

Of course, life on social media is a game of careful curation and it's important to note that what you see isn't always an accurate depiction of the realities of other people's lives. Still, when people are posing on the beach in some far-flung location, looking absolutely gorgeous and totally slaying, it's hard not to get a little bit jealous.

But 20-year-old blogger Sara Puhto has made a huge following by doing the extra opposite. Rather than sharing all the very most beautiful photos of herself, she shares side-by-side photos of her looking like an Instagram beauty queen versus her body without sucking in/posing/editing. And it's really illuminating!

The captions that Sara chooses for her photos are filled with such warmth and positivity it's impossible not to be won over by her happy-go-lucky brand of body confidence!

Self care

If I flex really hard and am in great lighting I have 3/4ths of an ab
As I've been on holiday, I've been eating everything I've wanted because I visited a new country and found so much delicious new vegan food to try! I didn't want to restrict myself from eating these foods because I don't get these kinds of foods here in South Africa so obviously I had to enjoy it while I could!! I regret nothing, even though I have gained a bit of fat and have been breaking out on my face! But since I'm back in South Africa now I've decided to indulge in a bit of self care to get myself back into a positive and healthy way of living. Today I've already done my eyebrows, put on a face mask and made myself feel all dolled up by putting on a bit of red lipstick Also I'm gonna get back into my usual workout routine and eating a lot healthier than I used to. This doesn't mean I'm going to fully cut out junk food, I'm just going to eat more intuitively!
If you're also going through fat gain and feeling sluggish due to a bit of overeating of junk food, please don't beat yourself up. That's the last thing you need! Just stay positive, keep loving your body, and practice self love so that you can start making your body feel better! Whether that's eating healthier, working out or just throwing on a face mask and taking a bit of me time you never need to feel bad about fat gain, it's a thing that happens to everyone and is reversible if that's what you want! Just be patient, keep positive and put in the effort!
I hope you all have a lovely Monday and a great start to the week!
Body positivity
I used to be terrified of looking like I had extra weight on me. I'd do everything to appear smaller, suck my tummy in and try and flex whenever I noticed someone was looking at me. I was so ashamed that even though I workout a lot, I still had extra fat on my tummy. I thought people would judge me for that and think "she isn't working out properly or eating properly". But you know what? I am. I'm doing what makes ME happy. I'm not here to please other people. Your life is meant to be lived for you, not anyone else. I know that you are your own worst critic, but that needs to stop. You are doing so amazing. Look at yourself in the mirror, look at your insecurities and tell that voice in your head to shut up and stop telling you that you're supposed to be insecure about those things, because you are beautiful! There is nothing wrong with your body.
Posting a photo like this is still weird to me, In the past I would never have posted these photos because I wasn't wearing any make up, my double chin is showing and my tummy looks weird. But there's no point in being so harsh on myself. I now know that there's nothing wrong with being the shape I am. This is how I look naturally and I'm proud of it. People come in all different shapes and sizes, there is no "right size" to be. So please don't be so hard on yourself. Stop picking apart photos of yourself where you think you look bad! Because you don't! People in ads are always photoshopped and have photos taken from their best angles. That isn't real so please don't use those photos as motivation because they're unrealistic. Just love the skin you're in and you'll be so much happier!! I hope you all have a lovely and positive day
Transformation Tuesday
Progress from January (after a holiday) to April!
I haven't posted one of these in aaaages, but wanted to today cause I feel like my muscles have progressed in the past few months I almost didn't want to post this because it was so hard to get the same lighting and angles as the before photo, but I tried my best with what I had and literally took 103 photos to make them similar
The difference between these photos workout wise is that I increased my weights from 10kg to 17kg, cut out cardio days (because I walk so much at uni- I get 10,000 steps everyday whereas before I'd barely hit 5000 steps) and started BBG again but I don't think it affects the change much because I've only been doing it for 2 weeks so far
It's nice to see progress cause I felt like I had plateaued in fat loss for such a long time and didn't realise I'd lost the fat I put on during my holiday in December! (Mostly because I've still been eating like I'm on holiday ) But I personally think the best way to see progress is through the way you feel, yes progress photos work but they aren't 100% accurate majority of the time, due to so many factors such as posing, lighting, angles, if you've ate etc. Instead try thinking about how you feel, are you happier?
It's not always about the way you physically look, when I was looking my "best" (a lot thinner and my muscles were more visible), I wasn't mentally at my happiest point. Your best weight and body shape is when you are happiest! Progress doesn't always have to be physical, it can be mental too! And don't be disappointed if you aren't seeing progress, it takes time. Positivity and effort will get you there, don't give up!! I hope you get what I'm trying to say it's been a long day and I feel like I'm just rambling! But I hope you all have had a lovely Tuesday!

We're massive fans of Sara's inspirational brand of happy body positivity! Just look at how lovely she is!

Maybe if we see more of this social media honesty the world would be a way more cheerful place where people could respect each other and celebrate their achievements without comparing themselves to each other.

Featured Image Credit: Instagram

Jack Rear

Jack is a writer at Pretty52. His hobbies include charging admission at weddings and eating glitter. Rumour has it he was thrown out of Taylor Swift's squad for showing too much belly button.

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