Posing for Instagram Selfies...don't believe what you see

Remember that one time I was on a roll writing 2 posts in one week? Yeah, that's a rare occurrence...practically a month ago. But that's life and that's how I roll. 

Like most of my posts, I'm not really sure where to start so I just go with the flow of where my brain takes me. Come on ya'll let's take a ride, don't you say sh** just get inside...anyone? Bueller? Moving along...

It's no secret, I like Instagram, always have and most likely always will. I love pictures and that's why I love Instagram (let's call it IG). I've met some pretty cool friends on IG, seriously! But IG can be bad for you, just like drinking an entire bottle of wine on a Wednesday night when you're all alone, or eating an entire carton of Ben and Jerry's ice cream when you're all alone...you get the point, right?! The latter two make us feel yucky, give us a stomach ache, maybe a hangover, maybe lead to more eating or drinking or questioning how we even thought those were good ideas in the first place. IG can be bad for you in the sense that it can also make you feel yucky inside, give you a stomach ache, make you depressed, make you always dream of the greener grass on the other side, and wonder how everyone has super clean mirrors to take flexing selfies in when you just cleaned your closet mirrors for the first time in a year. Hypothetically speaking. 

You may be wondering how does it make you feel all of those things? Well that's what I'm here to tell you. Back in the day (a Tuesday, in the winter of 2011/2012), I joined IG, and it quickly became a mostly fitness, with a side of life, focused account. It helped motivate me, encourage me, give me workout ideas, introduce me to people all around the US with common interests, and it made me realize that I have lived in homes with really shitty natural light that puts a damper on awesome selfies! Except for one spot in my current home, the little dining area, it has white shear curtains that act like a soft box and make for the most beautiful light...but ain't nobody got the space or time to bring in a full length mirror into the small dining space just for perfectly lit photos. :) 

See, pretty nice lighting in the dining room.

See, pretty nice lighting in the dining room.

I have no shame in my selfie game, I'm all for them, I've taken them, I will continue to take them as long as I have the desire to (as a side note: I do not endorse selfie sticks. I just can't. Ben and I have been taking selfies from when we first started dating in 2002 without a damn selfie stick and will continue taking selfies/usies without the use of one till the end of days)!! Anyways, I still follow a ton of fitness girls on there and love them and all their hard work. Maybe it's because I have some background in photography, lighting, and posing to understand how photos can be manipulated (without filters) to make someone appear slightly thinner, more muscular, or taller or whatever. I've played around with my phone camera and am amazed how a slight tilt in the camera angle can completely change a picture. And when we add perfect lighting and multiple photos to choose from, we see an amazing selfie of some beautiful girl that many women get depressed over because their abs will never look like that in real life. 

I don't know about these...I think I'm mostly flexing in the first top two, third I might be standing and wondering what I'm doing. Bottom left I've got some back tilt going on, then some real life squish in the bottom middle, and bottom right...tilted forward, flexing/sucking in belly, and trying to flex bicep at the same time, but that just wouldn't work. My brain was fried and would only let me do one thing at a time. Flexing and posing is hard...especially when you have no idea what you're doing. And yeah, you'll never know what the smirk was all about...did I fart? maybe. Did I almost pee my pants? maybe. Did I jump to the ground to prevent someone walking by the back windows from seeing me flexing in all my glory? maybe. You'll just never know I guess. 

I don't know about these...I think I'm mostly flexing in the first top two, third I might be standing and wondering what I'm doing. Bottom left I've got some back tilt going on, then some real life squish in the bottom middle, and bottom right...tilted forward, flexing/sucking in belly, and trying to flex bicep at the same time, but that just wouldn't work. My brain was fried and would only let me do one thing at a time. Flexing and posing is hard...especially when you have no idea what you're doing. And yeah, you'll never know what the smirk was all about...did I fart? maybe. Did I almost pee my pants? maybe. Did I jump to the ground to prevent someone walking by the back windows from seeing me flexing in all my glory? maybe. You'll just never know I guess. 

I experimented slightly...although in hindsight it would have been easier to have someone else do the photos because it would have taken way less time (I had to find ways of propping my phone up in the window sill and on a bed stand to get it at the right height...not an easy task) and I could have taken some awesome blooper photos of me trying to figure out how to flex multiple muscle groups at the same time without appearing as though I'm constipated. I took these photos in my bedroom, in 4 different spots...we have floor to ceiling windows in the room and then terrible yellow lighting near the bathroom vanity. You can see in the photos that a slight shift in light, body positioning, flexing, not flexing, slightly different clothing, different angles...and an odd smirk, make my body appear different. I'm pretty happy with how my body has changed over the course of the year, I've exercised because it makes me feel amazing, and I still eat pretty much whatever (one reason why I'm pretty sure I'll never have a six pack...as I sit here sipping on beer and eating a dark chocolate peanut butter cup from TJ's)...so I'm not saying I look terrible...all I'm saying is that I look different at each of the photos. Maybe more tone in some, maybe less tone in others, more deflated in some (skin doesn't unstretch too quickly after babies), but my point is that people on IG pay attention to what they post and I would wager to say that many are aware of areas of their house that have the "best" lighting for an ab shot. I'm not saying I don't get caught up in the trap of thinking holy crap that chick looks freakin amazing, why don't I look like that? But I'm very aware of it and squash those thoughts pretty quickly these days. 

Top left & middle are a few feet apart and you can see how different my stomach looks...nothing changed but some lighting and shadows. Top right...yeah I wasn't breathing, how can you when you're sucking in so hard. Bottom left, normal not flexed, bottom middle...two feet over from the previous photo- flexed, tilted, and voila my abs look flat. Bottom right...I don't know how to do a booty shot, i try to flex my booty and then end up sticking my belly out like my toddler, then I think my leg and back cramped up. I know the pictures aren't drastically different, but they are different enough.

Top left & middle are a few feet apart and you can see how different my stomach looks...nothing changed but some lighting and shadows. Top right...yeah I wasn't breathing, how can you when you're sucking in so hard. Bottom left, normal not flexed, bottom middle...two feet over from the previous photo- flexed, tilted, and voila my abs look flat. Bottom right...I don't know how to do a booty shot, i try to flex my booty and then end up sticking my belly out like my toddler, then I think my leg and back cramped up. I know the pictures aren't drastically different, but they are different enough.

So why do I write this? Because I'm hoping that it shows you that not everything you see on IG is exactly as it appears in real life. Mirrors and lighting can lie...and then we add a filter, and bam! you've got yourself a six-pack and a hottie hanging off your arm...or something like that. Ladies, be good to yourselves. You are beautiful! You are not meant to look like anyone else (unless you're an identical twin, then, well you're somewhat screwed), you are meant to be yourself. Take photos to track progress, take photos because they make you feel beautiful, take photos for memories, take photos to document life, but don't huff and puff over every photo and compare yourself to those you see on IG. Unless you really know your lighting and know how to pose to make every muscle pop without getting a hernia, then you'll never look like those super fit girls on there, and you shouldn't, because you'll look like your awesome fit self!! Another side note...I asked Beckham what mommy does all day...his response, "take pictures". There you go folks, apparently I take pictures all day, and by the look of this post, apparently I do. 

I hope I brought some humor into your life today. And maybe some other things to think about...IG is the highlight reel of people's lives. Maybe I'll hire a paparazzi one day to take "real" pictures of me, from real angles, and then you'll see that most of the time I'm a mess...and I have a resting bitch face, with a major pout and a furrowed eyebrow. But in the meantime, enjoy my highlight reel. 

xo,

Ella