7 Body-Positive Instagrammers You Need to Follow Now

From your former high school classmate with the seemingly perfect life to models who travel the world (paired with the hashtag #wanderlust, of course), let’s be real here––Instagram isn’t always the most feel-good place. Rather, it can feel like a place of instantaneous FOMO where you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to others.

But despite the plethora of perfectly angled selfies and gorgeously filtered landscapes, there’s a trend gaining serious momentum on the photo-sharing app, and—best of all—it’s rooted in body positivity.

While you’re probably familiar with the term and how it’s displayed in ads and social media, it helps to remember that body positivity is the belief that people should be liberated from feelings of self-hatred and value their true beauty, all while making that same change in their communities, according to The Body Positive. In other words, the movement runs on a contagious energy–, making Instagram the perfect vehicle for its purpose.

Join the body positive movement by following these seven super-inspiring Instagrammers.

Jessamyn Stanley

If you haven’t seen yoga instructor and body positivity pioneer Jessamyn Stanley yet, you will soon. She’s proof that weight doesn’t factor into strength, grace, agility or flexibility, traits that typically define your average yoga instructor. She is also a firm believer in feeling rather than looking, a mantra she repeats to her students as they move through various yoga poses.

 

My strength doesn’t come solely from yoga. And much as I appreciate the spoils of industry and capitalism, I don’t think humans are supposed to exist in boxes. We’re meant to frolic among the elements. In order to feel like a happy and functioning human being, I require quality time in nature- and when I’m home in the Old North State, that usually means I’m wandering through the hills surrounding the Eno River or splashing like a five year old in the streams. I’m not the most time efficient hiker and I’m a very lazy swimmer- but it’s all good bc I’m not in it for the accolades. The joy I feel when I’m outside is unparalleled- it’s the only place where I truly feel like my most authentic self. There’s no way I could try to be a #ForceOfNature on my yoga mat without a distinct connection to the true forces of nature in our universe. My strength isn’t just about moving my body- it’s about making a connection to the power of this earth. #sponsored @rei Photo by my love @justincookphoto

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Tess Holliday

American model Tess Holliday has long been immersed in the body positivity movement, even before it started gaining steam within the last few years. She even created the hashtag #effyourbodystandards, now a handle on its own. But above all, Holliday rejects the notion that “fat” and “plus size” are shameful words and have no ties to what is beautiful or attractive.

 

When you let the girls run free for breakfast bc you are in Vegas & #YOLO 🤷🏻‍♀️ #effyourbeautystandards

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Leo Sheng

While body positivity is accepting your body as it is, it also means accepting your inner beauty. On his handle, Leo Sheng documents his journey as a transgender man, from surgeries to personal struggles.

 

Lemme be clear: when I said my childhood was not– for the most part– an unhappy one, I’m saying that I didn’t hate my life as a kid. That doesn’t mean I was 100% content. My gender expression has always been masculine; it’s my identity that became a problem when I was 11. Though I can’t say that I always knew I was trans, I know that transitioning brought me to a place of confidence and happiness. I’m happier now than I have been in a very, very long time. “Changing my gender” (I prefer socially and medically transitioning but ok) didn’t ruin my life; it’s what saved me. // #ftm #trans #transgender #transman #transguy #tmoc #hrt #topsurgery #transisbeautiful #transition #transpride #transvisibility

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Emme

If you haven’t heard of Emme, your mom likely has. She was regarded as the world’s first plus-size supermodel and has continued modeling for the past two decades, showing that both size and age are irrelevant when it comes to fashion.

Winnie Harlow

Showing that body positivity isn’t just about size, Winnie Harlow has parlayed her unique skin coloring into a professional asset––one that even propelled her to America’s Next Top Model. Harlow isn’t afraid to play up her most unique feature on Instagram, refraining from using too much makeup and always owning her look.

Healthy is the New Skinny

Body-love mantras, hilarious memes and photos of real women rocking their stretch marks? Sign us up. While the IG handle Healthy is the New Skinny is all about promoting body acceptance, it’s makers are also firm believers in the power of sass and humor, constantly posting funny, down-to-earth pics––perfect for your morning scroll.

 

So inspired by @weight_watching_alyssa sharing an honest view of her stretch marks. Hey we all have at least one! It is a natural part of the human body.💗 ・・・ So let’s get real for a minute, I have never had children these stretch marks were from gaining weight senior year of college. I used to be ashamed of them and I never thought I could feel comfortable or confident with them. I tried creams and different beauty products to make them disappear because they were a reminder of how much damage I did to my body. No I am not 100% comfortable with them but I don’t feel ashamed of my stomach because of them. I am healthy, I have worked very hard along this journey to lose weight and become a healthier version of myself. At first my goal was so be thinner but hat quickly changed to a goal of being healthier and self confident. The pants i’m wearing really explain a lot @healthyisthenewskinny and it really is. These marks are a reminder of how I treated my body and they are also a reminder of how I will never treat my body again. I will show it love, I will respect it, I will do all of these thing because I am worth it and because I deserve to be healthy and to be best friends with my body. #inspiring #girlgang #stretchmarks #realtalk #healthyisthenewskinny #honest

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Kaisa Keranen

If someone has ever told you that you shouldn’t lift weights because it would make you less feminine (and it totally got under your skin), this awesome account is for you. Kaisa Keranen isn’t afraid to display her strength via photos and videos, focusing on what her body is capable of versus of what it looks like. And to be honest, when you’re pumping out box jumps, burpees and pull-ups, who really cares what you look like anyway?

 

Happy Thursday! #tbt

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Julia Sullivan is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. When she's not picking heavy things up and setting them down again (more commonly known as weight lifting), trying to prepare healthy meals in her doll-sized Manhattan studio or writing about the latest fitness craze, she chronicles her zany adventures as a new New Yorker in her blog, Jules & the City. You can also follow her on Twitter.