Why A Popular Instagrammer Stopped Posting Bikini Photos

If you are amongst the more than 375,000 people who currently follow fitness influencer Sophie Gray (@wayofgray) on Instagram, you may have noticed that some time ago, she stopped posting bikini photos and photos of herself in just her workout bra and leggings.
Though she did so quietly, a recent incident in which a fitness account posted her photo for "fitspo," inspired her to speak up. When the @gramousfitness account posted an old photo of Gray with the caption, "Nothing tastes as good as being fit feels," Gray replied, "Actually, from experience and seeing as I'm the person in this photo.. I know that pizza and cookies taste way better."
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Though the account seems to have removed that post, Gray took a screenshot of her reply and posted it to her own Instagram page, explaining that this line of thinking is why she no longer posts revealing photos of her body.
"You no longer see pictures of my body this way on @Instagram for this reason," she wrote. "Having a six pack and thigh gap doesn't make you happy. Pizza and cookies are fucking delicious. And I'm sick of women being told they have to be anything other than themselves to be happy."
Gray understands that she played a role in the fitspo community, but explained that she has now shifted her focus to wanting to help people care for their bodies without shaming them for what they eat.
She tells Refinery29 that she consciously stopped posting photos that fixate on her body in June 2016, when she had a panic attack during a flight and was forced to reevaluate her mental health.
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"I understand that @wayofgray's old images may have been inspiring," she wrote in another recent Instagram post. "And to that I say there are tons of those accounts you can follow for those images. But, I know those images were damaging for many. While I believe we all must take accountability for our experiences, it doesn't make contributing to others' insecurities any easier."
It wasn't just her followers who were affected, Gray wrote β€” she herself began feeling more inadequate in her own body.
"Everything I did revolved around those photos," she wrote. "I was constantly worrying about my body image because my 'worth' through this channel depended on it."
"Ultimately, we're all responsible for our happiness and determine what gets us down β€” but, that doesn't mean that the images I was sharing were making people feel good β€” and that's what I want," she tells Refinery29. "I want women to accept the shit out of themselves, exactly as they are. Not when or if they have a six pack."
It's not that Gray is against fitness or eating well β€” "I just don't believe we should only love ourselves if we look a certain way or are doing those things," she says.
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That's why she's now shifting her platform to advocate for self-love.
"This is why I'm here talking about accepting the shit out of yourself," she wrote. "You, exactly as you are now, are enough."
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