Engaging. Encouraging. Addicting. Emotional. Inspirational.
When you see these words, what comes to mind? My imagination jumps to a race where I am interacting with people running next to me, on the sidelines, and at the finish line. I would assume that these adjectives refer to a face-to-face event, but instead they represent the impact of the increasingly popular “Transformation Tuesday.”
As an avid runner from the time I was in middle school, I have always been relatively petite, but like many women have also struggled with my body image. There was a point in time when I would have refused to be pictured in a bikini, and I still get a little anxious when I think about it. So, when I saw so many images of people at all levels of fitness showing their gains and being confident and excited about their bodies, I was intrigued and wanted to know more about this digital phenomenon.
Enter in Kelly, or “Kiki” as her Insta followers (@life.by.kiki) know her, a friend, wellness enthusiast and “Transformation Tuesday” participant. I met up with her to get an insider’s look at the impact of this social media movement and answer my simple questions of why, how, what and who.
Why did you start posting transformation pictures?
I started making transformation side-by-side shots because I realized that this was going to be a really long, slow process. I realized pretty early on that change does not happen overnight, even though a lot of the time, social media makes it seem like it does. I had to do it in order to hold myself accountable and see change. When I started, I looked for really small changes and tried to even notice when things were tiny changes. Other people started to notice, and even when I didn’t notice things, having other people say “Wow, I see a change!” is encouraging. Sometimes others see what we can’t see in ourselves.
How did you get the courage to post? This idea terrifies me.
I didn’t tell anyone about my fitness Instagram for a year and a half. I’ve had it since January 2015. I told my CLOSEST friends, so it didn’t really matter to me. More and more people started to find it, and I had a lot of people I knew reaching out to me about getting in shape/changing their life, etc. I eventually posted something on my personal Instagram just sharing that I had the fitness account, and it was seriously incredible how many people reached out to me about it, wanting to find the change in themselves. I was overwhelmed with support and love.
Honestly though, I just want to inspire other people and keep myself accountable in the long run. I love doing it, it is something I enjoy being a part of. The Instagram fitness and health community is an amazing place that I feel connected to people from all over the world. It’s crazy, but it is something really special that I am really grateful to be a part of.
What is your goal with posting these pictures or tracking your wellness journey publicly?
In the future, I think I will always have goals I am working toward – whether it be getting faster, jumping higher, doing more pushups, etc. I think always comparing back to where I came from reminds me of where I came from and how much I have changed not only physically. Seriously, looking at old pictures of myself, I don’t think others realize how unhappy I was. It wasn’t just with my body – it was my emotional and psychological state.
Seeing how much I’ve changed physically reminds me of how strong I’ve become mentally too – you can’t become strong physically without developing mental toughness and strength, which is probably even more important. I think transformation pictures with honest captions inspire others who want it too, and my hope is that if it changes even ONE person’s mindset, then I have made an impact.
Who in the wellness or Instagram industry inspires you?
For fitness, I am inspired especially by @getfitbrooklyn and @chelseatuite. Chinae (@getfitbrooklyn) is literally just a badass and is so accepting of herself and her body and life, it is really inspiring. I follow a ton of foodie Instagrams too because I LOVE to cook and love to eat – honestly anyone who really keeps it real in terms of health and fitness.
Obviously, Kelly is also a badass and demonstrates the positive impact social media can have in inspiring others to pursue a well-rounded life. Though often times the digital world gets a bad rep, there is a supportive community that can help motivate and encourage from every area of the world. Do you have an inspirational Insta crush?