‘I don’t care about the fat I’ve gained’
GOLD Coast personal trainer Emily Skye is one of Australia's most popular online fitness personalities.
Her Instagram feed features all the hallmarks of your classic #fitspo star.
There's the shredded, toned body. The gym workout videos with links to her online fitness program. An activewear sponsorship - she's a Reebok ambassador - and the hot partner with bulging biceps.
But when Skye announced she was pregnant in June, her feed started to change. Instead of the ab shots, she posted close-up, unedited photos of her new cellulite and stretch marks.
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"I don't care about the fat I've gained, the swelling & cellulite etc. These things are not important to me," Skye wrote on Instagram last month.
"I have such an overwhelming appreciation for my body & the human it's growing."
"I refuse to beat myself up. I refuse to compare myself to others & I refuse to let these physical changes that some might see as 'flaws' take away my happiness & neither should any of you."
The workout videos stopped, replaced by clips of her baby moving around in her belly and eating a tub of ice cream on the couch.
"When I got pregnant I thought 'I'm going to be one of those fit women who trains throughout her pregnancy. I'm going to exercise right up until the end if I can'," Skye told news.com.au.
"But then in the first trimester I was really sick. I was nauseous and vomiting. I could barely stomach anything and there was no food I wanted to eat that was healthy.
"I tried to train a few times and ended up going home and vomiting on the way home. I thought 'There's no point. Why train and make myself do this, if I don't feel up to it?'
"I've had back problems, even just walking around is hard and my back gets pretty sore. I have to wear a back brace.
"I only trained a couple of times a week during the second trimester and I haven't been to the gym in two and a half months [she is 38 weeks pregnant now] and I've gained about 21kg.
"It feels weird. I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss it. But there's no point worrying about it."
The dominant narrative suggests that Skye should be in a panic right now.
Her body is her job and she's made a living out of posting photos of her muscular, toned body on Instagram.
But being honest about her weight gain has earned Skye praise from her Instagram followers.
"So happy to see such positive talk around pregnancy and body image. Such an inspiration," one woman commented.
"I love how real you are about pregnancy," another wrote, while others called her approach "Refreshingly honest".
Former The Biggest Loser trainer Tiffiny Hall gave birth to her first child with comedian husband Ed Kavalee in September.
She also gained a significant amount of weight during her pregnancy, but was reluctant to push herself post-birth to lose the extra kilos.
"There's a lot of effort that goes in to the bounce back," Hall told news.com.au in August.
"Hours at the gym and calorie restrictions. I'm not up for sacrificing time with my new baby to be pumping it out at the gym," Hall said.
"It's so much pressure on new mums. My body has changed, and that's all right. I have put on weight, but it's beautiful, glorious weight."
Skye has a similar attitude.
"Throughout my pregnancy it did cross my mind, 'I have to get back into shape really fast, because it's my job. I feel like I'm different to other mums out there who don't do what I do," Skye said.
"But then I'm not going to put that pressure on myself because I am about being honest and real and I'm not going to push myself to the extreme to look a certain way. It's about how I feel, it's about feeling good again and being fit and strong."
Skye believes she has a responsibility to her followers to counteract some of the negative body image talk on social media.
"When I was younger I was very obsessed with trying to be prefect. It's important to show that it's all well and good to take a nice photo, but that's not real," she said.
"We've got to balance it out somehow because there's a lot of fakeness out there.
"Showing things like cellulite and body fat and stretch marks and me not wearing makeup is important, because that's my everyday right now.
"At least other women can look at me and think 'She gained weight, I don't feel so bad'."