TIME Body Image

Watch a Fitness Blogger Photoshop Herself In Real Time

Cassey Ho gives herself the so-called "perfect body" to send a powerful message

Personal trainer Cassey Ho is a very popular fitness blogger with more than two million YouTube subscribers. She often receives mean, negative comments, as many bloggers do.

In a new video, Ho responds to these comments by Photoshopping herself in real time to create what her critics would consider the “perfect body.” She slims her waist, increases her chest and butt, contours her waist and even changes the color of her eyes.

“In the last few months, the negativity towards me personally has gotten worse. I’m a person too, so it really gets to me,” she told People. “I had this epiphany: How can I express how I’m feeling visually?”

Ho says her ultimate goal is to “show that cyber-bullying and mean comments really affect people, and to think before you say something.”

Read next: This ‘Normal Barbie’ Ad Captures Society’s Insane Pressure to Have a Perfect Body

TIME beauty

Why You Should Love Your Body

Overlapping fingerprints forming a heart shape
Getty Images

I refused to rob myself of something I enjoyed because of how other people might react to me

As a plus-size girl, there have been so many things I’ve put on hold, telling myself that they should happen “next year” after I’d lost some weight. But then, “next year” came and went, and my weight barely budged.

Eventually, I asked myself: If I never lose weight, will I never live the amazing life I want?

Putting my entire life on hold until I looked a certain way sounded like a crazy idea, so I decided against it and born was my motto “Don’t Wait On Your Weight.”

I looked closely at my fear of embarrassment and rejection, issues that that kept me from trying new things and living life to the fullest. I realized that I was rejecting experiences as a defense mechanism so that I wouldn’t be rejected.

Once I came to terms with my behavior, I began to challenge myself. Every time I felt myself shy away from something because of my size, I took a deep breath and walked towards the very thing that was scaring me. Read on for ways that I challenged myself — and ask yourself if some of them don’t sound all too familiar:

Don’t Wait On Your Weight…

To Date Online

I can remember a friend in high school telling me that guys don’t date girls who are bigger than a size 10. I took that rule to heart and was convinced that love wouldn’t find me until I found my way out of the big girl’s department. But, with my new motto motivating me to step outside of my comfort zone, I set up an online dating profile and ignored the negative voice in my head. I even put up a full body photo of myself and to my surprise — and delight — I went on awesome dates.

To Travel

Sometimes big girls have to push through seat-belt extenders and narrow plane seats to get where we need to go, but the world is too much of a magical place to let silly things like that get in my way. I’ve yet to die from asking for a seat-belt extender and pushing past that fear has given me amazing experiences like parasailing over the Atlantic Ocean and hiking in Runyon Canyon.

To Hit The Gym

Its easy to peep through the gym windows, see the chiseled, rock-hard bodies and feel like you need to drop ten pounds before you even walk in the door, but the gym is for everybody and every body. My health is one thing that’s non-negotiable and I’m not going to let myself feel intimidated by gym culture.

I know I deserve a healthy life at any size, and I work hard on my healthy curves journey. The gym’s just as much a place for me as it is for anyone else. Don’t rob yourself of a healthy lifestyle because you don’t have a flat tummy. Get some cute workout clothes and start sweating.

To Wear A Bikini

I would have never thought in a million years that I’d be on vacation in Miami wearing a two- piece swimsuit, but a few months ago, I did just that, and it was the best trip I’ve had in a while. No one stared at me, no one laughed at me, and I even got a few compliments. I had an amazing time and I shudder at the thought that I would ever skip something like that based on numbers on a scale. Life’s too short to skip the beach!

Admittedly, it wasn’t overnight that I donned a bikini in public or signed up for parasailing. You’ve got to start out small. It’ll get easier, I promise. On weekends, instead of pouting and saying “why go out and dance with my girlfriends, no one is going to talk to me until I lose weight,” I took pains to remind myself that I love to dance, and I wasn’t about to let my size hold me back. Reasoning that I’d be happier out dancing than moping in my apartment, I went out. I refused to rob myself of something I enjoyed because of how other people might react to me.

Once I consciously worked to break the habit, I learned that most people are too caught up in their own insecurities to focus on mine. I also learned that I am very good at imagining terrible scenarios that never actually happen.

If you feel like your weight is holding you back, I encourage you to start taking the steps to claim the life you deserve to live. The next time a social opportunity arises, throw on a cute outfit and go! Of course, you may face rejection or experience awkward moments (who doesn’t?), but you also might have the time of your life.

This article originally appeared on Refinery29.com.

More from Refinery29:

TIME celebrities

Fitness Expert Tracy Anderson Says Being ‘Hot Is Not Defined by Height or Weight’

Tracy Anderson attends the Los Angeles Premiere of "Home" in Westwood, Cali. on March 22, 2015.
Todd Williamson—AP Tracy Anderson attends the Los Angeles Premiere of "Home" in Westwood, Cali. on March 22, 2015.

Rather, it's about "going to the root of who you are"

Though she’s shaped the bodies of some of Hollywood’s hottest stars, Tracy Anderson says women should focus less on emulating their figures and more on achieving your healthiest self.

“To blow up their importance to the level of obsession takes away from our own beauty and our own gifts,” the fitness expert tells Health in their May cover story. “There’s a disease here—the disease is vanity, insecurity and the lengths of unhealthy behaviors people go to to achieve what they think is beautiful. The disease of ‘I’m not worth anything unless I look like that person over there.’ ”

To move beyond the traditional standard of beauty, Anderson, 40—who works with stars like Gwyneth Paltrow and Lena Dunham—stresses not all our shapes are created equal.

“I want to get away from ‘Tracy Anderson is going to make you teeny-tiny.’ I’m not trying to make everyone the same,” she says. “To me, ‘hot’ is not defined by a height or weight or measurement; hot is going to the root of who you are.”

And even though the workout guru started creating the Tracy Anderson Method at 21-years-old, she hasn’t always been as diligent when it came to her diet.

“I was in London, dunking cookies in frosting. And [Gwyneth Paltrow] looked at me and was like, ‘What are you doing?’ And I was like, ‘What do you mean? It’s so good!’ And she’s like, ‘Do you know how toxic that is?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ And she’s like, ‘And you’re still eating it.’ I was like, ‘You know what? She’s so right,’ ” she says. “That was almost nine years ago. That was the last cookie dunked in frosting I ever had.”

This article originally appeared on People.com.

TIME Body Image

Chrissy Teigen Gives Instagram a Refreshing Look at Her Stretch Marks

"Stretchies say hi!"

We typically don’t turn to supermodels for a healthy perspective on body acceptance. But Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition model Chrissy Teigen has taken to Instagram to spread body positivity.

Usually tabloids are the only ones flaunting celebrity stretch marks, but on Monday night, Teigen posted a photo with the caption, “Bruises from bumping kitchen drawer handles for a week. Stretchies say hi!”

Social media often gets a bad reputation for fostering feelings of fo-mo, wanderlust and other insecurities. And that’s why it’s so refreshing when public figures like Teigen — or, recently, Amy Schumer — offer an unfiltered look at supposed flaws.

TIME celebrities

Pink Is the Latest Celeb to Shut Down Body Criticism

Pink arrives for the John Wayne 30th Annual Odyssey Ball in Beverly Hills, Calif. on April 11, 2015.
Gabriel Olsen—Getty Images Pink arrives for the John Wayne 30th Annual Odyssey Ball in Beverly Hills, Calif. on April 11, 2015.

"My healthy, voluptuous and crazy strong body is having some much deserved time off"

When Pink put on a pretty party dress, delicate black headband and sparkling chandelier earrings to head out to an event Saturday night, she felt great about herself, just as we all do when we get dressed to the nines. But, this being the internet, it didn’t take long for some people to post her photo with nasty comments about the singer’s body. And because Pink is as famously outspoken as she is incredibly fit, she took to Twitter to demand some sanity.

In a typed-out screengrab posted on Twitter, Pink wrote:

“I can see that some of you are concerned about me from your comments about my weight. You’re referring to the pictures of me from last night’s cancer benefit that I attended to support my [dear] friend Dr. Maggie DiNome. She was given the Duke Award for her tireless efforts and stellar contributions to the eradication of cancer. But unfortunately, my weight seems much more important to some of you. While I admit that the dress didn’t photograph as well as it did in my kitchen, I will also admit that I felt very pretty. In fact, I feel beautiful. So, my good and concerned peoples, please don’t worry about [me]. I’m not worried about me. And I’m not worried about you either :) … I am perfectly fine, perfectly happy, and my healthy, voluptuous and crazy strong body is having some much deserved time off. Thanks for your concern. Love, cheesecake.”

Considering this is the performer who can do this and this without even blinking, we’re with her on all counts above. But to further prove her case, Pink posted a few reminders of what’s really important: Being a present, healthy and able body for her family (daughter Willow and husband Carey Hart) to love.

This article originally appeared on People.com.

Read next: See How 6 Women Got Over Their Body Image Issues

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Body Image

Here’s What Happens When Women Decide to Call Themselves Beautiful

Dove's latest campaign asks women to #ChooseBeautiful

If you were faced with two doors to a shopping center, one labeled “Beautiful” and the other “Average,” which would you walk through?

In its latest inspiration-via-advertising campaign, Dove set up labeled entrances in Shanghai, San Francisco, London, Sao Paulo and Delhi, and filmed the results. Unfortunately, and maybe unsurprisingly, many women chose to slink by unnoticed under the “Average” sign rather than display to the world that they acknowledged their beauty. It’s all part of the company’s new #ChooseBeautiful advertising campaign, which aims to change the instinct to settle for average.

“Women make thousands of choices each day — related to their careers, their families, and, let’s not forget, themselves,” Dove said in a statement. “Feeling beautiful is one of those choices that women should feel empowered to make for themselves, every day.”

A recent survey by Dove found that 96% of women do not choose the word “beautiful” to describe how they look, although 80% said they could see something beautiful about themselves. Dove wants women to make the conscious decision to embrace that beauty and acknowledge it to the world.

The women who walked through the “average” door felt saddened by their decision. “It was my choice,” said an Indian woman, “And now I will question myself for the next few weeks or months.” But those who walked — or were dragged by their mothers — through the “Beautiful” door felt “triumphant.”

During the company’s press breakfast briefing Tuesday, attendees seems to waver when confronted with the “Beautiful” and “Average” door options. Personally, I still felt hardwired to pick the more supposedly humble option. Would embracing beauty seem pretentious? Or would I feel less vulnerable than if I tried to sneak out unnoticed under the “Average” sign?

Embracing inner and outer beauty can be a difficult adjustment to make.

Read next: How ‘Fat Monica’ on Friends Stuck With Me All These Years

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Body Image

Lane Bryant Takes a Swipe at Victoria’s Secret in New Lingerie Ad

Lane Bryant

"I'm no angel"

Last year, Victoria’s Secret was slammed for an ad campaign that touted one very specific body type as the “Perfect Body.”

The lingerie company quietly changed its ad after more than 30,000 people signed a petition asking the underwear brand to apologize for its “body shaming” message. And so, five months later, Lane Bryant — a retailer that sells clothing starting at size 14 — has released a similar shoot with its #ImNoAngel campaign, in what seems like a dig at the Victoria’s Secret angels campaign.

What have we been up to? Oh, not much, just redefining sexy. #ImNoAngel

A video posted by Lane Bryant (@lanebryant) on

“I redefine sexy by stating that Beauty Is Beyond Size!!” model Ashley Graham Instagramed under the #ImNoAngel hashtag.

I redefine sexy by stating that Beauty Is Beyond Size!! Share your definition of sexy and hashtag #ImNoAngel with @lanebryant 👼 #beautybeyondsize

A photo posted by A S H L E Y ✨ G R A H A M ™ (@theashleygraham) on

Other women have been encouraged to share their redefinition of what sexy means as well.

There has been a recent movement in the fashion industry to embrace diverse body types, especially in ad campaigns. Candice Huffine, who was in the Lane Bryant ad, also posed in a rubber leotard as the first plus-size model to be featured in Pirelli’s prestigious calendar at the end of last year.

Myla Dalbesio, who at a size 10 is smaller than the average American woman (size 14) but curvier than a Victoria’s Secret angel, appeared in Calvin Klein’s lingerie campaign last year as well. And in February, Sports Illustrated featured its first-ever plus size model in the history of the Swimsuit Edition.

Though Lane Bryant features exclusively plus size clothing, and has since its inception, the general public is particularly primed to take its message to heart.

“Our ‘#ImNoAngel’ campaign is designed to empower ALL women to love every part of herself. Lane Bryant firmly believes that she is sexy and we want to encourage her to confidently show it, in her own way,” Lane Bryant CEO and President Linda Heasley said in a statement.



France Just Banned Ultra-Thin Models

"Barbareschi Sciok": Italian TV Show
Ernesto Ruscio—Getty Images Isabelle Caro attends the Barbareschi Sciok Italian TV Show at La7 Studios on March 5, 2010 in Rome, Italy.

Using a model who has a BMI under 18 could result in jail time

France has become the latest country to ban excessively skinny models from working in the ultra-chic country’s fashion industry, joining Israel, Spain and Italy.

According to Reuters, the French legislature voted for a bill Friday the declares: “The activity of model is banned for any person whose Body Mass Index (BMI) is lower than levels proposed by health authorities and decreed by the ministers of health and labor.”

Fashion agencies that are discovered using models with a BMI under 18, which is approximately 121 pounds for a 5 ft., 7 in. model, could face up to six months of jail time and a fine of 75,000 euros ($82,000).

The bill, which requires models to have a medical certificate vouching for what the government deems a healthy BMI, was paired with another recent bill that bans pro-anorexia websites that offer “thinspiration.” The legislation is an attempt to stop the idealization of the dangerously thin and, perhaps, curb anorexia.

The bill is the latest piece of an ongoing effort to try to stamp anorexia out of the fashion industry. In 2007, French fashion model Isabelle Caro posed for a shocking anti-anorexia campaign before succumbing to the disease, dying at 28.

But some are loudly protesting the legislation of “healthy” weight, noting that thinness does not always connote disease.

“When you look at the criteria behind anorexia, you can’t look only at the body mass index when other criteria are also involved: psychological, a history of hair loss, dental problems,” Isabelle Saint-Felix, the head of France’s National Union of Modeling Agencies, told AFP. “It’s important that the models are healthy, but it’s a little simplistic to think there won’t be any more anorexics if we get rid of very thin models.”

Model Lindsey Scott told Cosmopolitan that she was a healthy college athlete whose BMI was under 18 in college—she weighed 108 pounds at 5 ft., 8 in.—but she has also known people with disorders who may have a “so-called healthy” BMI.

“Perhaps they should have doctors check for signs of anorexia and bulimia instead of making assumptions based on weight,” she said. “Having a bunch of tall, thin, pretty, potentially healthy teenagers cram cupcakes for two weeks and fill themselves with fat injections until they’re runway-ready might sound like a great idea for a reality show, but really, is forcing some models into a thicker body type that may not be natural for them the best way to solve a health problem?”

But according to French health minister Marisol Touraine, “This is an important message to young women who see these models as an aesthetic example.”

Read next: How the Average American Man’s Body Compares to Others Around The World

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Body Image

Body Positivity Advocate Shows Excess Skin After 270-Pound Weight Loss

"I'm not going to be ashamed of who I am, not anymore"

“I’ve never done this before ever and I’m really, really scared, so don’t judge too much, I guess.”

In a video posted Wednesday, body positivity advocate Matt Diaz stood up in front of the camera shirtless to reveal what losing 270 pounds really looks like, excess skin and all.

Diaz, who weighed 497 pounds at 16, has shared his journey to reach a healthier weight for the last six years. But he said that he couldn’t preach body positivity and self love any longer without showing this part of his life.

“I’m scared people won’t think I’m attractive anymore; I’m scared all the nice messages will stop,” he said. “…But I’m not going to be ashamed of who I am, not anymore.”

Diaz set up a crowdfunding campaign to raise $20,000 to fund a surgery to remove his excess skin. In just a day, he surpassed the goal. Many gave donations as small as $5, accompanied by words of encouragement.

“You are a very driven, brave young man!” a $10 donor wrote. “I know this amount is not large, but I hope this will help. Thank you for inspiring so many!”
TIME Body Image

France Might Ban Dangerously Thin Models

"Barbareschi Sciok": Italian TV Show
Ernesto Ruscio—Getty Images Isabelle Caro attends the Barbareschi Sciok Italian TV Show at La7 Studios on March 5, 2010 in Rome, Italy.

It would join Israel, Spain, and Italy in legislating health in fashion

In 2007, French fashion model Isabelle Caro posed for a shocking anti-anorexia campaign before succumbing to the disease. She died at 28.

Eight years later, France is considering a bill that would bar models who are deemed too thin from runways and fashion spreads. Fashion houses could be fined 75,000 euros ($80,000) and staffers who hire those deemed underweight could potentially be jailed for up to six months.

The couture capital’s government will begin debating the bill Tuesday and Reuters reports it is “likely” to pass.

“It’s important for fashion models to say that they need to eat well and take care of their health, especially for young women who look to the models as an aesthetic ideal,” Health Minister Marisol Touraine told BFM TV on Monday, Reuters reports.

France wouldn’t be the first country to legislate health in fashion. Israel, Spain and Italy all have laws that regulate the use of underweight models. Although the Council of Fashion Designers of America has released various health guidelines for the fashion industry, the government has remained uninvolved.

But what would qualify as “too-thin?”

According to Reuters, models would require medical certificates that prove they have a BMI of 18, which is approximately 121 pounds for a 5’7″ height, in order to book a job.

The bill would also penalize pro-anorexia websites.

In the last year, high fashion has embraced more full-figured models. Continuing legislation could mean unattainable beauty standards might finally be going out of vogue.

Read next: Rihanna Is the First Black Woman to be the Face of Christian Dior

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com