After spending years working as a personal trainer, Jessi Kneeland moved onto a new job title that she's much more passionate about: she is now a body image coach.
Kneeland recently shared a set of images on Instagram of herself showing off the cellulite on her legs–a feature she prefers to call "fancy fat." She accompanied the shots with a caption reflecting on the importance of seeing the beauty in all bodies.
The post begins with an introduction to Kneeland's "fancy fat," which is really just a decoration.
Oh hey there, have you met my fancy fat? It's these pretty dimples along the back of my legs and butt. Some people think fancy fat is "bad," and will try to convince you to get rid of yours, but we know better. Fancy fat is just a natural, healthy, built-in decoration. (Or at least that's how I choose to see it.)
Kneeland then explains how society has led us to believe that certain body types are more attractive than others.
Note: There is absolutely nothing objectively true about statements like "cellulite is ugly" or "perfectly smooth and toned is more attractive." Those are just examples of a social reality we pass along to each other so often, that our brains start to believe they must be true, they're "natural," or they're "just the way things are."
The body image coach has no intention of listening to what society says about cellulite, and she believes we can change those notions by challenging them.
But they're not. We can change the way we see things by interrupting those old thoughts, challenging and examining them, noticing how they affect us, changing what we expose ourselves to, and finding new beliefs that affect us in a more positive way.
Which [is] exactly what I've done by re-casting my so-called embarrassing cellulite in the role of beloved Fancy Fat. ❤️
Someecards spoke with Kneeland over Facebook about her viral post, and she further explained why she chose to share it. "I share the truth about my body, including what we normally think of as 'flaws' to help women see that the photos they normally see are posed, flexed, sucked in, well-lit, and photoshopped," she wrote to Someecards. "There is nothing wrong with the stuff we're told to be ashamed of, from cellulite to round soft bellies to rolls of fat."
She also encourages others to share photos and stories celebrating their natural bodies. "I think the more people who share their REAL bodies (no Spanx, no sucking in, no posing, no proper lighting, no Photoshop) the better, so we can all get re-calibrated to what real bodies look like! But also, it's extremely liberating to share your real body along with your real feelings about it–or at least it has been for me! Every time I posted something that made me vulnerable at first, I wrote about how vulnerable I felt," she told Someecards. "People totally understood, and it made me realize that nobody was looking at these so-called flaws and saying anything nearly as mean as I had been saying about them in my head for so long. It was so freeing to realize I didn't have to hide anymore, and helped me really embrace all the things about my body I was once embarrassed by!"
Kneeland added that she's received dozens of positive messages in response to her viral post–however, because the internet is the internet, many a troll decided to share their unwanted opinions. Kneeland even screengrabbed and shared a comment that one hater left on the post, which she captioned with some words of wisdom.
LOLOLOLOL this comment was left by a hater, on the cellulite photo I posted yesterday. This photo was taken this morning. Sorry dude, I didn't realize I have cellulite because I'm just TOO FAT!! 😵😓
Don't worry though. Me and my "unnatural, unhealthy body fat" are just gonna be over here helping women understand that there is NOTHING wrong with cellulite (or anything else about their bodies!) and that trolls like you are ignorant and uneducated.
Also I'll keep spinning my body as "none of your damn business." Because, yeah. That.