In a time when social media feeds are filled with images of women who are airbrushed to look thinner, Riley Hemson’s portraits make a refreshing change.
The 21-year-old Instagram star – who has more than 75,000 followers worldwide – shared a snap on social media in which she celebrates her body, as it is naturally.
Having tipped the scales at 115 kilograms two years ago, Ms Hemson has since taken on the challenge to transform her life, through health and fitness.
While she revealed she’s ‘not at goal weight yet’, she also said she’s a firm believer in celebrating the process.
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Instagram health and fitness role model Riley Hemson (pictured) doesn’t believe in body perfection, instead she advocates for body progress
Ms Hemson before she embarked on her journey (pictured left) and of herself (pictured right) 30 kilograms lighter
The newly qualified paramedic, who has just completed her studies, shared her candid photo online, alongside an equally strong message of body positivity.
The photo showed the 21-year-old radiating good health, posing in black briefs and a bra, under the heading: ‘2017//the year of self-love’.
Speaking to FEMAIL, the fitness enthusiast said she was motivated to share the image because it was ‘great to be healthy’.
Ms Hemson isn’t rushing to become ‘Insta-perfect’, instead she believes in focusing on health and sustainability
‘I think it’s important to influence people in healthy ways,’ she told FEMAIL.
‘My whole message is that you have to love yourself before you can be happy.
‘If you don’t love yourself, to begin with, you’re not going to love yourself at the end of the day.’
She said her ‘whole message is that you have to love yourself before you can be happy’
It’s clear from the number of likes Ms Hemson has received on the post – 12,000 at the time of writing – the image has struck a chord with her many fans.
The Instagram sensation said she’s always tried to celebrate the reality of her journey, not just portray one idea of body perfection.
‘With social media, we’re always seeing the best photo – no rolls on stomachs, and no cellulite,’ she said.
The social media star said social media is constantly flooded with ideals of body perfection, ‘no rolls on stomachs, and no cellulite’
‘It’s so easy to compare ourselves to the best of what we’re seeing. I think it’s quite refreshing to see that it’s not always like that.
‘Everyone has parts of themselves that aren’t perfect.’
Ms Hemson is a strong advocate for creating healthy and sustainable ways of living, and it’s also a lifestyle she exhorts her fans to pursue.
The 21-year-old from Wellington, New Zealand doesn’t believe weight loss offers the single key to happiness
Along with the candid Instagram image, the fitness star, who posts under the name of Healthychick101, offered an important message to those following her journey on social media.
She wrote: ‘If you’re intending on changing your body to ultimately be happy with what you see, you will never be happy.
‘LOVE yourself enough to treat your body and mind with the nutrition it needs. Fuel your journey with love, not hate.
‘Everything else will fall perfectly into place.’
Ms Hemson decided to change her life two years ago after stepping on the scales and seeing she weighed 115 kilograms
Ms Hemson’s journey, one of grit and determination, began just two years ago and has been one she’s openly shared online, as a way to stay accountable.
Speaking previously to Daily Mail Australia, the Wellington-based health advocate revealed she had struggled with her weight her whole life.
She said she was shocked into taking action, not just by stepping on the scales and seeing the numbers, but also in part by seeing the health of those she was treating as a paramedic student.
Her transformation journey has been one of grit and determination as well as one she’s shared with more than 75,000 followers on social media
As part of a healthy eating plan, Ms Hemson, a committed vegetarian, has embraced a wide variety of foods
‘I had tried every single day of my life to lose weight because I wanted to look better, and it never worked,’ she said.
‘I was nearly 20 before I said to myself: “no, it’s about being healthy”.’
‘We’ve only got one body and we need to treat it right in order to get the best out of our lives.’
Though the newly-qualified paramedic is health and fitness-focused, she’s not obsessive to the point where a cupcake is forbidden
Before embarking on her journey, Ms Hemson admitted that although she lived as a committed vegetarian, her diet was one of carbs: pizzas and hot chips, and she confessed, ‘heaps of junk’.
She also took inspiration from those she saw on social media who were transforming their bodies and who were prepared to detail every bit of their weight loss journey.
‘You’re seeing people drop the weight, and I knew I could do it too,’ she concluded.