Some of Utah’s top fitness and health social media gurus met Thursday at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi to share their health journeys.
While some of the women follow each other on Instagram, most hadn’t met each other until Silver Fern Brand, a Salt Lake City health company, brought the 17 women together for a lunch.
The stories of their health journeys included tales of poor body image and laxative abuse.
Tiffany Brande, who runs the Instagram account @wholefork, told the attendees she started her blog to stay accountable on her health journey. Now, she helps other women live a healthy lifestyle.
“It’s really confusing out there what’s healthy, and there are a million definitions,” Brande said.
Rachel Gainer, of Highland, runs the Instagram account @rachel_rebuilt. She told her story about how her mindset changed six years ago when her daughter, who had a heart defect, died at two months old.
Like many of the other woman, she echoes the message about the importance of a positive body image.
“Weight loss isn’t a cure for body shame or self doubt,” Gainer said.
Ashlynn Mitchell, of Orem, goes by the Instagram handle @mamabear.fitness. Mitchell started buying gluten-free products when her daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease. However, the products aren’t any healthier for people unless they have celiac disease.
She said it’s important to love yourself at the beginning of trying to start a healthy lifestyle.
“You lose the weight or you get strong, and if you don’t have (self love), it’s not going to help you,” Mitchell said. “You have to do both.”
Ashley Reeves, of Saratoga Springs, is @ashleysfreshfix on Instagram. Her tips for healthy eating are simple.
“Real food,” Reeves recommends. “No sugar and no added garbage.”
Jill Kaufusi, of Provo, is @jillkfitness in Instagram. Kaufusi said health trends, like a focus on macronutrients, can be helpful.
“It’s kind of a good thing,” Kaufusi said. “It’s good for people to see portions and see what is best for their bodies.”
The women warn against jumping on trends, saying that just because something is popular, it doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. Moderation is also healthy.
“There is a balance of having treats in there and enjoying social environments,” Gainer said. “You don’t have to be crazy and obsessive.”