A U.K. YouTuber and Instagram influencer is blazing the trail in the male body positive movement.
Twenty six-year-old Stevie Grice-Hart hopes that by opening up about body image and his weight loss journey, more men will feel comfortable sharing and discussing their own self-image struggles.
The financial advisor from Southampton, Hampshire, said that for most of his life, his weight has fluctuated between a size medium and an XXL. Although Grice-Hart initially took to social media for fitness inspiration, he said he wanted to take a more honest approach towards the topic of weight loss with his more than 11,500 followers.
He said that, like women, men struggle with body image, self-esteem, and the pressures to adhere to what’s deemed “ideal.”
The pressure became so overwhelming that the blogger said he became obsessed with trying to lose weight in his early 20s. Grice-Hart says he lost approximately 120 lbs. by following an unhealthy diet of meal replacement shakes and diet pills.
Grice-Hart said he had hoped that the weight-loss would make him feel happy, but it took time for him to embrace the excess skin and stretch marks that remained after his drastic transformation.
“My excess skin has always been my biggest insecurity,” Grice-Hart wrote. “It’s around my arms, on my thighs and most predominantly on my belly. I’ve spent so much time, money and effort trying to change it. Trying to tone it, to smooth it and tighten it.”
After trying everything to try to hide his body, Grice-Hart said he’s now learned to embrace it — and is encouraging his followers to do the same.
“Embracing a part of yourself you’ve been taught to hate isn’t easy,” he said. “It doesn’t happen overnight and it takes time. Bit it does happen, you can heal the wounds created by society and you can embrace your so-called ‘flaws’ and learn to love yourself.”
Grice-Hart, and his husband, Sam, are currently in the process of adopting a child together. Instilling the confidence in the couple’s future child to love and embrace their body, regardless of gender is of great priority for the couple.
“If we have a boy, I want him to see that men and being a man comes in all different forms,” Grice-Hart said. “I would give my child the freedom and space to be whatever they want and I’d like to hope that when I feel crap about my body, I don’t project that onto my son.”
Grice-Hart is continuing to create a positive space for men, women and trans persons to talk openly about body image, self-love and acceptance.
“For men who are struggling, I would recommend following people who actually look different,” he said. “Stay away from the Hollywood actors who have airbrushed and edited their photos. That’s why I don’t edit my photos – I don’t want to contribute to that side of social media.”
Grice-Hart said he hopes that that the body positive movement will include more men and a more diverse representation of male bodies in the media.
Representation matters, and as Grice-Hart puts it, “We have a plus size Barbie – now it’s time for a plus size Ken!”