Instagram can be too much. With models and influencers worldwide doing their best to put forth their most glamorous foot, ordinary people often find themselves grappling with insecurities. Pakistani-American wellness influencer Mina Hasan is doing things differently. Her social media platform is charged, not with a constant struggle to look the best, but with the understanding that she looks great when she feels great. Unlike most other wellness influencers, Hasan’s content focuses on feeling beautiful with all the differences that make one unique, that are otherwise perceived as flaws – a rare find in the saturated social media space focused on white-centric beauty standards.
From feeling like her nose is oddly shaped to thinking that her skin color is too dark, the Instagram influencer started questioning it all. She was increasingly worried about her appearance to the point that she felt suffocated. The situation was exacerbated with the advent of the pandemic. She found herself cooped up in her house with her South Asian family, which, believes Hasan, could sometimes be a lot to deal with. She was eating typical South Asian foods, which are saturated with carbs and fats, and there was little she could do to burn it all off. As a result, she started gaining weight and her flaws seemed more pronounced than before.
This is when Hasan decided to do things differently. The first change she made to her lifestyle was reducing the intake of cultural foods and replacing them with healthier options. Instead of rice, for instance, she would have gravy with some salad. She believes that the small changes that she made to her diet helped her achieve consistent results, something that most health instructors do not always stick with. Additionally, she started going to the gym regularly. She did not lift heavy because she knew she would eventually find herself burnt out. She alternated between lifting light, but twice the time, and divided her run at the gym between lifting and cardio. Even on the days when she felt down, she still went to the gym, not because of her insecurities but because she had started liking her time there.
Hasan lost over 13 lbs over the summer and is in her best shape. She did not push herself unnecessarily. She listened to her body and gave it what it needed – healthy food, more exercise, and acceptance. She worked toward achieving her ideal body through hard work and self-love. She now flaunts her brown skin, unique nose, and curly hair. She also sheds light on how the bodily mechanisms of brown people are different from most white people and aims at normalizing and accepting one’s brownness, with all its differences.