Feeling self-conscious about her post-pregnancy stretch marks, Indiana decided to start posting nude pictures of herself while out on hikes.
A mum-of-three has revealed how she has come to terms with her stretchmarks after having three children by hiking in her birthday suit and posting pictures of her naked jaunts to Instagram.
Always blessed with a slim body, businesswoman Indiana Lush, 43, a divorcee who runs her own cleaning firm, felt her self-esteem plummet after the birth of her third child in 2010, when she started gaining weight and developing stretchmarks.
But in 2016, while out hiking, she had an epiphany, deciding to strip off and bare her bottom to the world, a moment she commemorated with a snap she later posted to Instagram – now boasting 1,500 followers to her site, where she posts weekly updates of her naked shenanigans.
Indiana, of Tallai, South East Queensland, Australia, who does not wish to name her children or her ex-husband, said of her defining moment: “I didn’t really think much of it at the time, other than it was something I felt a strong urge to do.
“Then when I put my naked hiking picture on Instagram, suddenly lots of people liked and said nice things about it – which made me feel really good about myself.
“I had done a bit of modelling in my 20s and so was always fairly confident about my appearance and comfortable being photographed.”
She continued: “But after having kids, your body starts to change and things like cellulite and stretch marks appear, which made me feel a lot more self-conscious about myself than I ever had been before.
“So taking pictures was a way of reminding myself that I am still attractive, and it has been a big help in returning to me an element of self-love.”
Growing up in Auckland, New Zealand, Indiana was taken on hikes and camping trips by her outdoorsy father Peter, a landscape gardener, as soon as she could walk, along with her siblings Justin, 46, and Luke, who sadly passed away two years ago at the age of 36.
Paradoxically, though, she found it “tedious and dull” until her early 20s, when a terrible twist of fate saw her take up the hobby in earnest.
Indiana, who moved to Australia aged 25, explained: “When I was 19 my dad was hit by a car in a drink-driving incident and lost the use of his legs as a result.
“He was really passionate about hiking and after the crash it made me realise how important it is to be able to walk and use your legs.”
She continued: “Then when he died five years later when I was 24, I started going for hikes, mainly as a way to connect with him.”
Soon her own passion for rambling was awoken and she regularly trekked for 20km at a time, through the stunning national parks around her new Australian home – even travelling to Peru, USA and Hawaii for lone walking holidays.
Back then, though, she would never have considered walking naked.
She continued: “It would have been too uncomfortable with all the backpacks and kit on, underneath the strong sun,” she admitted. “I did enjoy skinny dipping, though, in the waterfalls and brooks I found on my travels.”
Then in 2016, feeling particularly dejected by the ageing process, she was out walking one day in Binna Burra on the Gold Coast, when she was seized by the urge to bare all and her subsequent social media post changed her life.
Indiana, who is now happily involved with a man who she does not wish to name, said: “Social media is both a curse and a blessing.”
Indiana continued: “In many ways it makes people very anxious about how they look because it sets a standard of beauty.
“But it can also be a good ego boost, having people post nice comments about how you look naked, and it reminds you that you don’t have to be a supermodel to feel good about your body.”
Certainly, the positive response Indiana received to her naked snaps provided a massive confidence boost and she began photographing herself regularly, using a self-timer on her phone which she would lean against a tree or her bag.
As a result, her Instagram presence and followers quickly grew, hand-in-hand with her self-esteem.
But her gallery of nude selfies caused some controversy within her own family, with her brother Justin deciding to stop following her.
She laughed: “He didn’t want to see pictures of my naked bum, which I guess is fair enough.”
She continued: “But while I think my dad would’ve been pretty embarrassed, he would have seen the funny side to it.”
Keen to keep stripping off well into her dotage, Indiana wants to encourage anyone who is struggling to come to terms with ageing to follow her “liberating” lead.
She continued: “I tell all of my friends to go for it and do it all the time, but none have taken me up on it yet.”
Indiana added: “I think because it can be a little frightening getting naked and a lot of people feel uncomfortable doing it.
“But for me it has been totally liberating – both exhilarating and enlightening in equal measure.”
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