12 'Before-and-After' Photos That Will Make You Rethink Everything You See on Social Media
These women posted side-by-side selfies (some taken moments apart) to prove a powerful point about body positivity.
We’ve all been there: You’re scrolling through Instagram and it seems like all you see are toned tummies and sculpted butts. How can that be? The reality is, most of those selfies were shot from a super-flattering angle, and in flattering light, to create a "perfect" image. In other words, just a few seconds later, the person in the picture may look very different. That's what the 11 women below set out to prove when they posted "before-and-after" shots taken days or even moments apart. The results show that yep, everyone gets stomach rolls, food babies, and cellulite too. Scroll down for 12 reminders to love the skin your in.
"Same girl, same day, same time," wrote body positive advocate Milly Smith earlier this week in a caption for two photos that illustrate a simple point: Where your tights sit on your waist can make a big difference in how your body appears on camera. "We are so blinded to what a real unposed body looks like and blinded to what beauty is that people would find me less attractive within a 5 second pose switch! How insanely ridiculous is that!?"
Iskra Lawrence never shies away from an opportunity to promote body positivity. This week the British model posted these two pics with a message for her followers: “Your fat rolls are beautiful. And the reason we have been led to believe they aren’t is because we don’t see them in the media unless someone's being shamed for weight gain or ridiculed for their body."
This side-by-side comparison is just one of the many reasons we love Emily Skye: It shows the effect of her “dessert baby” (which was "SO worth it," she wrote). Skye’s larger goal? To communicate to her nearly two million followers that “perfection doesn't exist, which is easy to forget when we spend so much of time on social media being bombarded by 'perfect bodies' - or what 'appears' to be."
Anna Victoria, the Instagram star behind the successful Fit Body Guides, showed us that everyone can benefit from a good angle, even fitness bloggers. But how you look in a photograph doesn't actually matter, according to Victoria. “Good or bad angles don’t change your worth,” she wrote in the caption.
“Okay guys, NEITHER of these pics have been edited, retouched, photoshopped etc.,” wrote this body positive activist in her Instagram post. She goes on to explain that the photos were taken 30 seconds apart. n the first one, she’s simply twisting her body so her stomach isn’t seen by the camera: “This is the problem with the internet. A lot of women only post pictures like the one on the left & at the exact same time they also look like the picture on the right, but if we only see the skinny pic, we think they 'have the perfect body' & internalize the idea that we don't.” Preach.
Lucy Baker, the blogger behind the The Fit Life, illustrated how her belly looks after a day of comfort eating. "We're only human and all of slip up sometimes," she wrote. "As I've clearly proved, everyone goes through the exact same struggles!"
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Getting in on the #30secondtransformation movement, vegan Instagrammer @girlxfit recently shared these photos taken a half a minute apart. The secret to her suddenly slimmer figure? “On the left I'm flexing pretty hard and on the right I'm not even pushing out, I'm just relaxed as you'd find me at any other moment in the day. Just a reality check.”
Here's evidence that it's completely normal for your tummy to expand over the course of the day. Sara Puhto shared these three photos of herself taken within 20 hours—one after working out in the a.m., another after eating a big meal at night, and a third after exercising again the following morning. "I've posted a photo like this before but I just wanted to remind you that it's normal for your stomach to get bigger after large meals and that our bodies don't look the same throughout the day," wrote Puhto, who notes that she's learned to love herself at her most toned, as well as when she's sporting a food baby bump.
“If I'm going to show you the posed, put together, professional sides of me, I'm gonna make damn sure you see the not so flattering sides too. Because, contrary to what society has taught us to think, our worth isn't measured by how many belly rolls we have, or how many dimples on our booty, or how much jiggle hangs out on our arms,” wrote fitness blogger Foodie Girl Fitness on her Facebook page last November. We think she looks equally beautiful in both snaps.
Not all heroes wear capes—some wear sports bras. The Biggest Loser trainer Jen Widerstrom shared this photo with her Instagram followers to highlight how differently a fit physique can appear on camera depending on one's posture. “Don’t stress about the way your body looks in certain positions,” wrote Widerstrom. “These photos were taken 2 minutes apart!”
This Bikini Body Guide devotee divulged her #30secondtransformation when she shared this “perfectly imperfect” comparison on her Instagram account last year. Calling out how social media has become the “highlight reel” of our lives, the fitness influencer wrote that she wanted to be as real as possible with her followers, giving them a chance to see her imperfections along with her high points: “Imperfections make you real, approachable, human and one of a kind,” added the mother of three.
Vanessa Carlton posted these stomach snapshots to Instagram last year as evidence of the “faux perfection” of selfies. “Normally exposing myself like this would feel mortifying and inappropriate to me but given what I've been seeing online and knowing the way young girls and boys are affected by what they see, well, I feel moved to do this,” the singer wrote in the caption. “I’m presenting the whole picture."