Can you guess how long between the before and after?

By Lindsey Murray
June 29, 2015

Are you routinely amazed by dramatic before-and-after weight-loss photos? Do you despair that you'll never look like the women who constantly show off their crazy-flat abs on social media? A personal trainer from London has a reassuring message for you: Those fitness pics may not always be as real as they seem.

Sophie Kay, 27, recently wrote a (now-viral) Tumblr post detailing some major misconceptions about true fitness—including the idea that everyone who posts a hot-looking selfie is actually that buff in real life. As proof, she offered up this shocking set of selfies taken within 3 minutes of each other that shows two drastically different-looking Kays.

Under the photo in her full post, she wrote, “All I did in the 3 minutes between the two photos was to turn off the overhead light, put on underwear that fit better, twist my body slightly to the side to show off my best angle, flex and, of course, add a filter. So don’t pay much attention to those ‘before and after’ shots!”

Kay continues on to dispel other fitness myths in the post, like the belief that you need six-pack abs to be healthy (the truth: nope, and in fact, some people are just more genetically predisposed to develop them).

In her post, Kay says that she was inspired to write after noticing unnecessary pressure in the fitness world to look or act a certain way.

She writes, “The world of perfect abs, long legs and sweat-free faces on Instagram portrays an image of fitness that is fun, easy and full of happiness. It can be all of these things but it can also be tiring, tough, demoralizing and grump-inducing when you’re getting up and it’s still dark outside. Plus, no one actually looks perfect if they’re working out properly!”

Don’t get us wrong: We’re all for a great before-and-after shot, especially when you worked your butt off, literally, to achieve it! But it's also important to know that people on social media—and even fitness pros like Kay—aren't as flawless as they appear to be. That way, we can focus less on trying to take the perfect picture, and more on the bigger, better goal: getting healthy.