Inspiring blogger and elite pro runner Lauren Fleshman walked the runway for Oiselle (a women’s running apparel company) just three months after giving birth to her first child. Anyone who perused photos from the fashion show saw L-Flesh’s impressive postpartum abs front and center as she strode down the runway in a skimpy two-piece racing outfit.

But according to Fleshman, a picture isn’t worth a thousand words—or even a thousand workouts. On her blog last week, the speedy 5K champ told the world what’s what by posting a few less-than-flattering photos of her bod during the same week she strutted down the runway. The pics feature a tummy that pooches out, slumped posture, and what Fleshman affectionately refers to as “thigh cheese”—in other words, physical imperfections virtually everyone can relate to.

The runner’s refreshing, honest blog post has gone viral since it posted late last week. Here’s why she chose to share her story:

“In real life, people don’t walk around spray tanned and flexed. Out of the thousands of photos taken at the runway show after all that tanning and primping and posture-holding, one or two of them looked good. […] Never take the photos you see on magazine covers or online too seriously. Everyone has thigh cheese. It’s part of life. Nobody is perfect.”

There you have it. Understanding that even elite athletes aren’t “beach-ready” 24/7 demonstrates that we all need to give ourselves some slack and appreciate what our bodies can do, instead of what they look like.

Want to join Lauren Fleshman in celebrating our bodies for what they do, not what they look like? Share an unflattering photo of yourself on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #keepingitreal, and add to a collection of photos taken by people willing to tell the truth about their bodies, no shame attached.

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