Before-and-after photos give us a seriously warped view of what bodies should look like. That's what makes the side-by-side photo Laura Mazza posted to Facebook so great. In her "before" image, the blogger behind Mum on the Run looks fit, but she wasn't healthy. She followed a super-restrictive diet and never felt happy.
Mazza knows her "after" photo isn't something people want to see on Facebook. "All of a sudden it's not OK," she writes. "It's not pleasing to the eye anymore. It's not a body to be admired." But the reality is she's healthier (and happier) today. Now she's spreading the gospel that people of all sizes should celebrate their bodies—and she gets that's not easy.
Check out the full post below:
No, this isn't a before-and-after shot of weight loss. But it is a victory story.
I write this from my heart. It hurts.
On the left —this was my body before kids.
No stretch marks or scars from belly button piercings. A belly button that was high. A flat stomach. I was always on a diet back then. And this was the best diet I went on. I used to take photos of my progress. Uploading this photo wouldn't be bad, it's like me being in a bikini. It's socially acceptable.
I took progress photos because it meant I was closer to a weight where I would love myself. I ate no carbs, and barely any vegetables. Just meat. But I loved it because I was losing weight rapidly, and the more bones that protruded, the more I valued myself. I ended up hating meat, and was always suffering from heartburn. But still I looked at this photo, this image of myself, like I was fat. There was nothing wrong with the way I looked. My body was mine.
No one else would have said anything, they would have told me I looked fit, that I was healthy. I remember people asking me what my excercise routine was... They admired me. I admired me! I bought a whole new wardrobe. I was so proud. I showed off my body.
On the right is me now. Stretch marks. A droopy belly button. Thicker, not many bones protruding, but more dimples that represent cellulite. People don't want to see this photo. All of a sudden it's not OK. It's not pleasing to the eye anymore. It's not a body to be admired.
This body, it's not a result of just meat. It's a result of eating everything. Fruit, vegetables, carbs, pasta, rice, cakes, chocolate.. Sometimes 20 chicken nuggets. Fish... It's not always healthy but 99% of it is. The nuggets are for when I'm tired... Sure.
The scars and stretch marks and jiggly tummy is because I made humans. I ate a little more cake, I drank a little more wine. I made mug cakes at 9 p.m. and snuggled on the couch with my husband. But for some reason, I didn't love this body. It's sad.
This body didn't deserve sexy underwear or a new wardrobe. Sometimes I didn't even want to take pregnancy photos because I was ashamed of how big I looked. I didn't admire this body.
I felt like people were forcing me to love my body. "You've only got one"... Well, I don't care. I want to be skinny. But sh*t, when I was, I wasn't happy. And I certainly wasn't healthy.
But you know what? I have achieved more with this body than I have with my old body. I've eaten more good foods. I've lived more, I've given more, I've enjoyed more. I've made life. This body, THIS body should be celebrated and admired.
I should admire myself. I should love myself.
I get it now. Celebrating all body types. All body types and the stories that go with that body. Above all, the person should be celebrated. Healthy bodies should be celebrated. Healthy should be what we strive for. Healthy minds, healthy journeys and however that reflects on to our bodies, we should admire it.
I still want to look like the first photo, no doubt. I miss that body, it makes me sad. But I want to get there in a healthy way, mentally and physically. I want to be proud and at peace with this body. And I want to like what I've got now.
No. I want to love what I've got now.
No matter what size you are, a size 6 or size 60. You deserve to celebrate it. Sexy underwear AND a new wardrobe.
So love your body because you truly really, really only get one! (In this life anyway.)