Health

Body Transformation Photo Comes with a Tip That Has Nothing to Do With Fitness

July 11th 2017

By:
Almie Rose

So many before and after weight loss photos on Instagram come with fitness tips. But Sara Puhto is offering different advice — and it's on a 30-second body transformation.

 

A post shared by Sara Puhto (@saggysara) on

To be clear, the body positive blogger (@saggysara) is not the first Instagrammer to post a 30-second body transformation picture.

Anna Victoria, a fitness blogger with 1.3 million Instagram followers, was one of the first to debunk the real trick behind before and after Instagram photos. It's all in how the models pose and twist their bodies to get the most desirable angles, hence the "30 second transformation."

 

A post shared by Anna Victoria (@annavictoria) on

She included with the above before and after: ""Me 1 percent of the time vs. 99 percent of the time. And I love both photos equally."

Puhto took a similar approach — but she offered a real health tip, too.

Here's her before and after (or what she refers to as "Instagram vs. real life"), which currently has over 12,000 likes and hundreds of comments:

 

A post shared by Sara Puhto (@saggysara) on

"If I saw the photo on the left a year ago I would've instantly thought so negatively about my body, that all my hard work from working out was non existent, that if someone looked at me they would've never thought I've been working out for 2 years and think I wasn't trying hard enough," she wrote.

But here's the real tip — it's all about your mindset.

"Don't eat less or miss out on your favorite meals/drinks or over exercise to 'look good for a holiday' or to 'look good in bikini photos' because there will always be angles that are 'unflattering' that might make you feel bad when you see them," she wrote. She went on to add:

Instead workout and eat healthy because it makes you feel good, not as a punishment.

She continues, "Start loving and accepting your body at all angles with all your 'flaws', instead of trying to fit into societies image of 'beauty' because that image isn't inclusive of all individuals, which is so messed up. Don't hate yourself just because of bad photos, they do not define you as a person."

In an email to ATTN:, Puhto added: "I just hope people can realize that just because media doesn't portray the type of body you have, it doesn't mean you aren't beautiful. Everybody looks different, so it would be ridiculous for everyone to conform to the bodies portrayed in media."

Since the photo went viral, she posted another before and after to show how angles can change perceptions:

 

A post shared by Sara Puhto (@saggysara) on

Why does this matter?

If the only images women see are of perfectly fit women, it sends the message that any perceived flaw isn't acceptable. But when they see themselves reflected in images without Photoshop and with those "flaws," they feel supported.

This was proven when American Eagle decided to stop retouching its models in 2015 for its lingerie line, Aerie — and saw sales rise nearly 10 percent.

 

A post shared by aerie (@aerie) on

And in an age where Instagram fitness bloggers are becoming more popular than some mainstream celebrities, it matters when they get real about what a before and after transformation is really about. Fitplan reported in June that "fitness influencers are transforming the industry."

So when influencers like Puhto stress the mind-body connection in fitness, it has a powerful reach.

With 97,000 followers, Puhto, like Anna Victoria, has a voice that reaches many women who are struggling with more than just weight, but with body image.

"I think Instagram can be deceptive when it comes to fitness photos," Puhto told ATTN:. "I just hope that people can become aware that these people in Instagram photos do not look like that all the time. This also applies to photos that you take of yourself that may look unflattering, since photos aren't accurate representations of reality."