Health

Woman Reveals What Before and After Fitness Photos Don't Show You

Instagram fitness trends can inspire people to get in shape, but one young woman is saying that she is a cautionary tale for taking it too far.

 

A photo posted by Amanda (@thelifeofandie) on

Amanda Tarlton, a 24-year-old woman who blogs about recovering from anorexia, shared a recent Instagram post showing what she looked like before and after she developed an unhealthy body image obsession.

She is thinner and more toned on the side-by-side image to the right, but she wrote on Instagram and her blog that this does not mean she was healthier or happier at a lower weight, as it was the result of an eating disorder.

 

A photo posted by Amanda (@thelifeofandie) on

"Sometimes thinner isn't better, sometimes 'hot' doesn't mean happy, sometimes the dream body isn't worth killing yourself for," she wrote on Instagram. "You truly can't judge a book by its cover."

She directed users to her blog, where she took the Instagram hashtag #TransformationTuesday to task for sometimes perpetuating negative body image issues. People often use the hashtag to share before and after weight loss photos.

On her blog, Tarlton wrote that some may wrongfully call it an accomplishment for her to lose so much weight, as seen in her before and after photo:

"[U]nfortunately in our society, weight loss and thinness is a sign of health. We assume if someone lost weight, they must be healthier. That it's always something to be celebrated. An achievement, a mark of success. But for me (and for many other women), a thinner body does not mean a healthier body. In fact, it means the exact opposite."

 

A photo posted by Amanda (@thelifeofandie) on

She added that even though she got the body of her dreams, her entire life fell apart as a result:

"I would give anything to rewind to before my eating disorder, before I was a size zero, to that carefree girl who loved her life. Who exercised only when she felt like it. Who had an amazing boyfriend, great friends, and a bright future. Who could eat an entire pizza followed by ice cream without a second thought. Who felt hot af 99% of the time."

 

A photo posted by Amanda (@thelifeofandie) on

She wrote that it's important to remember that before and after photos are not always what they seem:

"So the next time you see a before and after picture, take a minute before you comment. Remember you don't know what it took to get there. You don't know what demons that woman is facing, what her life looks like, what her story really is. You don't know anything other than her size."

Many people are showing her support and encouragement for sharing her story:

Instagram comments

Instagram comments

Body image and fitness trends on social media have created problems for other users as well.

#Thinspo and #fitspo posts have been known to perpetuate body image issues for some people. Last year, teenager India Edmonds spoke with Mirror Online about her experiences with developing anorexia after comparing herself to thin celebrities, models, children, and classmates. She added that she was 14 years old when she began using Instagram as a weight loss inspiration platform.

“Everyone at school had an Instagram account,” she said. “Girls put photos up and I always thought they looked thinner and prettier than me.”

There are other potential dangers of fitness photos on Instagram.

Last month, celebrity trainer Anna Kaiser told Business Insider that people need to be careful about trying to emulate so-called fitness Instagram stars, as many of these personalities are not actually educated in fitness.

 

A photo posted by Anna Kaiser (@theannakaiser) on

"I would just warn people against following a personality or someone who looks great in a bikini and really seek out someone who knows what they're doing, and that’s the general feeling in the fitness community today," Kaiser said.