“Before-and-after” photos typically follow a certain structure: The “after” photo shows a person who is smaller or more muscular than the person in the “before” photo. And while there is nothing wrong with changing your body as long as you’re doing it through safe and healthy means, there’s no single body type everyone should aspire to. Lately, many body-positive and mental health activists are transforming the genre and making a statement that there are other worthy transformations to document via photo. La’Tecia Thomas, a 27-year-old makeup artist and model, has just posted side-by-side photos of herself at two different weights that challenge the typical before-and-after photo trope, and her message is super important.
Thomas writes that when the first photo was taken, she was training to compete in a bikini competition: “So many people will look at this photo and make physical comparisons and say they would prefer me ‘before’. I prefer me at any weight as long as I’m happy. It’s okay to love yourself no matter what your size is.”
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She goes on to say that she was actually much less happy when the “before” picture was snapped and hated certain parts of her body. Since then, she’s changed her perspective on her appearance and her confidence has grown. Now, she feels better-equipped to love her body at any size, though she’s perfectly happy at her current weight. “Since changing my outlook on life and learning to embrace who I am, I know that hypothetically if I were to go back to what I used to be I would be so much happier and content than what I was because I’ve learned to love me,” she writes.
Thomas also makes a salient point about the link between mental and physical health in her caption, writing, “Your mental health is just as important as your physical. Also I’m not saying it’s okay to be inactive and make unhealthy choices, I think it’s about finding balance, listen to your body, you know what’s best for it.” Bottom line: Your relationship with your body is your own, and how you should look and feel isn’t up to anyone else to decide.
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