Showing off your before-and-after weight loss body through progress photos has become as much a part of the weight loss process in the internet age as tracking calories on a smartphone.
But two fitness-centric women, one a well-known trainer and the other a competitive body builder, have found that after publicly sharing their "reverse progress" photos — in which they reveal images of their less-toned bodies after lessening their gym regimen and gaining some weight — has only helped them learn to love themselves more.
Aussie mom Taryn Brumfitt struggled with body image issues for most of her life.
Taryn entered the world of competitive body building.
But despite slimming down, she still hated the way she looked. "I did have the perfect body, or near enough, and you know what?" she said. "Nothing changed about how I felt about my body."
Taryn then realized she had to do the difficult work of learning to love her body, no matter what.
The Body Image Movement aims to challenge the negative messaging women and girls tell themselves and each other about their bodies.
Taryn says she was motivated to do it so that her daughter wouldn't have to go through what she went through. “How will I teach her to love her body?" she wrote on her website. "How am I going to encourage her to accept and love her body, when I am standing in front of her with a surgically enhanced body? What type of hypocrite or mother would I be?”
She's launched a Kickstarter to fund her documentary, Embrace, which she hopes will encourage women to really examine how they feel about their bodies.
Fitness expert Neghar Fonooni runs a popular blog about eating and training healthfully, called Eat, Lift, & Be Happy, where she often shows off photos of her looking super buff while killing it in the gym (or wherever she feels like exercising).
But the Santa Monica native admittedly gained some weight when she decided to prioritize "being the best mom and wife I can be."
Recently, Fonooni posted a "reverse progress" photo to Facebook, to show that "fitness professionals aren't perfect" and that everyone has weight fluctuations.
The trainer had gained 14 pounds, and went from 12% to 18% body fat. But despite calling it a "reverse progress" photo, Fonooni said she actually felt like it was "real progress."
While she's leaner in the left picture, Fonooni said she was "miserable" then, in an abusive relationship and lacking confidence.
In the post, which went viral on Facebook, the California mom said she now works out 15 to 30 minutes a day instead of two hours, doesn't stress about food, and drinks as much red wine as she wants.
She realized her decision to focus less on sculpting and calorie-counting and more on her well-being and happiness was the healthiest one she could make.
"I'm happier now," she wrote.
I'm sharing this with you because I want you to see that fitness professionals aren't perfect. We aren't always shredded and we shouldn't just show you our highlight reel. Sometimes I'm leaner than others, and that fluctuation is normal. It took me years to be okay with that, and to accept my body just as it is, 10 pounds up or down. I could look at that picture from 2009 and feel badly about myself for gaining weight, or I could look at the picture from a few weeks ago and feel proud of myself. I choose to feel proud.
Read the rest of her post here.