Megan Jayne Crabbe is a 24-year-old from Essex, England. She runs the body-positive Instagram and Twitter account bodyposipanda.
A month ago, Crabbe posted a photo of herself from two and a half years ago – a time in her life when she says she was struggling with her self-image – alongside a recent photo, to show how she feels she's changed.
Crabbe told BuzzFeed that while there were many supportive comments, there were also negative ones too. So on Sunday, Crabbe posted another before-and-after photo, and answers to some of the negative comments.
The caption reads:
"Wait so you just decided to RUIN your body?"
Nah, I just stopped torturing myself every day for not fitting an image I was never supposed to be.
"But you look so much healthier to me before."
That's funny, you looked so much more intelligent to me before you equated health with weight and forgot that mental health is health too.
"You could have stayed the same and loved your body, you didn't need to get fat."
I could have stayed the same and spiralled back into the eating disorder that almost killed me when I was 15. I could have kept starving myself and obsessively working out for hours everyday but it never would have lead me to self love. No matter how much weight I lost there was always still something to hate. And sure, people don't NEED to gain weight to find their self love, this is just what my body needed to do to match up to my mental freedom. THIS IS MY HAPPY BODY.
"But surely you can't be happy looking like that now, I could never be happy in that body."
I didn't think I could either, but as it turns out, happiness isn't a size. And I wasted far too many years believing that it was. Now I'm not going to stop letting people know that they deserve happiness exactly as they are. They deserve to live now, not 10 pounds from now. They deserve that mental freedom. So to every person reading this: I hope you get your freedom too, however it might look. I'll be cheering you on every step of the way. 💜💙💚🌈🌞
P.s. these are all comments I received on my last before/after picture, luckily for me, they just make me want to keep going even more 👊
Crabbe's picture and caption were hugely popular, with over 100,000 likes. The photo has been shared across social platforms.
Crabbe said that she was inspired to write the post to highlight how important it is to include mental health in discussions of overall health.
"Most people would see the 'before' me – thinner, more toned – and assume that I was far healthier, when in reality I was utterly obsessed with losing weight and slipping back into an eating disorder that nearly killed me when I was 15," she said. "That level of obsession and self-hatred could never be healthy, no matter how it looks."
Crabbe said the reaction to her post has been overwhelming, with many people thanking her for showing a different version of before-and-after photos.
She said that while there were also negative comments, she no longer lets them affect her.
"There have been hundreds of hateful comments ranging from people telling me to go die to the classic health concern trolling that most body-positive accounts get. It casts their whole belief system of 'thin equal always happy and thin equals always healthy' into question, which I think is why they react so strongly," she said. "All those comments just prove how much work there is to do in combating fatphobia, healthism, and just plain teaching people that other people's bodies aren't theirs to dictate."