This Woman Has Gone Viral For Showing Her Body In Outfits Before And After Eating, And It's Inspiring Others To Do The Same
Say it with me: Bloating is normal!
In the series, Clara shows off her super-cute outfits as well as what her body looks like before and after a full day of eating. She explains that bloating is something that's "normal and should be celebrated."
She also engages in positive self-talk during her before and afters, such as, "My appearance is the least interesting thing about me. I have so many other amazing qualities, but those are suppressed when I'm hangry!"
Every single one of Clara's TikToks in the series have gone viral, with some amassing over 5 million views. She's also gotten thousand of comments thanking her for normalizing something many people — especially women — feel insecure about on a regular basis.
Clara told BuzzFeed that she decided to create her before/after series in order to create a "positive conversation around the changes our bodies go through when we eat."
"So often in the media, you see bloating as a negative thing, as our society has such deeply engrained fatphobia. In reality, no matter what size you are, your body becoming bigger shouldn’t have such a negative connotation."
She also opened up about her past struggles with body image and bloating. "I suffered from anorexia, which was perpetuated by the idea that if I DID eat something before an event/pictures/being in a bikini, I would look bloated. In reality, there was an 'event' every day that allowed my symptoms to progress. It took a really long time for me to start respecting my body, and the respect came before the confidence. At first I was like, 'Alright, my body deserves to be nourished and taken care of,' but it wasn't until a while later that the dialogue turned to, 'Wow, my body looks and feels amazing!'"
Clara's TikToks have also inspired other users to share their own outfits before and after eating. According to Clara, "The positive responses from this series have been overwhelming. There are a lot of conversations happening about body image/disordered eating, but I think a lot of people felt alone in the notion that bloating was one of the driving forces behind restricting (or purging)."
"When I show off my bloated stomach in my cute outfits and people can see me radiating with confidence, they feel it within themselves too! Nothing makes me feel more proud of my viewers."
And, in case you still had ANY doubt that bloating is completely normal, I reached out to Dr. Supriya Rao, MD, a board certified physician in internal medicine, gastroenterology, and obesity medicine based in Boston. Dr. Rao told BuzzFeed, "Bloating is very common. It's one of the most common complaints that we see as a gastroenterologist. Bloating is a sensation of abdominal fullness or trapped air, and can be associated with abdominal distention. This can happen after eating certain foods. The cause of actual bloating is not well understood and likely has multiple components...no one should avoid eating to avoid bloating."
She also noted, "Women tend to suffer more from conditions such as IBS, associated with either constipation or diarrhea (1.5 times more), and thus may have more issues with bloating. You can also have bloating associated with pelvic floor dysfunction, which affects women more than men."
But, in the end, Clara's end goal isn't just to normalize bloating. It's also to support self-love and positive self-talk when it comes to our bodies:
What I’m hoping viewers take away is the positive self-talk I practice during the videos. I hope that next time they look in the mirror after nourishing their bodies, my voice or any positive voice starts to overpower the negative self talk we all experience too much. They might not be able to completely do away with that negative voice, but they can sure as hell speak louder.