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A woman's side-by-side photo tells a powerful message about weight loss and self-love

INSIDER logoINSIDER 12/7/2017 (Emily DiNuzzo)

a man and a woman posing for a picture: SaraPuhto © Provided by Business Insider Inc SaraPuhto Sara Puhto recently shared a transformation photo showing what self-love and acceptance looks like.

  • Body-positivity activist Sara Puhto recently shared a side-by-side Instagram photo promoting self-love.
  • The photos not only show her physical transformation, but her mental and emotional one too.
  • Puhto told INSIDER that she wants her followers to stop obsessing over Instagram photos and how their bodies look. 

Sara Puhto has spoken out about armpit hair and Instagram's reality with side-by-side photos in the past. Now, in her most recent transformation photo, she discussed body acceptance and ditching obsessive weight loss thoughts. 

In the first photo, Puhto is wearing a crop top and jeans that are loose around her waist. She captioned the picture, "thinks weight determines her happiness." The other photo features Puhto wearing the same outfit fitting her more snugly. She captioned it, "knows she's worthy and is happy." 

Obsession 🌿 I used to be obsessed with losing weight and getting abs. I thought once I hit a certain goal weight and get abs I'll be happy and worthy. That somehow, magically, all my insecurities and self doubt will go away. But it doesn't work like that. I would workout excessively and obsess about calories. I would get upset when I realised I still have tummy fat. I thought I was being healthy, but I forgot about my mental health along the way. The truth is, losing weight won't make me happy or feel worthy because there will always be more weight that I'd want to lose. Losing weight didn't help me achieve life goals. There's so much more to life than obsessing about abs and weight. You are worthy the way you are and are capable of being happy without having to drastically change your body. Society equates being lean and having abs to beauty. But beauty is different for everyone!! Beauty can be intelligence, compassion, drive. And I'm sure you are these things. Let's stop equating beauty and health to our bodies only. Our bodies are all different and what someone else's healthy is, may not be yours. And that's fine!! Do whatever makes YOU feel happy, healthy and confident because this is YOUR life. And don't forget, your body is amazing and capable of doing so much! It is nothing to be ashamed of!! 🌴☀️ ------------------------------------------ . . . #youareworthy #bodypositive #obsession #bodyimageissues #embracethesquish #selfgrowth #youaregoodenough #healthymind

A post shared by Sara Puhto (@saggysara) on

"I used to be obsessed with losing weight and getting abs," she wrote in the caption of the post. "I thought once I hit a certain goal weight and [sic] got abs I'll be happy and worthy. That somehow, magically, all my insecurities and self-doubt will go away. But it doesn't work like that." 

Puhto wrote that she would obsess over calories and work out all for a flat tummy — all while neglecting her mental health. She told INSIDER in an e-mail that she posted the photo to remind her followers that Instagram photos don't always show the reality of one's health and body.

"I hope that people can realize that there is nothing wrong with their bodies and that they don't need to change themselves to fit a certain type of body that society deems 'beautiful,'" she said. "Because we all come in different shapes and sizes." 

The post has received more than 15,000 likes and comments from people who love and relate to Puhto's story. 

"Really nice and true words," one person wrote. "Thank you for inspiring me to learn to love myself," someone else commented. " I really appreciate you speaking out about your journey. It helps more than you know," another person wrote. 

Tummy fat 🌿 I posted a similar photo a few weeks ago but I wanted to post a sitting down version! I know many people think that if you have a flat tummy standing up, you'll have a flat tummy sitting down. But that's not the case!! I always thought if I got fit and had abs I would magically always have abs. But in reality that isn't true at all. We all have tummy fat!! And that's completely fine! It doesn't make you "ugly" or "unhealthy". This fat is vital in protecting our organs! You don't need to have a flat tummy 24/7 to be considered "beautiful", you are beautiful in your own way and you don't need to obsess over something like a flat tummy!! Because at the end of the day having a flat tummy doesn't change you as a person. You are wonderful as you are now! 🌴☀️ ------------------------------------------ . . . #loveyourbody #youarebeautiful #bodypositive #lawofattraction #spreadlove #lifelessons #stopcomparing #youaregoodenough

A post shared by Sara Puhto (@saggysara) on

Body-positivity and acceptance is a common theme on Puhto's Instagram page. She regularly shares her thoughts with side-by-side photos.

"I personally think [side-by-side photos] show a good comparison of what we see everyday on Instagram versus what we see everyday in ourselves, in reality," she said. "Which is something I felt I could relate to and that others could relate to — to help them realize that they are as worthy as anyone." 

Puhto's own journey to self-acceptance took time. She said that every time she would hit her "goal weight" or "goal calories," she felt unfulfilled. She combated that by steering clear of obsessive thoughts. 

"I started thinking that I need to accept my body the way it is now and that I don't need to change myself to be happy," she said. That's a body-positive message we can get behind. 

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