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A woman posted before-and-after photos showing off her "softer" body — and people loved it

INSIDER logoINSIDER 4/26/2018 cpraderio@businessinsider.com (Caroline Praderio)
beck jackson before and after instagram weight gain © Provided by Business Insider Inc beck jackson before and after instagram weight gain
  • Beck Jackson, 23, is a fitness Instagram personality based in Australia. 
  • On April 19, she posted before-and-after photos that show her body got "softer" over a period of four months.
  • In the caption she wrote that her body changed because she was busy living life — and she doesn't feel unhappy or unhealthy because of it.
  • It's a good reminder that it's normal for bodies to fluctuate — and that gaining weight or losing muscle tone aren't necessarily bad things.

An Australian fitness personality took to Instagram last week to share a different kind of before-and-after photo: One that shows off a loss of muscle tone and some weight gain

In a photo collage posted to her account on April 19, 23-year-old Beck Jackson compared two photos of herself side-by-side. The photo on the left shows Jackson in a bikini, with visibly defined ab muscles. It's labeled, simply, "Me."

The photo on the right shows Jackson in a sports bra, her abs no longer visible and her stomach slightly rounder. This image is labeled, "Me after: Christmas, Easter, holidays and living my life."

Your body will fluctuate so much throughout adulthood and it really shouldn’t take over your life. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Yes I’ve probably gained a kilo or two (I don’t actually know because I don’t weight myself) but yes I’m less toned than I was 4 months ago, no I don’t think I’m unhealthy, no I’m not unhappy.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ You know why? I’ve had fun, I’ve been on holidays, I’ve been eating amazing food, I haven’t been beating myself up when I don’t get to the gym because I’m too busy living my life, ive been really really HAPPY! That’s why I may look a little “softer” than I did 4 months ago. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It would have been a different story two years ago, when I was 19-20 years old if I fluctuated in weight by even 100 grams I would LOSE MY SH*T, let alone if my body actually changed, I probably would have had a severe mental breakdown. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Why? Because I was never confident within myself and that meant that regardless of how much I weighed or what I looked like, or how defined my ab muscles were, I would never be happy with myself. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Just a tip: try to stay healthy, exercise regularly, but your body doesn’t define who you are as a person, your weight shouldn’t control your life, and if you want to eat a bowl of ice cream after dinner - EAT A BOWL OF ICECREAM AFTER DINNER! Because life is too short to give up those simple little pleasures.

A post shared by BECK JACKSON 🦒 (@becklomas) on

"Your body will fluctuate so much throughout adulthood and it really shouldn't take over your life," Jackson wrote in the post's caption. "Yes I've probably gained a kilo or two ... yes I'm less toned than I was 4 months ago, no I don't think I'm unhealthy, no I'm not unhappy ... I've had fun, I've been on holidays, I've been eating amazing food, I haven't been beating myself up when I don't get to the gym because I'm too busy living my life, I've been really really HAPPY! That's why I may look a little 'softer' than I did 4 months ago."

It's true — as some commenters pointed out — that Jackson's weight gain and loss of muscle tone aren't dramatic. Even her "softer" body still conforms to the thin-but-fit ideal propagated all across Instagram.

Still, the sentiment behind the post is an important one. Many of us — no matter our size — contend with a deeply entrenched cultural belief that weight loss is worthy of celebration and weight gain is an embarrassing personal failure.

But that belief leaves no room for real-life nuance.

Weight loss can be a symptom of illness, for example. (In a recent Cosmopolitan article about weight bias in medicine, one woman recalled a doctor congratulating her when she dropped 30 pounds due to Lyme disease.)

Similarly, weight gain doesn't automatically indicate laziness or gluttony or downward spirals. It can signify recovery from disordered eating, as model Emily Baydor wrote in an Instagram post published in 2017.

And it can result from time well spent, good memories, and food enjoyed without guilt, as Jackson noted in her post last week.

"Try to stay healthy, exercise regularly, but [remember] your body doesn't define who you are as a person," she wrote to close out the caption. "Your weight shouldn't control your life, and if you want to eat a bowl of ice cream after dinner — EAT A BOWL OF ICE CREAM AFTER DINNER! Because life is too short to give up those simple little pleasures."

No, a single post like this can't erase Instagram's flood of unrealistic and potentially damaging fitness imagery. But is clearly resonated with commenters, most of whom thanked Jackson for her honesty.

"Loving this message, as someone [whose] weight can fluctuate an insannneee amount very quickly, I've found it super important to not let the scales effect my wellbeing," one person wrote.

"Really needed this," another said. "Been feeling so 'fat' and bloated and frumpy lately and need to change my method of thinking around because I've been able to enjoy life and food and shouldn't be so hard on myself."

A representative for Jackson did not immediately respond to INSIDER's request for comment.

Gallery: 12 ways to work out at home and stay motivated (Cheapism)

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