Weight loss advertisements and stories often make it seem like the process is easy, quick, and relatively painless. They often do not highlight the struggle, or the realistic end results.
Such messages can make us feel like failures when our own experiences don't match up.
Thankfully, there are lots of people who are changing the way we think about weight loss with their honest accounts. Anne Hathaway, for example, recently posted a message about how new moms shouldn't feel pressure to immediately lose weight after giving birth. Mom and Australian-based blogger and mom Constance Wall has also spoken up about being proud of her post-baby body.
Now, joining the conversation is Rachel Graham, a mom-of-two who started documenting her weight loss journey a year ago on her blog, Losing Gravity.
After losing 90 pounds, Graham uploaded a photo of the loose skin on her stomach, and accompanied it with a candid message about self-love and her new body.
" The anxiety posting this is REAL. Taken a few minutes apart, flexing in the first. "How did you avoid loose skin and stretch marks?" Heyyyyy, I didn't! Its all there. High waisted bottoms have become my bff. Do I regret losing weight? Hellllll noooooo. NEVER. Not even a slightest thought. I am more FIT than I've ever been in my entire life. Happier. HEALTHIER. I'd be lying if I said my loose skin wasn't an insecurity of mine.. But I refuse to let it consume me. It doesn't hold me back like the weight used to. This stomach has grown two beautiful boys ... Has been through a 90lb+ gain and loss (100lb+ lost from my highest weight while pregnant!) Will you have loose skin after losing weight? I can't answer that for you, everyBODY is different. Will it be worth it, regardless? YES. Also for those who have asked.. I do plan to have surgery some day, but in the mean time I'm just working on self loooovvveeee. ❤️❤️❤️❤️ BE KINDDDD, I delete negativity 🤗 (No itworks, creams, lotions, yada yada) #nofilter#stretchmarks"
Graham's after photo is not the airbrushed, "perfect" photo we typically see in weight loss stories. It is a real photo of a real body.
Similarly, Graham's message is just as real. The honest post recounts her struggles to learn to love her excess skin. The weight loss blogger told People that she was initially hesitant to post the photo, but she was determined to be upfront about all aspects of her journey.
"Ever since I started my Instagram, I've wanted to keep true to being honest about every aspect of this journey. The good, the bad … insecurities and all."
She added, "I find that sometimes it's easy to pick which photos I like the most of myself and add them online – but there's more to my journey than just posed pictures at the best angles. I want to keep it 'real' to those following my journey, and my excess skin is my reality."
Her honesty in the recent post has really resonated with her 111,000 followers. The post has had over 5,000 likes since it was written a week ago, and many are commenting about how refreshing it is to hear excess skin being talked about openly and positively.
One commenter wrote, "I just found your account and think it's great! Loose skin has been my biggest worry as I go through my journey. I've lost over 230 lbs and have 100+ to go. I very seldom see posts talking about loose skin. I avoid it myself ... But I think in order to learn to accept that it's there AND a part of me, I have to start facing it. Thank you so much for posting this!! I needed to hear it and to start dealing with it."
Weight loss is a journey that is as much about loving your body as it is changing it. Graham's post reminds us of that important message.
(H/T: Cosmopolitan UK)