beauty

The kind of 'before-and-after' bikini photo we can really get behind.

A fitness and body positive blogger has shared the kind of ‘after photo’ we rarely get to see.

Julie Ledbetter, a blogger from the US, shared a video to her social media accounts, showing her bikini ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots – but there’s a twist.

Ledbetter is a former bikini competition model who is now embracing a more realistic and sustainable body shape.

In her post Ledbetter says she wanted to show the difference between her body in 2014 – when she won a bikini pro card – and her body now.

“For those of you who have competed, you know what I am talking about when I say that the body on the left is NOT maintainable year-round,” she writes.

“I was almost in the single digits for body fat % (not healthy), constantly cold (in the middle of JULY), always thinking about my next meal because I was in a deep caloric deficit and couldn’t miss a gym session because ‘I was ___ weeks out from my show.’ [sic]

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Julie explains her current body shape is maintainable – she has a healthy body-fat percentage and she’s no longer constantly thinking about her next meal or stressing about missing workouts.

“I am strong, content and most importantly confident of the body I have built since 2014. This body is something that I can confidently say I can maintain for life.”

The blogger says the moral of the story is that women shouldn’t look at bikini model shots or models on magazine covers and compare those bodies to their own.

Listen: Why it’s okay to be ‘body neutral’. (Post continues after audio.)

“99.9% of them are either showing a VERY VERY VERY extreme highlight reel OR photoshopped,” she said.

“No matter how ‘healthy’ your approach is to the stage, it is an extreme – plain and simple.”

The original post has been viewed over 1.5 million times and many people have commented, thanking Julie for her honest and game-changing message.

“Recovering from an eating disorder and I really needed to hear this. Thank you so much,” wrote one person.

“WELL SAID! Enough with the bikini body culture and the slimming down for the summer! You should love your body all year round,” added another.

“Yes, yes, yes! Love this! I love my hobbies, family, and friends more than trying to get the ‘perfect’ body!”

What do you think of Julie’s body positive message?

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