The before-and-after transformation on Kayla Itsines’ page that has swelled controversy.

Video by Mamamia

One of the most frequent types of posts you will see in fitness guru Kayla Itsines‘ social media channels are ‘transformation’ photos.

Reposted from the hundreds of thousands of people who use her fitness guide, they feature a ‘before’ and ‘after’ photo showcasing the difference in their bodies after a certain period of time.

But one of her most recent before and afters is a little different.

Itsines shared the picture of Ely Fisher, which featured the fitness guide user pregnant and then two years later.

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“Excuse me while I pick my jaw up from the floor ….. okay we good???????????????????????????? Progress using my #BBG program!,” the 26-year-old wrote.

She reposted it from Fisher’s own Instagram account, which was posted alongside a longer caption.

“I’m just mind blown at this comparison. I NEVER thought I would put this photo up, the first time my husband showed me this golden nugget hidden away on his phone I almost died but now, I am proud, I’m so proud of both Ely’s – I mean ONE birthed (the most amazing baby boy EVER) and the other birthed a new women and her first set of abs, ever!!” the Perth woman wrote.

“Either way, this whole weight loss journey, that I like to better call the ‘find Ely journey’ From 87 kilograms (post pregnancy) down 59 kilograms, I’m a better me, I’m energetic, motivated, committed, self disciplined, excited.

“I’m more outside then in these days! And better that, I’m a mum who can roll and chase her toddler around, for hours!! I’m also a better wife. I thank the heavens for programmes like BBG.”

While there were plenty of comments of “wow”, other followers expressed concern at the comparison of a pregnant body with a non-pregnant body.

“Hold on. She’s pregnant in the first picture. Not necessarily fat or unhealthy or anything at all. She’s growing a human. I don’t think this is an appropriate comparison to be honest. It’s certainly not accurate,” wrote Amber Stewart on the Facebook post.

“She’s probably as healthy in the pregnancy picture as she is in the ‘transformation’ picture. Also, pregnant women need to be careful about exercise and I wonder if maybe seeing this some people might think they’re unhealthy or abnormally overweight when they’re pregnant when actually they are healthy. I dunno. This makes me pretty uncomfortable.”

Her comment garnered 188 likes from those with similar concerns.

Others disagreed.

Listen: Personal Trainer Tiffiny Hall speaks to Mia Freedman about sharing a very unconventional post-birth photo. (Post continues after audio…)

“Until you have carried a baby (or two) and tried to lose the weight after – hush your mouth. Your body transforms in more ways than just gaining weight. Ligaments and bones move. It takes work to put that back. Get it girl!,” wrote Candace Carrier.

Mary Teller added, “Losing pregnancy weight and getting fit after that, after having a child is extremely challenging. I feel it is completely appropriate.”

Speaking to Mamamia after her before-and-after photo went viral, Ely Fisher said it was difficult to see people publicly criticising what, for her, had been such a positive experience.

“I’ve read a lot of those comments and messages. It’s hard,” she said. “I sat down on the couch next to my wonderful husband and said, ‘People don’t think it’s real’. He said, ‘People don’t know the battle you fought, and the tears I saw you cry and the times you would give up your ‘you time’ when Ocean was napping in order to exercise.

“‘But look at you now, working out is your you time. And no one can take away your weight-loss triumph, what you have gained mentally and those who know true weight gain, and pregnancy weight gain that doesn’t disappear with the birth of a baby, will resonate with your journey far beyond what anyone else believes. They might be hurting too, because they are carrying weight and can’t see hope at the end of their tunnel yet.'”

Fisher said though she’d attempted to get fit several times in the months after her son was born, she didn’t begin the process in earnest until he turned one.

“It all came down to this moment of tears in front of a mirror (which was a common occurrence), but this time I realised, I’m in pain, I’m so broken. I don’t see ‘me’ in the mirror, I don’t feel sexy around my husband, I dread cleaning up Ocean’s toys or picking anything up off the floor because my body is so heavy. Like, this is painful.

“And then I thought, ‘Wait, what’s more painful: staying in this state now and dealing with all of this, or the pain of a 30-minute workout?’ And the rest was history.”

Fisher doesn’t pretend the process was easy, or quick.

“Your mind creates a war zone for you each time you are about make another leap and bound. I had to arm myself,” she said. “My Instagram community at the time became my joy in it all, became my accountability! I did it with them, I bared everything and they were there for me.”

Talking about bodies after giving birth is tricky. Everyone’s situation is different and we know how putting pressure on women to “bounce back” from their “post baby body” can negatively impact mental health.

No matter how you feel about the photo, we can all agree that this is one woman’s journey, not every woman’s. Ultimately, health is about function not form. If your body grew a human, that is incredible in itself.

Be kind to yourself.

Listen to Mia Freedman’s full interview with Tiffiny Hall below:

 

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