This Instagram User Reveals The Truth About Before-&-After Photos

Before-and-after photos on Instagram can be mesmerizing — and discouraging. While you can logically understand all the work and time that went into a dramatic body transformation, a quick glance at both photos can make the changes seem sudden and effortless. But one fitness Instagrammer wants you to know that not all the transformation photos you scroll through tell the full story.

Known by her handle plankingforpizza, 26-year-old Jess chronicles her fitness endeavors on Instagram. On Tuesday, she posted what looks like a before-and-after selfie set, but with a surprising caption: "This is not a transformation photo," she wrote. "This week, I've decided to do the 30-second transformation photo. These pics were taken second[s] apart this morning."

She went on to explain that the photo on the left was taken with bad posture and an unflatteringly positioned bikini.

🚨 This is not a transformation photo 🚨 This week I've decided to do the 30 second transformation photo. These pics were taken second apart this morning. On the left my posture is poor, I'm pushing my belly out as far as possible, I adjusted my bottoms to show my gross, unsightly and horrid love handles. These are often concealed by my high waisted pants and bottoms that do fit so much better now. As much as it pains me to showcase these, it also proves that my body isn't perfect and that I still have work to do and fat to lose (I'm working so hard to get rid of my love handles and lower tummy fat. Yes it has dramatically reduced already but it still exists and I'm still insecure about it). On the right I'm standing straight and comfortably. I'm lightly flexing and I've adjusted my bottoms to hide my love handles. I'm thankful for bikini bottoms that now fit well and hide these but I'm also trying to show that they still exist quite a bit and that not everything we see meets the eye here on social media. You can show you best angles and hide your flaws but at the end of the day what we chose to showcase is a reflection of ourselves. My body isn't perfect. I still have imperfections and flaws that I'm slowly learning to be comfortable with. I want to be real and honest and open. Yes I've accomplished a lot, but yes my body still has less than ideal days when it doesn't look its best. Fitness and health is not a fix. It's not a destination. It's a lifestyle. If you force your progress you know who you are cheating?! You. You only cheat you. Yes I like to show my best most of the time but I've also realized by not showing my worst that it only harms myself. Being vulnerable and imperfect is hard but lying to yourself is worse. I know I'm hard on myself, it's a flaw on its own, but I'm slowly learning to be gentle and kind but it starts with being truthful to myself and knowing and understanding my imperfections and realizing that, although they exist, they don't define me. I am not a before picture. I am not an after picture. I am not fat nor am I perfect. I'm flawed. I'm scarred. I'm insecure. But I'm learning and I'm hopeful that one day I'll fully love me 💕

A photo posted by Jess: My Fitness Journal (@plankingforpizza) on


So why did Jess choose to debunk the myth of the "perfect" before-and-after Instagram shot? She explained that she wants people to know that "fitness and health is not a fix" and that it's okay to show the world the parts of yourself that you consider the "worst."

"I am not a before picture. I am not an after picture. I am not fat, nor am I perfect," she wrote. "I'm flawed. I'm scarred. I'm insecure. But I'm learning and I'm hopeful that one day, I'll fully love me."

The photo tricks Jess exposes may seem obvious to some, but everyone needs a good reminder now and then that there's no such thing as "perfect" — even if well-positioned camera angles and targeted poses can sometimes make you believe otherwise.

More from Body

On principle, I am skeptical of any internet health recommendation that has the word “challenge” tacked on to the end of it. These wellness fads come and...
Although he had been dead for decades, Jim Morrison said something a few years ago that shocked people. He wasn’t speaking from beyond the grave, but in ...
In April, I ran a story called “The Medium-Sized Woman Problem.” The “problem,” of course, was not the women themselves, but the way in which we frame ...
Pregnant women get a lot of advice about motherhood, even when they don't ask for it. And in the first episode of Expecting, from Refinery29's comedy ...
Jill Krause writes about all things mom, parenting, and relationships at her blog, Baby Rabies, and she has some words of advice for the non-pregnant ...
Let me introduce you all to the love of my life, Sienna Harper Gernon! I've never felt love like it! @justchrisgernon thank you so much, you have been...
Ragazzi mi state seguendo in tanti e vorrei ringraziarvi e scusarmi se non riesco a rispondere a tutti...vi proprio ho una foto che mi ricorda tutte ...
(Paid Content) Stress sweat is different from regular sweat in that it feeds off bacteria and causes odor. Then you start to think about it — producing ...
Update: Kopp's original Facebook post has been removed, and, as Shape reports, the chances of contracting an infection so severe that draining is ...
Breast-feeding has numerous benefits for both mother and baby, but it doesn't always come as naturally as we might assume. And, as one viral photo shows, ...
Last week, Kelly Stanley was breast-feeding her 9-month-old baby during dinner when someone else at her table decided to grab a cloth napkin and try to ...
Periods may be annoying, but at least they're predictable — sort of. If yours is a little delayed this cycle, and you're not trying to get pregnant right ...
It sustains life. It boosts immunity. It may or may not taste like the milk left over from a bowl of Lucky Charms. (Full disclosure: I sampled mine just ...
Gina Rodriguez is the master of keeping it real. She's been open about everything from losing her virginity to coping with thyroid disease, so it makes ...