Why This Woman Says She Is So Much Happier After Gaining 30 Pounds

A common narrative that underlies the idea of body "transformation" photos is that losing weight is a positive thing, and that gaining weight (if it isn't muscle, at least) is a bad thing — but happiness doesn't necessarily hinge on a number on the scale.
Last week, body-positive Instagrammer Hannah Foster posted a different kind of transformation post, highlighting what she's gained instead of anything she's lost. Foster posted two photos of herself in bathing suits, one from five years ago when she was thinner, and one recent photo in which she had gained weight.
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"Transformations aren't always what they seem," she wrote, adding that the photo on the left was taken in 2012 after she had lost 100 pounds.
"It was one of the first times I had ever allowed anyone to take a picture of me in a bikini (and only because it was my first time swimming in the ocean)," she wrote. "The girl on the left hated herself vastly more than the girl on the right, even though she weighed 30 pounds less than right-girl."
Foster wrote that when the photo on the left was taken, she was also in a bad relationship, and hated her body despite having lost weight.
"The blue bikini picture is from 2012 when I lived in Barcelona, Spain," she told Yahoo Beauty. "I was 20 years old and had recently lost almost 100 pounds. I had been heavy since childhood; I matured very early and started ‘dieting’ when I was in about fourth grade. After losing weight, my body image struggles seemed to pause for about four months, but that just let other image and personal issues come out that had been overshadowed by primarily hating my body."
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"I’ve gained about 30 pounds since the blue bikini picture after a string of mental health diagnoses and the prescriptions that came with [them]," she told Yahoo. "I had to adopt the mantra 'Losing weight won’t make you love yourself.'"
Since realizing that losing weight "won't make me a better person, it won't make me like myself, and most importantly it won't make me happy," she wrote, she's been in a much healthier and happier frame of mind. Now, she's able to take care of herself without fixating on reaching a certain number on the scale.
"I go to the gym, I eat healthy, but it's not for weight loss; it's because I only get one body and I want to use it as long as possible," she wrote in her Instagram post.
Her post is a compelling reminder that there's more to your health than your weight or the way your body looks. As Foster told Yahoo, "I think there’s this ideal content point that women fantasize about — I know I did — that if you can just get there then you will be happy and perfect and your whole life will be better. This point does not exist."
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