Body-positive activist Amanda Roberts says that the body-pos community on Instagram has been vital to her journey toward more self-love. But when she lost weight and then decided to have surgery to remove loose skin, Roberts found herself on the receiving end of backlash from people who felt that she was a hypocrite for changing her body.
After being criticized, Roberts took to Instagram with a message: "You can love yourself and change yourself at the same time."
"I've received comments like, 'If you love yourself so much, why did you change yourself?'" she told Health. "It's truly frustrating to try to explain over and over again that loving yourself does not mean you have to stay the same."
She shared three side-by-side photos of herself on Instagram, writing, "I loved myself at 330lbs on the left. I loved myself at 180lbs with loose skin. And I love myself now at 185lbs with my scars."
Roberts tells Refinery29 that she's received a lot of love and support from the body-positive community on Instagram that's been integral to her growth.
"I had already started my own self love journey prior to starting my social media accounts, so it was comforting to know that there was a whole community of people who were working towards loving themselves as well," she says. "It truly made me feel like I wasn’t alone in my journey, and besides the small amount of negativity that always comes with any sort of social media interaction, I was in awe of the amount of support, motivation, and love that was in the community."
That support made the backlash all the more jarring.
"I've received comments like, 'If you love yourself so much, why did you change yourself?' and 'You don't really love your body, you keep wanting to fix it,' and it is truly frustrating to try to explain over and over again that loving yourself does NOT mean you have to stay the same,' she says.
For Roberts, body-positivity has to apply from both "side[s] of the spectrum."
"I’m here to tell you that you are allowed to do WHATEVER you want with your body, and still love it," she wrote. "It’s YOUR body, YOUR life — not anyone else’s. So don’t let anyone shame you. Don’t let anyone shame you into changing if you don’t want to. Don’t let anyone shame you into staying the same if you want to change."
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