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

R29 Original Series