These Before & After Photos Take Down The Myth Of The "Bikini Body"

If you've been to an exercise class or read a women's magazine lately, you might've heard the words "beach body" or "bikini body." The implication of these phrases is that it's time to start slimming up for summer. But when it comes to our health, our physical appearance, and our peace of mind, smaller does not equal better, as two photos shared by body positive activist Megan Jayne Crabbe perfectly illustrate.
Crabbe posted before-and-after pictures of herself to Instagram, Pop Sugar reports, but they're not the kind you'll see in ads for diets or gym memberships. Instead, she's at a higher weight in the "after" version — and she's way happier. Contrary to what she was taught, it wasn't losing weight that made her happy; it was declaring her body bikini-ready just as it was.
"I used to spend every single summer starving and sweating to get the body on the left, telling myself that I was only allowed to be seen in swimwear once I'd hit that goal weight (and even once I did, it still wasn't enough)," she wrote. "Not once did I ever hear the message that you don't have to shrink your body to deserve a summer in the sunshine. Which is why I'm telling you now, so that you know the truth: you do not have to lose weight to be worthy of wearing a bikini."
The post concluded with a message that anyone struggling with body image could stand to hear: "The only thing I really needed to lose through all those years wasn't weight. It was the bullshit idea that a bikini body is something that you have to earn, when in reality I had one all along. We all have bikini bodies already, and we all deserve a summer in the sunshine."
Amen to that.
Crabbe issued another reminder that every body is a "bikini body" earlier this month with an Instagram post reading, "people of all shapes and sizes belong on the beach. They all belong there, enjoying the sun and playing in the waves, and they all deserve to feel comfortable and safe. So please, don't stare at or make comments about those whose appearance is a bit different than what you're used to."
It's common to struggle with self-consciousness during summer, but the kindest thing we can do for ourselves and others is to accept every body on the beach, no matter what's on it.

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