We’re so used to seeing before and after body pics, we don’t think twice of them. But the point is, they emphasize the weight loss journey by showing how bad the situation was before. Such transformation pics never tell the whole story and worst, promote one slender type of "after" body.
But one woman decided to put a spin on the traditional before and after approach. Tayler Rayne shared a side-by-side comparison of her body in a bikini before her weight gain and after. “I’m here to love on my girls who gained weight and aren’t really sure how to love themselves,” she said before kicking off a now-viral “Grown woman weight thread.”
Tay, who went from “130 [to] 230” and struggled with confidence, is now busy being happy in her own skin. In no time, she got an overwhelming response from curvy women of all sizes. The thread has received 161.2K likes and 33.4K retweets, showing that feeling beautiful is more about the mind rather than a size.
Image credits: tayyrainn
Bored Panda spoke to Tayler, the woman who kicked off the “grown woman weight” challenge, about learning to love your own body. Tay said that “We have power over our bodies and appearance. I’m not an advocate for an unhealthy lifestyle, I’m just supportive of women and men who have dealt with a sudden change and are struggling to love themselves.”
Tay is convinced we should be able to do whatever we want with our bodies. “Whether we want to lose weight, gain weight, maintain weight, surgery, etc. I am supportive of all things concerning body image because at the end of the day, we have to look at ourselves in the mirror.”
“If you are not happy with what you see, make a change until you are.” But until then, Tay suggests being kind to yourself and practicing positive self-talk.
It doesn’t matter if you’re “fat, skinny, thin, thick, slim, chubby, athletic, someone will always have something to say,” Tay concluded. The 24-year-old learned to “forget about them and go about my business.”
Body dissatisfaction among women of all sizes happens more frequently than we’d like to admit, the Glamour survey suggests. It challenged 300 women of different sizes to take a note of every negative or anxious thought they had about their bodies during the course of one full day.
The result was pretty shocking—a whopping 97% of participants admitted to having at least one moment where they hated their body. It also revealed that, on average, women have 13 negative thoughts concerning their appearance a day.
It’s no secret that virtually impossible beauty ideals, celebrity culture, and social media all play a tremendous part in the way we see ourselves. In fact, this 2018 research published in Open Science revealed that the way we feel about our bodies also depends on the images we look at.
The research showed that women who viewed healthy and "overweight" models reported feeling more satisfied with their own body size than those who viewed "underweight" models did. Their sense of bodily dissatisfaction stuck around for about 24 hours after the experiment, proving that it just doesn’t go away in a sec.
The focus on our appearances is, in fact, doing more harm than good. Kearney-Cooke, a Cincinnati psychologist who helped to design Glamour’s survey, said that constant negative thoughts can start to linger and become stronger with time. “Neuroscience has shown that whatever you focus on shapes your brain and the neural pathway becomes stronger.” As a result, they become habitual and sooner than you know it, the vicious circle has started.
Even if loving ourselves the way we are is not an easy task, we must remember that most of the dissatisfaction is illusory. Kearney-Cooke gave a genius example of how it works: "Let's say you're in a meeting and you suddenly think, 'Ew, my arms are huge.'”
The psychologist who specializes in body image urges us to think: “Well, you've had those same arms all day. Why are you suddenly feeling bad about them now? Maybe it's because you don't think your professional ideas are being valued or you're not fulfilled in your job. Instead of focusing on the real issue, all you can think of is hating your arms.”
All the most glorious sportswear and never-ending gym sessions won’t change a thing you feel, 'cause the arms aren’t the real problem.