What Is a Reverse Progress Selfie and Why Would People Care to Show It?

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Ah, Instagram... home to literally countless #fit selfies. Though the convention of before and after weight loss photos is as old as photography itself, some brave and body positive ladies seem intent on disrupting this common social media practice.

In a recent caption confessional, D.C.-based fitness blogger Erin Thomas admitted that there was more than meets the eye to her 'transformation.' “Before you think to yourself ‘oh wow she looks great, I want to look like her’ - remember that not everything portrayed on Instagram is picture perfect,” she wrote.

MORE: Bikini Competitor's Before and After Pics Prove 'Gaining Weight Is Okay'

Thomas explains that her 'after' picture actually represented a time in her life when she was malnourished, anemic and generally unhealthy. Alongside this imagewhich she says garnered over 1,300 likesErin posted a another, healthy image stamped with her weight. The message? Before and after isn’t always so black and white.

And Thomas isn’t the only one subverting expectations of what a progress pic should be. With a new trend toward transparency on social media, other fitspo personalities are calling out unhealthy ideals, too.

Whether reverse progress selfies tackle the issue of gained weight in recovery from an eating disorder or as proof to show losing fat may increase your number on the scale, the body-positive message is the same.

We love the idea of showing two side-by-side pictures that subvert expectations, comparing not how many pounds were lost, but how much better one feels! Whether that means feeling stronger, healthier, more energized or just more emotionally stable, "reverse progress" is perhaps the most progress.

Some guys are even getting in on the action, posting before and after images that aren’t what you’d expect. “At the time, I thought I was healthy,” explains one MMA fighter. “...In some regard I was. I was working out a lot and eating a ton of veggies. But mentally, I was extremely unhealthy.”

Though there’s not yet an official hashtag for the movement, #screwthescale is gaining traction amongst body positive posters. Use it to follow the stories of people who are doing what’s right for their bodies, not just following society’s harsh guidelines.

Photo credit: Instagram / @bodyposipanda


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