When model La'Tecia Thomas was training for bikini competitions, she was working out for hours a day and eating "peanuts," avoiding many foods out of fear she'd gain weight.
She was also miserable.
Recently, the 26-year-old body positive advocate found a photo of her pageant training days and shared it alongside a current revealing photo of herself. It's a before and after you don't typically see, but she's sharing her story to show that your size doesn't define your happiness.
I was going through my phone and I found this old photo of me back when I was training to compete in a bikini competition. So many people will look at this photo and make physical comparisons and say they would prefer me 'before'. I prefer me at any weight as long as I'm happy. It's okay to love yourself no matter what your size is. I remember how unhappy I was In the picture to the left, I would loathe certain parts of my body- particularly my bum/ thighs because that was and is the hardest part of my body to loose. I had so many insecurities, I compared myself to other women and I lacked confidence. Since changing my outlook on life and learning to embrace who I am, I know that hypothetically if I were to go back to what I used to be I would be so much happier and content than what I was because I've learned to love me. Your mental health is just as important as your physical. Also I'm not saying it's okay to be inactive and make unhealthy choices, I think it's about finding balance, listen to your body, you know what's best for it. 🌻
In the photo on the left, Thomas dons rock-solid ab muscles and a slender frame. Fast forward a few years to the snap on the right, where the plus-size beauty shows off her curves and larger figure.
"So many people will look at this photo and make physical comparisons and say they would prefer me 'before,'" she wrote in the photo's caption. "I prefer me at any weight as long as I'm happy."
Thomas says she can remember how unhappy she was in the first photo, constantly focused on the parts of her body she hated. "I had so many insecurities, I compared myself to other women and I lacked confidence," she wrote to followers.
Now, the model says she's learned to love herself and the way her body looks.
"Your mental health is just as important as your physical," she preached. "Also I'm not saying it's okay to be inactive and make unhealthy choices, I think it's about finding balance, listen to your body, you know what's best for it."
In a video outlining her transformation, Thomas says she trains at a CrossFit gym now, but she has a healthier, balanced relationship with working out. Before, she said she'd spend 2 and a half hours walking, using the step machine and lifting weights, all because she didn't see her body as good enough.
New YouTube video is up✨ Me then vs now- body positivity, happiness and confidence. I'm not going to say too much here because everything I want to say is addressed in the video, link can be found in my bio. It has taken me a lot to show you guys this comparison from 2014 to now, there is a clear physical difference however what you don't see- a MAJOR overhaul in my mindset, happiness, confidence and self worth. Hopefully this video will help someone that may be struggling with what I did or maybe It'll help someone that you know is. Things I cover include growing up, being put down, training to compete in a fitness competition why I became a vegetarian, how I've become confident , modeling & more. I've made it VERY clear in the video that I'm not trying to promote an unhealthy lifestyle. Bless 🌻t
In another before-and-after photo, the model says there's more to her transformation than meets the eye.
"It has taken me a lot to show you guys this comparison from 2014 to now, there is a clear physical difference however what you don't see — a MAJOR overhaul in my mindset, happiness, confidence and self worth," she told followers.
Thomas' motivating post has garnered major attention from fans and has more than 77,000 likes. As the comments pour in, one message to the brave model sums them up perfectly: "Thanks for inspiring us women to feel good in our skin."