This Instagrammer’s Before-And-After Pics Shatter Stereotypes About Eating Disorders

People suffering from eating disorders are supposed to be skin-and-bones, scary skinny, obviously ill in a sickening way that passerbys can easily pick up on. Right? That’s what films and the media tend to portray when drawing a picture of someone suffering from one.

One body-positive Instagrammer, Carissa Seligman, is combatting that stereotype with before-and-after photos of her own recovery journey.

Seligman posted two photos side-by-side on Instagram, juxtaposing one of her in a strapless dress, looking healthy and happy, with one of her wearing a sports bra, flexing her abs. She writes that in the first image she was struggling with an eating disorder and in the second she has recovered and “started eating again.”

“The girl with┬áthe eating disorder isn’t always the one who looks ‘scary skinny,'” she writes to her followers. “In fact, she may not even be the thinnest in the room. But what you see on the outside doesn’t always translate to what’s going on inside.”

Though an outside perspective would guess that she was healthy in the photo on the left, she wasn’t at all: “I started eating again and could. not. stop. I felt awful. None of the things that spurred my starvation period had been solved, discovered, or discussed and I began to use food to fill a hole. So not only was I unhappy without really knowing it, BUT I was gaining weight which at the time was my worst nightmare. And I was doing anything I could to lose it again.”

It took Seligman 11 years to overcome her disorder and to “develop a healthy relationship” with food.

“Self love is WORK,” she closed. “I wish I could tell you otherwise, but I can’t. There’s no quick fix or simple solution. The inside has to be good before the outside will be anything you can love.”

In sharing her post, she is both helping those who suffer from eating disorders to find a sense of community and shattering the misconception that someone who isn’t super thin doesn’t have a real problem, or is an illegitimate sufferer in some way.

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