Allison Kimmey, a mother of two, has made an incredible mark on social media with her twist on the traditional ‘before and after’ photos.
Typically, before and after photos show women who have lost weight, while Kimmey’s show her journey to self-love and body positivity.
I was at war with my body for many many years. Forcing it into a box that she did not fit. Saying hateful things to her when she did not conform or when she would expand despite restricting her from everything. When I didn't restrict, I felt guilt at every meal, an extreme and constant weight of being "bad" Once I decided to make peace with my body, I began to see how much time I had wasted hating the body that carried me through life and how much head space was filled with terrible thoughts I would never utter out loud. And here I am, completely in love with the person I have become. Happiness is not a size, it's a state of mind…and the longer you seek it on the scale, the further you will find yourself from experiencing the joy of unapologetically being yourself. Just do you babes! Xoxo Allie
Posting to her Instagram account – which boasts over 174,000 followers – Kimmey shared a before and after of herself.
On the ‘before’ image Kimmey is depicted in a bikini with the caption ‘unhappy, while on the right-hand picture she is also pictured in a bikini with the word ‘happy’.
The images show her weight gain over a period of time.
Kimmey captioned the powerful image, ‘I was at war with my body for many many years. Forcing it into a box that she did not fit.
‘Once I decided to make peace with my body, I began to see how much time I had wasted hating the body that carried me through life and how much headspace was filled with terrible thoughts I would never utter out loud.
‘And here I am, completely in love with the person I have become. Happiness is not a size, it’s a state of mind…’
Kimmey finishes with a simple, ‘Just do you babes!’
The post was quickly picked up by social media users empowered and encouraged by the powerful message.
One commenter wrote, ‘This post spoke to my heart. I have a similar before from a year and a half/ two years ago and I was miserable I have had a 50lb weight gain and am in the process of trying to love the skin I’m in and embrace it.’
Another added, ‘You are so gorgeous! Can’t believe that you are so confident and happy, you are my Idol!!
Now, Kimmey’s Instagram is dedicated to her message of body positivity.
When I was pregnant with my daughter I used to pray about all the ways I hoped she would not be like me. Before she was even born I had a whole list of MY insecurities I was ready to push onto her as soon as she came into the world. And then I met her, and she changed me. Because she was everything that I wished I could see in myself. It took a long time to learn to love myself, and unlearn all of those same beliefs I was ready to hand over to her. But I realized that my most important job was not to wish away who she was, but to prevent my limiting beliefs, and society’s expectations, from ever reaching her….and prepare her for the day that they inevitably will. And while she certainly loves to be just like me like here when she received some honorary #glitterstripes , I strive every day to be more like her. Just do you babes! Xoxo Allie ____________ #bodypositivity #bodylove #bodyposi #bopo #bodyposi #selflove #motherdaughter #stretchmarks #plussize #plussizebikini #effyourbeautystandards
Kimmey’s Instagram shows how many body changes she has gone through – with images of her ranging from a size 2 to a size 18 – but claims her social media is not about her weight loss or weight gain.
She told Life & Style, ‘I wanted to share that it is okay if you aren’t on the quest for six pack abs (and it’s okay if you are too) but most importantly, that the way our bodies look truly has no determination over whether or not we can decide to live our lives fully and with joy.’
Kimmey also shared her amazing words of advice for embracing who you are, ‘My first piece of advice is: stop comparing. Your holistic being will never, EVER, be like anyone else’s, and you can’t compare your journey through this life to anyone else’s.
Circa 2007. My second year in college. I went away, far away, to college. From Florida up to Massachusetts to be near my boyfriend who was attending college in New York. It was scary. I was lonely. And for quite a while I felt completely disconnected from the entire college experience. There weren't many things I could control so I began to focus on obsessing about my body, I didn't realize at the time but I was in the beginning stages of my body dysmorphia, disordered eating and excessive working out. I was so insecure and I allowed my belief that I wasn't good enough to hold me back from SO MANY opportunities in my young adult life. I would spend the next 10 years fluctuating from a size 4 to 18, gaining and losing hundreds of pounds and navigating my way out of the destructive thoughts and behaviors. During an interview I was asked why I had chosen to begin my account: I began speaking about body diversity and self love just one year ago – to heal my inner 15 year old self! I struggled for so long to fit in and feel love, only to find at the age of 30 that it was within me all along if I had just allowed myself to feel it. I knew that I didn't want anyone else to waste another single second being at war with themselves and so I took to Instagram to attempt to free women with daily inspiration. If my posts have helped you at all in your journey, could you share with me, or just drop a ???? in the comments! Just do you babes! Xoxo Allie ________ #bopo #bodypositive #bodyconfidence #bodylove #selflove #transformationtuesday
‘There is no one right or wrong way to discover self-love…So have compassion and patience with yourself, this undoing will take some time. You are worthy. No matter what anyone has told you, or what you have told yourself for years…you deserve to feel love, and joy, and respect within yourself.’
So, as Kimmey would say – ‘Just do you, babe!’
This article originally appeared on New Idea.
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