One of the newest (and most welcome) trends on social media lately has been fitness influencers posting to show that weight gain isn’t always a bad thing. A few weeks ago, Australian fitness influencer Beck Jackson posted a photo of her svelte, toned frame alongside an image of her looking slightly rounder after the holidays, to prove that packing on a few extra pounds hadn’t affected her self-image.
Now, Mia Kang, a South Korean–British model and professional Muay Thai fighter who was featured in Sports Illustrated’s 2017 Swimsuit Edition, has posted an even more powerful set of before/after pictures to detail her struggle with an eating disorder.
Back in 2015, the 29-year-old model was a size 2, and the lengths that she went to in order to achieve this weight were wildly unhealthy.
“I hadn’t eaten solid food in 10 days and smoke a pack of Marlboro Lights a day. I was obsessed with my collarbones, ribs and hip bones showing. I was obsessed with having a thigh gap,” she wrote on Instagram.
In spite of her already ultra-thin appearance, industry professionals said she still had “a little more weight to lose” prior to her swimsuit shoot.
“I hated how I looked so much I thought I was fat and lived in constant anxiety,” she said.
Three years later, she’s a size 8, and couldn’t be happier about it.
“I feel like I finally became a woman. I love my thighs, my curves…I still have insecurities as I adjust into my new body, just like everyone else. But I know my body, respect it, and love it,” she wrote.
Kang admitted that it wasn’t easy for her to post these photos, because body image issues don’t just vanish overnight, but she wants to inspire other women to re-calibrate how they view their bodies.
“A small part of me looks at me now and hates it. Eating disorders and body dysmorphia don’t just disappear but you can learn how to manage it and heal. You can reprogram your thinking. I want to put the images out there that I never had. I want to show women that it’s ok to gain weight. We have the pleasure of having fluctuating bodies, enjoy your curves, enjoy being a WOMAN. Be healthy and be confident. We have one body and one life, don’t let your insecurities hold you back from happiness.”
Her brave post was very well-received by her 174,000 followers, who praised her honesty and strength in the face of a terrible disorder.
And for what it’s worth, Mia, we think you look fantastic.
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