A former Division 1 athlete points out how deceptive photos on social media can be by showing how certain poses make her look tighter and hide her natural belly rolls and bloating.
23-year-old Victoria Garrick from California struggled with mental and body image issues when she saw her skinny frame become more muscular after joining the indoor volleyball team at the University of Southern California in 2015 as a walk-on.
After years of binging and beating herself about how she thought she should look, she learned to love her body as a female athlete and is a advocate for mental health and body image awareness.
Same girl, different pose: Victoria Garrick, 23, from California, shares before and after photos to show how her body looks when she poses and when she sits naturally
Then and Now: In a recent Instagram post, she revealed how her body changed before and after eating too much on July 4
Garrick, who has more than 175,000 Instagram followers, uses her platform to expose her own issues while sharing body positive messages with her fans.
In a recent post, she shared side-by-side photos of herself wearing a blue bikini for July 4 and the day after the holiday. In the first photo, her belly is flat and she dives inside. In the second, she’s noticeably bloated, but she has a smile on her face.
“I ate too much yesterday … what can I say,” she wrote. “It was a great day, there was great food nearby and I enjoyed everything.
“Instead of limiting myself for the rest of the week, training like crazy or letting myself take over the blame, I will feel sorry for myself,” she added.
“I’m glad I had a good time. Everyone eats emotionally and everyone is blown up. ‘
Candid: Garrick struggled with body image issues after joining the University of Southern California indoor volleyball for women in 2015 and gaining muscle
New Perspective: After years of binging food and beating herself up about how she thought she should look, she learned to love her body as a female athlete
The post was nearly 50,000 times, and followers followed suit to thank her for normalizing bloating and guilt-free eating.
“You are such a special person to show girls that this is NORMAL and that it is okay to eat and enjoy without feeling guilty,” one person wrote.
Another added, “This means SO MUCH to me and every other girl out there. I cannot thank you enough for your messages. ‘
In another post, she shared two photos of herself: one where she sucks and poses in her stomach and another where she leans forward and reveals her belly rolls.
“The same girl, different pose,” she wrote, adding, “PS, the second is much more comfortable.”
Edited: Garrick shared old photos she had edited with the Facetune app and how they looked earlier to show how far she has come (swipe right front front, left front after)
Honest: The former Division 1 athlete admitted she was ‘so obsessed with the perfect body’ that she edited her photos all the time before posting them
New woman: Garrick said she hasn’t edited a photo of herself since February 2017, noting that she is no longer willing to ‘contribute to the story that perfectly exists
Garrick describes many of her personal wins on her Instagram page, whether she’s showing off the cellulite on her thighs or wearing an open-back top that shows off her back.
“Sticking to a standard of external perfection at all times is tiring and also simply unnatural. This is what I look like when I sit comfortably, and it makes me feel comfortable because I feel comfortable with my body, ”she wrote of her stomach rolls.
“When I look down and see my natural belly, I just don’t get upset like I used to. Send love to all the natural bellies out there today, let them live. ‘
Last summer, Garrick shared old photos she had edited with the Facetune app and how they looked earlier to show how far she has come with her self-image.
“I was SO obsessed with having a perfect body that I worked myself all the time,” she admitted. ‘I’m looking at it now and can’t believe I didn’t like them, but in MY EYES I saw nothing but the negatives.
Using her voice: As an advocate for mental health and body image awareness, she uses her social media platform to celebrate and normalize cellulite, bloating and body rolls
Celebrating her body: Garrick details many of her personal wins on her Instagram page, whether she’s showing off cellulite or wearing a top with her back rollers
Popular: Her body positive posts have earned her over 175,000 followers
“I thought that every picture could ALWAYS be better, more beautiful, leaner. I was never good enough. So with the touch of my fingers, I opened an app and turned my body into something I thought was “better.”
Garrick said she hasn’t edited a photo of herself since February 2017, noting that she is no longer willing to “ contribute to the story that exists perfectly and we need to achieve it to be happy. ”
In 2017, she wrote about her love for her body as a female athlete in an essay published by Upworthy.
She explained that when she joined the USC indoor women’s volleyball team, she was unprepared for how her body would change dramatically thanks to her grueling workouts in which she would burn 1,300 calories each workout.
The athlete went from ‘lean’ with a ‘thigh hole’ to ‘bigger’ and ‘muscular’. She remembered crying in her dressing room after realizing that jeans in her old size wouldn’t come down her thighs and that the tops she was trying on were too tight on her arms.
Happy: Garrick smiled as she revealed her cellulite in one of her body-positive messages
Changing the perception of beauty in society: Garrick is portrayed with actress and fellow positivity lawyer Jameela Jamil
“For the rest of that year, I tried different diets, avoided certain outfits, and despised the athletic lifts I had to put into practice every day,” she said. “For countless months, I focused on my body, trying to be leaner, and trying to eat less than what my body needed to perform.
“But after two semesters that endured this misery, I finally realized something all female athletes should come to alone: there’s nothing wrong with my body.”
Once she realized that her muscular body and strength were something to be proud of, her outlook changed and she learned to love herself.
“Just because you don’t have a certain size or weighs over 120 pounds doesn’t mean you’re not pretty. Just because your body needs to consume 4,000 calories a day doesn’t mean you’re fat, ‘she wrote.
“And, most importantly, girls who compete to win the national championship will not physically look the same as models who cloud our Instagram feeds.”