Sharing “real” images of yourself online isn’t something many of us do.
Facebook and Instagram are usually highlight reels from our lives, showing off our best moments.
However, Sydney-based schoolteacher and lifestyle blogger Katie Scarlet Lolas, has thrown that rule out the window.
The fitness blogger — who is known as the “meal prep queen” — recently felt it necessary to show her 154,000 Instagram that “abs aren’t forever”.
In a series of confronting selfies, Katie showed her body suffering from bloated symptoms, in a move that she confessed was very daunting.
“It wasn’t easy to share — and I have never shared anything like it before, as you never know how your followers are going to react,” she told news.com.au.
“This is my reality, and I shouldn’t feel ashamed to share part of it. If I can’t then who am I to share? I am not trying to be this perfect blogger.”
In the post, Katie discussed how having a “flat stomach” was a bit of an obsession to her at one point in her life.
Her post read: “I have to admit that maintaining a flat stomach used to be a real priority for me, but I have realised that it was an unrealistic and superficial focus because despite most of the images we see online, no one has a flat stomach 24/7.
“Bloating is a 100 per cent normal part of life, and I’m not going to allow myself to feel ashamed about it and get caught up in the comparison game.
“So here I am, with my bloated belly, choosing to feel proud and grateful for all that my body can do.”
Most of the time you will see images of Ms Lola’s incredibly strong and toned physique, and while she has opened about her battle with weight, this is the first time the 33-year-old has shared images of herself looking “extremely bloated”.
Ms Lolas recently underwent microdiscectomy surgery to correct a ruptured disc in her vertebrae that was causing her pain and a lack of sensation in her legs.
While the heavy painkillers she’s currently taking add to the bloating, she told news.com.au: “I also look like this after a big meal.”
However, her strong female following quickly embraced the snaps, thanking her for being “real”.
“So good to be sharing this reality, that so many people battle with. I suffer with bloating on and off and have found it difficult to accept my belly! Thank you and all the best for your recovery!!” one woman replied.
“It’s so awesome you’re keeping it real. A true inspiration for everyone,” another woman added, while a third said, “I love how real you are.”
Others were also motivated to share their personal experiences with bloating.
“I have endometriosis. So bloating is such a huge issue for me. Sometimes bloating goes on for weeks. Thanks for sharing that it happens to heaps of us,” a follower commented.
“Yes!!! I had an umbilical hernia repair last month and I looked like I was 6mths pregnant again. It took weeks to go down. So glad to see you up and about and on the mend,” added another.
While Ms Lolas admitted it was tough for her to share the images, she felt it was more important to use her platform to dilute the stream of unattainable perfection.
She also recently unfollowed a bunch of Victoria’s Secret models, as she wanted her feed to be a more authentic representation of the real world.
“They were women sharing their extravagant lifestyles and advertisements for products that I’d never be able to afford … I want my feed to reflect my values rather than be dominated by the material and superficial,” she said.
Ms Lolas wants her feed to encourage her audience to accept and adore their bodies at every stage.
“Before my injury I had abs 70 per cent of the time, but I get bloated twice throughout the week,” she said, explaining she also suffers from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
“I get bloated when I eat something I shouldn’t like garlic, tuna or watermelon and look about six months pregnant — generally I wouldn’t share that, but it is all part of being human.”
She said while it was a great feeling to have abs, they shouldn’t be idolised as the pinnacle of health and perfection.
“Our bodies are continuously changing, and I am probably going to be bloated for a while as I can’t train and lift anything more than 5kg — but it is important we embrace our bodies through all its struggles and stages.
“I am off work for the next three weeks and not allowed to do twist motions, but I am allowed to walk which I’ve been doing, two to three kilometres, and consuming plenty of fruit and vegetables to keep my bowels moving.”
Once given the all-clear, Ms Lolas will revert to her weight-based training and HIIT exercises.
Meal prepping is crucial to the 33-year-old’s routine, with overnight oats, Greek yoghurt and protein-packed lunches regularly making an appearance on her Instagram page.
“My plate is filled with colourful vegetables — a quarter of it is lean protein, and the last quarter is low GI carbs,” she said.