Michelle Elman has dedicated her life to body confidence.
She coaches people with body issues, providing them with advice and non-judgmental support. She’s dedicated to the cause, and for good reason—her own body positivity journey took years.
Elman wants to help other individuals see the beauty in their own bodies, looking past weight, complexion, and scars. On Instagram, she describes herself as a “body positive activist” who is “sharing a story of 15 surgeries,” and she’s attracted an audience of more than 53,000 followers as of June 2017 along the way.
On her page, Elman shares photos of herself and her clients, along with a regular supply of motivational quotes and humorous memes (she is on Instagram, after all). She’s been fairly successful, but one recent post exploded in popularity, attracting nearly 9,000 likes.
In the post, she shares two pictures: one from 2012 and one from 2017. Over the last five years, she’s gone from a size 12 to a size 20—and she couldn’t be happier.
“NUMBERS DON’T MEAN ANYTHING,” Elman wrote.
“I found a dress in my cupboard the other day that I had since I was in sixth form. The dress is a size 14. I bought it 5 years ago when I was a size 12. Now, I’m a size 20. And yet, I still fit it.”
“Which just proves that NUMBERS DON’T MEAN ANYTHING. So are you really going to let a change a dress size dictate your day? Are you really going to let an increase in a number affect your mood? Same dress. Still comfortable. Still beautiful. (In fact, I think I look better and happier now!) A higher dress size doesn’t mean: you are less beautiful, you are less worthy, you are less lovable, you are a worse human, you are a bad person, [or[ you are a different person AND it doesn’t even mean you have a bigger body.”
“You could go up a dress size by simply changing stores… (or countries). You can change dress sizes because of the time of the day or simply due to whether you are on your period or not. If you look at your cupboard and you find it harder and harder to find something to wear because of a change in clothing size, I have a great solution for you… throw out all clothes that don’t fit.”
“Looking at your wardrobe shouldn’t be something that makes you feel insecure and sad so make sure everything in your wardrobe fits! Numbers don’t matter. Not the number on the back of your jeans, on the scale or even the number in your bank account. You are not a number.”
The reaction to the post was mostly positive, although a few people didn’t seem to get the message.
Elman wrote back to a few of them the next day, correcting a few poorly worded statements.
One memorable moment came when a commenter told her that she “didn’t look fat.” “I use the word fat because it’s not an insult,” Elman replied. “When you tell me I’m not allowed to use a word that describes me, when I experience the marginalisation of anyone in my size, that invalidates MY experience of being fat-bodied.”
Check out the rest of Elman’s post and follow her journey on Instagram at scarrednotscared.