A young fitness enthusiast has gone viral after sharing a brutally honest photo regarding her stretch marks.
19-year-old Isabella Mabey decided to share her fitness journey on Instagram after she started hitting the gym to boost her own confidence.
Mabey, a student at Loughborough University, has since seen an overwhelming response from followers as her honest photo promoted an inspirational message of learning to love your body.
Check it out:
LOVE YOURSELF ❤ Ive thought alot about posting this picture as i dont want people to get the wrong idea. This is me, in my natural form, no tensing, no posing. This is not a sexy picture, nor is it me trying to look sexy. I really want to make a point about something so natural that alot of women (and men) get- STRETCH MARKS!! As you can see, i have alot on the tops of my legs and my bum and i used to hate them so much. I started puberty young but didnt actually stop until last year when I hit the final phase, hip widening. Within a few short months I had them so bad they looked like I had been whipped and scratched. I had 0 confidence and wouldnt have been seen dead in shorts and even felt uncomfortable in a bikini on holiday. But… you should not let yourself get down about them. They are so normal! My family kept telling me they would fade and they did. They are still thick and visible but having stretch marks does not mean you are FAT. Stretch marks can appear where ever and whenever your body grows quickly and this can also occur when building muscle. Your body needs to readjust and your skin will tighten. I have learnt to love my body and appreciate my curvs. I am not 'skinny' and i am happy with that. Instead i want to build on what i have and become more musclar and curvaceous. Remember to love all your imperfections and embrace them. Tigers, wear your stripes proud! ??❤ #stretchmarks #wearyourstripes #loveyourself #bodypositivity #bodyconfidence #health #bodybuilding #weightlifting #girlsthatlift #fitnessgoals #musclegrowth #diet #mindfulness #student #dontgiveup #WomenIRL #RealSimple #body4me
Speaking exclusively to UNILAD the student explained how the issue of stretch marks is often overlooked, despite the fact it affects so many, and she wanted to change that.
I’ve never been overweight, my BMI is fine, but I felt uncomfortable in myself.
My boyfriend pushed me to find a hobby which would help improve my confidence, not to lose weight but as a personal thing.
I decided to do the gym and I’ve really enjoyed it…I follow a lot of fitness accounts and their bodies are amazing but sometimes it is just so unrealistic. I thought ‘I need to do something for myself’.
THE SCALES ARE JUST A NUMBER ? For years I was fixated with the principle that if the scale was going up, it meant that i was putting on weight. That is true, to an extent, but its not the entire picture. Muscle weighs more than fat so if youre working hard in the gym there is nothing to worry about. Ive just started my final week of my initial 12 week plan of fitness and thought it would good to remind you all where i started. At exactly 60kg. What does the scales say now? I weighed myself today and I have lost 1lb. I bloody 1lb!! Months ago I would have cried and then drowned myself in snacks and KFC with the thought process that all my hard work has been for nothing and there would be no point in carrying on. Now, I think completely differently. I can see the amount of excess fat that I have shed. My friends and family are noticing and im getting more compliments than ever. I dont fit in half my clothes anymore and the ones that do dont fit right and are baggy. This is because i have lost fat but gained muscle. Remember that the scales are just a number and its how you feel on the inside that makes the biggest difference ??❤ #loveyourself #bodypositivity #bodyconfidence #health #bodybuilding #weightlifting #girlsthatlift #fitnessgoals #musclegrowth #diet #mindfulness #student #dontgiveup #scales #weighin #fitnessmotivation #fitspo #getfit #goalsetting #youcandoit #trainhard #noexcuses #fitlife #getstrong #girlswhosquat #nopainnogain #gymtime #gymmotivation #fitness
Originally from Southampton Isabella found it a shock to the system when she moved to the midlands to study, but working out has helped reduce those feelings of homesickness.
Her goal was nothing more than to feel better, and now 12 weeks into her programme Isabella’s increasing confidence saw her want to open up about the ‘taboo’ topic.
She told UNILAD:
I’m naturally quite petite and was skinny growing up, but towards the end of college and before uni my hips just suddenly widened, and the amount of stretch marks growing on them was crazy.
I felt so uncomfortable because you don’t see anything about it out there, there’s nothing in magazines, nothing about stretch marks.
I remember asking my mum ‘am I fat?’, she said ‘no, you’re not fat’ but I didn’t understand why I had them…Being a girl you go out in skirts and shorts but I didn’t want to wear them, I was putting makeup over them I felt so uncomfortable.
I MADE IT TO 1K FOLLOWERS ❤❤ Thank you so much to everyone thats liked, commented and followed my journey so far. Genuinely just made this account out of the blue when i was bored and thought it would be fun to document it all so i wouldnt fall back into old habits. On the theme of falling back into old habits ive decided from now on stop trying to bash myself for not looking like these amazing insta accounts after gyming for only 11 weeks! So here is my real vs tensed belly. Just before taking these I had eaten my body weight in american pancakes and do i think i still look alright? Yes, yes i do. We can all look tensed and fit for a few seconds but you need to remember that even your biggest celeb/insta crushes get a swollen belly too. Love yourself all day, everyday, in every angle, lighting and position ????? #loveyourself #bodypositivity #bodyconfidence #health #bodybuilding #weightlifting #girlsthatlift #fitnessgoals #musclegrowth #diet #mindfulness #student #dontgiveup #WomenIRL #RealSimple
Isabella told us how she had previously tried cosmetic means such as Bio Oil and coconut oil to reduce the marks, but with a student lifestyle it was easier said than done to do so daily.
Now she wants to let people know from her own experience how much more beneficial it is to accept your so-called ‘flaws’.
I hoped it would help a few people and it’s gone crazy…It’s just not spoken about enough.
It affects every ethnicity, every gender, every size, everyone has them but you feel so embarrassed by them – but you shouldn’t!
You have to learn to love yourself because it is so natural. Everyone has got them somewhere, and even if they don’t they probably will at some point of their life.
Everyone has imperfections.
This is not a progress picture or a tasty bit of food but its far more important! Starting a massive health kick is such a big decision and having someone to do it with you is fab. Some people are lone wolves, or maybe your friends dont have the same interests or goals as you and you want to achieve something on your own- and thats great!! But if you are like me and dont have much confidence in yourself, the biggest piece of advice i could give is to do it with a friend. Not only will it make your gym sessions alot more fun, but you will continue to encourage and push each other to be the best you can. This is my best friend, gym buddy and house mate Danielle. She started this journey at exactly the same time as me. We have done everything together from gym sessions, planning meals, discussing our progress ect. Having someone who is likeminded to push and praise you is so important. Surround yourself with people who empower, motivate and encourage you ??? #encourage #empower #motivate #girlpower #bestmates #fitnessmotivation #fitspo #getfit #goalsetting #youcandoit #trainhard #noexcuses #fitlife #getstrong #girlswhosquat #nopainnogain #gymtime #gymmotivation #diet #booty
Isabella is right, and it is no shock her post received so much positive attention.
You should work out because you love your body, not because you hate it and are punishing yourself.
Keep spreading the good word Isabella!
An NCTJ Journalist with an MA in Sports Journalism, Kieron is an experienced social media journalist who has worked in the industry since 2015. His experience includes work with ITN, the MEN, WISH/WIRE/TOWER FM, and 8:50 Sports Digest… not forgetting his time at ASDA.