All too often, social media can have a profoundly negative effect on a person’s self esteem, setting impossibly high standards of perfection.
However, sometimes social media accounts can prove a source of inspiration, with the transformations of others keeping us motivated when setting goals.
This couldn’t be truer for 19-year-old Josephine Desgrand, from Queensland, Australia, who feels she has Instagram to thank for shedding a jaw-dropping ten stone.
Like many of us, aspiring author Josephine was once addicted to sugary snacks such as chocolate, sweets and ice cream.
At her heaviest, she tipped the scales at over 19 stone, with her weight having tripled in the course of just two years. Attempts to lose weight were always thwarted by her sweet tooth, with the siren call of the snack cupboard always getting the better of her.
Wearing a size XX dress size, Josephine felt uncomfortable when wearing summery clothes, and was in need of a serious confidence boost. She knew she needed to make a change, and found inspiration in ordinary people who shared their weight loss journeys over Instagram.
According to Josephine:
I was using Instagram daily in a bid to try and lose weight, I loved looking at the inspiring pictures from strangers around the world. I have always been chubby, my family and I love food so there was always crisps and chocolate in the cupboards.
But one day I looked in the mirror and I had tripled in size, I tried to lose weight, but my sweet tooth would always get the better of me. I would eat anything sweet in between meals, such as cookies, chocolate and ice cream but now if I ever crave sweet things, I just chew on a mint and that does the trick.
I wasn’t comfortable wearing summery outfits and I suddenly realised I needed to change, so I started following weight loss journeys on Instagram and YouTube. My mindset changed, normal people like me, post pictures of their transformation and it made me realise I can do it too.
I could relate to their captions which helped motivate me, so I stopped snacking on junk and got tips from the accounts on what to replace it with.
Josephine found she could relate to these Instagram captions perfectly, and began to get motivated:
I stopped snacking on junk and got tips from the accounts on what to replace it with. I stopped thinking of it as a diet and seen it as a lifestyle change which it absolutely was, I am so much happier and healthier now.
If I ever thought about giving up, I would just look on Instagram and it would push me to keep going.
Determined Josephine has been able to completely turn her poor diet around, overcoming her sugary cravings in favour of fresh, nutritious food.
Through pursuing a healthier lifestyle, Josephine is now ten stone lighter, able to slip into a trim size eight.
For three dedicated years, Josephine has been able to maintain her ten stone weight loss, and is now inspiring others in turn.
With more than 130,000 followers on Instagram, Josephine posts meal plans and offers advice to others who are seeking to make a healthy lifestyle change. And she looks like a completely different person.
I can’t believe the girl in the photos is me, I would never go back as my life has completely changed. I live on the beach, yet I would avoid going or wear long sleeved dresses despite it being over 30 degrees.
Now I am comfortable in my own skin and love wearing short dresses or crop tops with leggings. I will never forget the day I turned up to prom wearing a figure-hugging size 8 dress and people who had ignored me for years, congratulated me.
I used to be so shy but now I have come out of my shell and I am doing my best to help others do the same. I receive messages daily asking for tips and it is an amazing feeling knowing I am helping others achieve their dream body.
Well done to Josephine for using her platform and her story to inspire others.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.