Julie Ledbetter is a fitness bug who’s previously trained in competitions. Years later, she’s much healthier and — without the six-pack — proud of her maintainable body. She shared a video on Facebook that compared her “before” and “after” looks and explained why her body today feels like her natural bikini body.
“The body on the right is a maintainable body. I am at a healthy body fat percent, I am not constantly thinking about my next meal or stressed when things take priority over my workouts,” she explains in the video. “I am strong, content and most importantly confident of the body I have built since 2014. This body is something that I can confidently say I can maintain for life,” she continues.
Her past life as a WBFF bikini pro competitor is what inspired Ledbetter to share what she calls her “unusual before and after.” Ledbetter tells Yahoo Beauty she’s more interested in exploring the goal of lifelong health than talking about the “ideal” bikini body strategy. “I find that many people in this lifestyle aspire to look like women at a stage lean body composition, which is not a maintainable physique. Sadly, competing has become so idolized and looked at as the “ultimate goal” in this industry,” she explains.
Comparison is unhealthy, says Ledbetter. As a former professional competitor, she speaks firsthand about the dangers of idealizing someone else’s looks instead of owning your own. “When women compare bodies of fitness models, competitors, and magazine covers it leads to unhealthy thinking and often times, women feel frustrated, discouraged and think negatively about themselves because they will never “measure up” to those standards not recognizing that they are not realistic long-term,” she says.
Her ethos is a strong one: Ledbetter wants fans to understand that you can be a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously. The video has been viewed over 150,000 times and, judging by its almost 500 shares, it’s resonating with fans on social media. “It is amazing to see what the thousands have in common..they are all striving to love their bodies,” says Ledbetter. “If I can share an ounce of inspiration and hope that it is possible to achieve your health and fitness goals in a maintainable and balanced way, then I did my job!”
After all her inspirational words, there’s one motto that we plan to take to heart: “This is a body that takes the weekend off.”
Read more from Yahoo Style + Beauty:
- How a Body Positive Blogger Stopped Trolls in Their Tracks with 1 Bikini Pic
- ‘If It’s a Little Revealing, Whatever’ Is Ariel Winter’s Body-Positive Style Ethos
- Body Positive Pole Dancer Posed as a Mermaid and It’s Everything