Danae Mercer is an Instagram influencer herself, but one with a different mission.
Mercer's Instagram feed is full of before and after photos of herself showing what it looks like when someone poses for an Instagram-worthy photo, versus what they look like in reality.
In most cases, the two photos are taken just minutes apart.
"For an Instagram pose, I will pose, usually arch my shoulders, squeeze my core, your butt goes back crazy far because in 99% of poses that's more flattering. It elongates the core and makes the legs look leaner," Mercer, 33, told "Good Morning America." "If I was shooting in the sun I would shoot sunrise or sunset or in shadow, which is way more flattering for cellulite."
"If it is a reality pose, I wouldn't do all that work," she said. "I would just stand the way I normally stand, just letting myself be comfortable in whatever light I am in."
Mercer, a former women's magazine editor who lives in Dubai, knows the posing tricks of Instagram influencers well because that's how she launched her Instagram account nearly four years ago, filling her feed with luxury travel and "fitspo" content.
"There are certain positions for my body type that I can do that would make me look like what we see on Instagram in the moment," said Mercer, who also used lighting and angle tricks from her magazine days to enhance her posts. "You could spend an entire hour setting up the shot for that one photo."
Mercer, who is also open with followers about her recovery from an eating disorder, said she had an epiphany that the "casual" photos she spent hours producing were not helpful to anyone, including herself.
"It just got to the point where I was like, 'This isn't me,'" she recalled, adding that she was spurred on by seeing an art project that celebrated cellulite. "And if this has changed me and motivated me, maybe there is a way that I can express myself that might help other women and, honestly, might help myself."
Less than two years after Mercer began breaking down the reality of Instagram and sharing photos that show herself -- cellulite and all -- she has nearly 2 million followers on Instagram, and nearly 15,000 more on Facebook.
"Suddenly there was this community of women saying, 'This is me too,'" she said. "That was one of the most empowering things, just to realize that I wasn't alone in some of the stuff that made me feel insecure and made me feel afraid and made me feel nervous."
"Together we talk about things that are so taboo or hidden, whether it is your body and stretch marks and cellulite or eating disorders or relationships or being single in your 30s," Mercer added.
Mercer's transformation to an Instagram influencer that preaches body acceptance and body confidence came at the same time as more and more research shows the damage social media can have on people's mental health, particularly women and young girls.
In teen girls, frequent use of social media harmed their health by leading to inadequate sleep, inadequate physical activity and exposing them to cyberbullying, according to a study published last year in the journal Lancet.
Mental health experts also point to the use of social media exacerbating eating disorders.
Mercer said she frequently hears from mothers who show her account to their daughters to explain how images can be manipulated on social media, and the same from therapists who share her account with their patients.
"I'd love if they leave [my page] feeling a little bit better, a little bit happier and a little bit more normal, just knowing that so many of the things in our mind or on our body that we have been taught shame around or we don't talk about, that those things that we're thinking, they don't make us weird or strange or anything horrible," said Mercer. "It's so incredibly normal."
Mercer added that she believes with a new social media platform and new filters being rolled out all the time, it is more realistic to try to educate social media users rather than rely on tech companies to change.
"I think what we can do instead is really empower women, girls [and] boys to know that so much of what we see on social media is curated, filtered, posed, taken 100 photos and chosen one, professionally shot," she said. "If we can empower people with that knowledge, in the way that we look at magazines now and we know that magazines are Photoshopped, maybe we'll get to a point where we look at social media and think, 'OK, I see this, but that doesn't mean it's the truth.'"
Here are three tips from Mercer to keep in mind when looking at photos on Instagram.
1. Look at how the person is posing: "This is a big one for before and afters. If you have some dodgy detox diet tea that shows you a before and after and the woman's body is posed differently, her bikini is higher, she's popped, maybe the light is different, these are all things that can drastically change what a body looks like and what a photo looks like," said Mercer. "The images could be taken literally 10 seconds apart and they will look a world different."
2. Examine the angles and lighting: "Look at, where is the camera angle? How is the body posed? How is the person styled? What is the lighting like? Is it sunrise, sunset, middle of the day and [keep in mind] you still don't know if there's post-production," said Mercer.
3. It is very likely impacting you: "I think the danger is we often think [social media] is not impacting us, but the problem is we're like little sponges," said Mercer. "If we're constantly looking at post-perfection, post-perfection, post-perfection, beautiful dream holiday, beautiful romantic couple and that's all we see, it's hard not to start to compare ourselves through that mirror."
"If we fill our feeds with people who inspire us or artists or creatives, photographers who are showing different body types, or activists ... if we start to fill our feeds with these things, that becomes what we're passively soaking in," she said.