Lyndi Cohen is a woman on a mission.
The 28-year-old Australian dietitian took to social media with a challenge for her followers: Photoshop her swimwear pictures to look “beautiful and healthy.”
In a bid to better understand the public’s perception of “normal,” Cohen said she was disheartened to see that every altered image made her slimmer.
“It’s amazing how much weight they took off me in the photos,” Cohen told the Daily Mail. “I guess they took somewhere between 10 and 20 kilograms (approximately 22-45 pounds) in the pink bikini, which would make my BMI (body mass index) underweight.”
Cohen, who is an Australian size 10 (a US/Canada 6) shared her before and after photos to Instagram, urging others to embrace health over a Photoshopped version of perfection.
“I’m not plus size. And I’m not model size. I am right in the middle size,” she wrote. “We never see bodies like mine, un-Photoshopped, in the media. So we go through life thinking that healthy means we need to look a certain way… net no matter how much you exercise or how little or well you eat – you never end up looking like you expected, you never look like the Photoshopped images in magazines or the curated, filtered and posed images on your highlights real.”
Cohen believes that the saturation of edited images on social media is not only altering our perceptions of beauty, but of health in general.
“The problem is that every photo we see is Photoshopped, causing us to question whether the girl in this picture with the stomach rolls is actually healthy,” she said.
The Sydney-based nutritionist is using social media to promote health and body positivity to her more than sixty thousand followers.
“The right size for me is the size I am where I am comfortable in my skin and go to sleep feeling at peace with my self! I am the right size when I have energy to do the things I love, when I feel strong and healthy and happy,” Cohen wrote. “Everyone deserves a healthy body and we all deserve to love our body… it doesn’t matter what size, colour or shape you are. We are all entitled to love our body – not matter your size.”