Maddie Lymburner is opening up about how extreme dieting made her feel "like crap."
The Canadian health and fitness influencer took to Instagram on Monday with two sets of powerful side-by-side photos of herself comparing what she looked like when she had a "strict" diet and workout regime versus when she decided to "let go."
In the caption, Lymburner reflected on the progress she has made since taking the older photos, writing, "In the photo on the left, I was feeling hopeless."
The 28-year-old explained that at the time, she "truly thought I was doing everything I could to be as healthy as possible.
"I had such a strict mindset when it came to food and nutrition," Lymburner recalled. "I was training hard in the gym — yet, I felt like crap." It wasn't until a few years later when the content creator realized "how unhealthy" she was being.
"I decided to start making a change," she added.
From that point on, Lymburner "let go of the 'strictness'" surrounding her diet and began prioritizing her health by eating "well balanced meals." She emphasized the importance of opting for workout routine's she actually likes, writing, "I started developing a training routine that I enjoyed, that I could do at home."
She added despite giving herself room to relax, her new regime was "still balanced enough to bring the results I desired."
Fans praised Lymburner in the comments for challenging "harmful" diet culture.
"This is so true. Being skinny is not always being healthy, I applaud you to have the power to tell your truth. Such an inspiration," an Instagram user wrote.
"I admire you so much for not pushing harmful behaviours," someone weighed in.
"You look so strong and healthy!" a fan penned.
"Inspired for this to be my transformation soon after extreme anorexia and also extreme leanness through bodybuilding," one person shared. "You look so healthy, hot and toned now. Proud of you!"
Last year, the Waterdown, Ont.-native took to Instagram to post a video paired with an empowering and body-positive caption, reminding her followers not to believe everything they see online or compare themselves to it.
"Make a promise to stop comparing ourselves to what we see online," she began in the caption.
She noted social media can be "extremely dangerous when we start to believe that everything we see is real.
"It's fun to enjoy social media but always remind yourself that constantly comparing your life to other people's lives will rob you of your own potential and happiness," Lymburner wrote.