A former-bodybuilder from London, Ont., is showing off her bloated tummy in a bid to shatter unrealistic body expectations.
Victoria D’Ariano is speaking candidly about the impact PMS has on her physique, revealing that like most women, she too suffers body struggles.
In the now-viral post, she compares two side-by-side images taken four-hours apart. The first photo shows her flexed, ripped abs, and the other shows her swollen stomach.
D’Ariano’s post discusses her “extreme bloating,” lack of energy, mood swings, cramps and more, encouraging others to be more open and supportive of the changes our bodies undergo during PMS.
“This post isn’t about how I look, but instead how I feel. I am not making a sad face due to the appearance of this but INSTEAD the pain, discomfort, and exhaustion I was feeling,” she wrote.
“I struggle a lot with PMS and symptoms during my period:
1. I have zero to no energy
2. Feeling depressed – I start feeling down and numb and not like myself
3. Cramps, these SUCK
4. Extreme bloating, discomfort and water retention
5. Upset stomach and gas
6. Moody and emotional.”
“No one talks about the struggle women go through every month, with myself I go through being bloated, depressed, exhausted and moody,” she said in an interview with the Daily Mail.
“I wanted people to see the reality that I don’t walk around with a super flat stomach all the time,” she continued. “Before I would look at other women who appeared to be perfect and beautiful all the time, then I would look at myself and not understand why I wasn’t the same.”
“I wanted to be real with my followers and talk about my struggles to shed light on something that people don’t really talk about.
“The first picture I took, was me doing a typical flex selfie, then the second, which was three or four hours later showed my stomach swollen.”
“There are periods of the month where I am bloated and it’s unrealistic to think you can always look like the flex picture rather than the bloated one.
“The response from my post was so positive, a lot of women felt empowered by me showing you can be natural and embrace all parts of a being a woman.
“I was kind of inspired, my stomach was so uncomfortable and I was feeling all these emotions, so I decided it was good for others to know they are not alone and the symptoms are normal.”
D’Ariano post has resonated with many, receiving nearly 10,000 likes since it was posted.
“It reminded me that we can be too hard on ourselves for not looking our normal selves during PMS, but it’s something very normal and is just a part of the human body.”