"Ditch the idea that you will be beautiful or worthy once you change something about your outer appearance."

By Faith Brar

Like so many women, Instagrammer and content creator Elana Loo has spent years working on feeling comfortable in her own skin. But after spending so much time focusing on outer appearances, she finally realized that her body type, shape, or size wasn't tied into any of the goals she had set for herself in the long run. Now, she's encouraging more women to do the same. (Related: Katie Willcox Wants You to Know You're So Much More Than What You See in the Mirror)

"Take a page from my book-ditch the idea that you will be beautiful or worthy *once* you change something about your outer appearance," she recently wrote on Instagram. "Confidence and beauty [come] from within."

Elana shared how she's always felt confident about her personality and her ability but always struggled with body image. "I would let subtle thoughts of 'if you only lost xxx much, you'd be beautiful' or 'I wonder how amazing it would be to be skinny' sneak their way into my mind," she writes.

But ever since moving to Hawaii, she realized that, as with everything else in life, the grass isn't always greener on the other side. "Everyone thinks that if something was different, it would be better and it's just not the case," she wrote. "Since moving to the islands, I have tried to practice radical self-love and self-talk! There are days I don't feel my best but I've taken a complete 360 degrees from loathing bikini season and not feeling confident naked!"

That's why, as part of Aerie's #AerieREAL campaign, Elana shared an unretouched photo of herself to support their new initiative. Now, for every unretouched swim photo people share using their hashtag, Aerie will donate $1 (up to $25K) to the National Eating Disorders Association to help those struggling with body image. So if you're on the fence about posting that beach selfie, slap a filter on it (those are okay, but photoshopping is not), and post it with #AerieREAL knowing that your 'gram is for a good cause.

"I love that Aerie has revolutionized this reality," she wrote. "Growing up, there were very few curvy models, positive messaging in the media, etc., so I am ALL about their efforts as a company!" (Related: Iskra Lawrence, Aly Raisman, and Yara Shahidi Pose with Their Moms In Adorable New Aerie Campaign)

Ultimately, Elana hopes that more and more women learn to appreciate and embrace their bodies as they are. "We have to realize that we, with all of our scars, stretch marks, and cellulite, are beautiful now-not 'once *blank* happens,'" she wrote. "Not when we lose the weight, not when we get the tan, NOW! Being healthy-emotionally and physically-is where it's at for me!"

Comments (2)

March 8, 2019
Accepting your body is easier said than done. A few years ago, my body was full of cellulite. I used to be disgusted at how much cellulite I had. But, with patience and determination (and a lot of research!), I managed to almost eliminate it. All it took, was the right exercise program and a way to manipulate estrogen metabolism. Read my story here ==>... http://bit.ly/cellulitecured
May 9, 2018
I believe lemons should be an important staple in every diet.I used to have big problems with weight loss tips, but am getting in better shape now. Here’s a good site I found that really helped. It gave me great methods and and showed me what I was doing wrong before…there’s even lots of free articles on the site - https://bit.ly/2FXFQQ9