"It's crazy how much changes when you have a different outlook," she wrote on Instagram.

By Faith Brar
Updated: September 25, 2017

In her teens and early 20s, plus-size model La'Tecia Thomas was competing in bikini competitions, and to most outsiders, she might have seemed healthy, fit, and on her A game. But the Australian beauty reveals that this is far from the truth. She says that despite her ripped abs and toned physique, she had an unhealthy relationship with her body and was never truly happy. Now she's accepting (and flaunting) every single curve. Recently, the 27-year-old took to Instagram to share the physical and emotional transformation she's gone through over the years. And it's nothing short of incredible.

"I was going through my phone and I found this old photo of me back when I was training to compete in a bikini competition," La'Tecia wrote alongside two side-by-side photos of herself. "So many people will look at this photo and make physical comparisons and say they would prefer me 'before.' I prefer me at any weight as long as I'm happy." (Related: Katie Willcox Wants You to Know You're So Much More Than What You See In the Mirror)

La'Tecia's post serves as a reminder to her 374,000 followers about the importance embracing your body, while also recognizing how difficult it can be to get to that point. "It's okay to love yourself no matter what your size is," she said. "I remember how unhappy I was in the picture to the left, I would loathe certain parts of my body-particularly my bum/thighs because that was and is the hardest part of my body to lose. I had so many insecurities, I compared myself to other women and I lacked confidence." (Related: Kayla Itsines' Sister Leah Opens Up About People Comparing Their Bodies)

But ever since welcoming a more body-positive outlook, La'Tecia says she's come to understand how much self-love and happiness are really connected and, looking back, how that would have helped her appreciate her body no matter the size. "Since changing my outlook on life and learning to embrace who I am, I know that hypothetically if I were to go back to what I used to be, I would be so much happier and content than what I was because I've learned to love me," she said.

La'Tecia ended her inspirational post by noting the need to make mental health a priority as it plays such a vital role in helping people feel comfortable. "Mental health is just as important as your physical [health]," she wrote, adding that in no way is she trying to promote one body type or size over another. "I'm not saying it's okay to be inactive and make unhealthy choices," she said, "I think it's about finding balance, listen to your body, you know what's best for it." Thank you, La'Tecia, for reminding us what the #LoveMyShape movement is really all about.

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Comments (1)

Anonymous
September 25, 2017
I've had ab fat since a child (being "skinny fat" and not looking obese to the average person) and now really need to get rid of it as an adult. Problem is I can't do it without loosing weight all over. So far it doesn't look like she's got a lot of ab. However, I would never tell anyone excess ab fat is healthy. So far I'm happy with my new struggle for overall muscle and It's been a kick in the butt I've needed. She was fortunate to have been what she was before.