As someone who has weighed on the heavier side for most of my life, I know what it is like to struggle with body image.
Society tells me I'm only beautiful if I'm skinny, but my loved ones tell me that as long as I'm healthy, the size of my belly or my flabby underarms shouldn't matter.
After years of living with these two opposing views, I decided to shed some pounds for the sake of my overall well-being. I loved the attention and compliments I got, and it encouraged me to keep up the progress. I started sharing parts of my weight-loss journey on social media, and it helped a lot.
There's a large online community of people who are ready to offer support and encouragement to those who are working on improving their lifestyle. However, among them are also those who simply exist on a platform to tear people down.
I learned this the hard way, but it wasn't nearly as awful as what weight loss Instagrammer Stephanie Seabrook went through.
Seabrook first rose to viral fame in 2015 after she shared a photo of her stomach inscribed with all the hateful comments she has received about her body. She lost 150 pounds, then underwent a tummy tuck and it was met with lots of support, until people starting turning on her.
People started accusing of photoshopping the images of her body that she shared online.
“At first I tried to just shrug it off, and not think about it, but it started to get progressively worse and more frequent,” Seabrook told People.
Seabrook couldn't understand where these rumors stemmed from, and when she tried to explain that she did not retouch her photos, the situation escalated.
“I got death threats, and people said I should go kill myself because I’m pathetic,” the 30-year-old continued. “They thought that I was a liar and a fraud when I was just trying to be loved and accepted like anyone else.”
So how did the rumor start in the first place?