Cellulite is something that a full 90 percent of women (and 10 percent of men) have somewhere on their bodies. It tends to start appearing between ages 25 and 35 around areas where there are three layers of fat, such as the knees, thighs, belly, and butt. No matter how thin you are, all women have these layers of fat — it’s normal, natural, and healthy.
After a photo of her in a swimsuit caught her cellulite in all its glory, blogger Tesia Kline decided she was sick of the stigma. She decided to post side-by-side photos of herself on the same day in the same bathing suit with different lighting to prove just how deceptive social media can be. And her fans ate it up.
“Sometimes your ‘body goals’ may not always be what they appear to be (especially on IG),” she said on her Instagram post, which now has nearly 6,800 likes. She continued, “Thank you, angles and lighting for helping me see that I’m still fcking FLAWESOME from every point of view!!”
As you can see, a difference in lighting and angle are all it takes to go from smooth to what some might call “flawed,” though Tesia has a different word for it: flawesome.
Tesia hasn’t always been so body-positive, particularly about herself. According to Women’s Health, a DJ at a club fat-shamed her off a stage where she was dancing and enjoying herself.
Humiliated, Tesia took up exercise in a big way. She lost 50 pounds and started competing in bodybuilding competitions. Physically, she felt great.
However, she still wasn’t satisfied with how her body looked. “I was never satisfied with my body no matter how lean I got,” said Tesia. She finally had to acknowledge that her real problem was low self-esteem.
Thinner Does Not Always Mean Healthier
This revelation led her to quit bodybuilding and take a more relaxed approach to fitness.
“I finally realized that my self-worth is not based on what I looked like. You don’t have to be lean and shredded to be happy or healthy.”
Tesia started eating a balanced diet and working out a few days a week, and she started a body-positive Instagram account. Today, she has over 105,000 followers.
This isn’t the first time Tesia has tackled the subject of cellulite. In a post she shared two months ago, she showed off a jacket with the words “CELLULITE IS NOT A FLAW” over her real, non-airbrushed butt and thighs.
“You are NORMAL, and you are HUMAN,” she wrote, “It is the media and society who need to be fixed… NOT you.”
What Is Cellulite?
Unfortunately, society and the media treat cellulite like dimples of pure sin. People act like this extremely common physical feature is a result of laziness and a bad attitude, but it’s not even a result of having more body fat than the average person might need.
The effect known as cellulite happens because as women get older, they produce less estrogen and their circulation gets weaker. This results in less production of collagen, the human body’s main structural protein.
At the same time, our fat cells inevitably become larger with age (regardless of how high or low your body fat percentage is). These fat cells protruding through the collagen results in a bumpy, dimpled effect that for whatever reason became labeled as unattractive.
You Need Fat to Live
Women who have any amount of body fat are very likely to have at least a little bit of cellulite somewhere on their bodies. And everyone has body fat — we need it to live. Body fat helps us regulate body temperature, produce energy, and cushion our vital organs.
Why do we make such a big deal about cellulite? The answer is complicated, but living a physically and emotionally healthier life doesn’t have to be.
“Life is way too short to worry about something so meaningless as cellulite or the negative opinions of others,” says Tesia. “It’s up to us to just accept ourselves, enjoy, and live our lives to the fullest.”
We couldn’t agree more.