Society loves to conflate "skinny" with "healthy." But let's not forget "skinny" can also mean "unhealthy" and "a total nightmare." Just ask British model and body activist Charli Howard, who spent years at an "unhealthily low weight" after being told she was "too big" for modeling gigs, People reports.

Ever since quitting with a LITERAL FU to the fashion industry, she is doing much, much better. Yesterday the 26-year-old shared a powerful message about body acceptance on Instagram, along with photos of her from before, and now that she's "happier than I’ve ever been."


She definitely looks prettier now. But more importantly, she looks alive. And HAPPY.

In the caption, she wrote:

Look how far I've come!! πŸ’ͺ🏼πŸ’ͺ🏼πŸ’ͺ🏼 I may be heavier than I was, but I'm happier than I've ever been, and I never, EVER want to go back to that miserable and lonely time. πŸ’”
I'm proof that being thin does not make your life better. I know the idea of thinness can often feel like a gateway towards a more fabulous, exotic and fulfilled life (that's how it's sold in magazines and in the media), but the reality is very different. You're just masking underlying insecurities or problems.
Being thin does not miraculously make you:
βœ–οΈ Happy
βœ–οΈ Pretty
βœ–οΈ Popular (with girls or boys)
... or solve any other problem.
The only way you will achieve these things is IF and WHEN you choose to love yourself and who you're meant to be! πŸ’• Trust who you are and realise you're good enough. Always remember that there is so much more to life than looks and weight. It's a big world out there and you have so much more to offer it 🌏 (P.S Thank you @letayna for tagging me in this before & after photo! It really showed me how much better my life is now! πŸ’–) #iamallwoman#curves


Excuse me, waiter? Can I please get an amen please? And a side of fries.

Howard also shared these comparison photos last month along with a vulnerable post about overcoming disordered eating and body image dysmorphia:

Let me tell you a little tale regarding the selfies pictured here. In the words of Nicki Minaj, I was "feelin' myself" in the photo on the right, despite being in Texas and having eaten more food than is humanly necessary. But hey, it was a holiday, and I was enjoying myself. Life isn't about restricting. βœ–οΈ It's taken me a longggg time, but I like how my shape is developing. πŸ‘ I like how womanly I'm starting to look. I like how my boobs and thighs are getting bigger, which I never thought I'd say. πŸ’ͺ🏼 I don't want to look like that miserable girl on the left, whose gums were always bleeding, hair was falling out, periods didn't come etc. ☹️ So anyway, I posted that "feelin' myself" photo & carried on with my day. A couple of days later, I was sent an article that had been written about me with that selfie included. The article itself was very nice, as is the girl who wrote it (she frequently writes about body positivity)... but then I made the mistake of viewing the comments. πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„ In a nutshell, I was described as "fat", "ugly", "arrogant" and "not model material". One person said I should go and work in porn because that's all I was good for. πŸ’” I just began sobbing at Austin Airport, which was a bit embarrassing, but it was a reflection of how I felt inside. MORTIFIED. Ashamed. FAT. Suddenly, all the old thoughts & feelings I felt in the left photo came rushing back, like how I should stop eating for the rest of the day, or start over exercising to compensate. 😒 But then a random lady came over to me and gave me a hug out of the blue. Like those dickheads on the internet, she was a total stranger, but she decided to show me kindness, despite not knowing me or why I was crying. ❀️ I suddenly realised that my worth wasn't representative of some mean trolls on the internet. It's taken my years, but I LIKE MY BODY & MY SHAPE. I'm finally healthy πŸŽ‰ My body isn't validated by anyone else's views of me. And neither is yours! ✌🏼 Be kind to other girls online. You never know how your words may affect someone. πŸ’• #bodypositive #curves #iamallwoman

A post shared by Charli Howard (@charlihoward) on

Her message is an important one that we don't hear often enough. Because in the pursuit of skinny we forget about healthy, and that includes mental health as well as physical.

tl;dr maybe we should all stop obsessing over body size and shape and just strive to look (and feel) alive.