A former-bodybuilder has shared a bloated photograph to shatter the 'Instagram illusion' of perfection by showing how PMS affects her body.
Victoria D'Ariano, 25, posted the images to encourage others online to be honest about their body struggles too.
Taken four hours apart, the first image shows her flexed, chiselled abs.
In her second snap, Victoria’s stomach is swollen from PMS, with the social media influencer writing about her "extreme bloating", lack of energy, mood swings, cramps and more, in a bid to get others to be more open.
"I wanted people to see [the] reality that I don't walk around with a super flat stomach all the time,” she said.
"Before I would look at other women who appeared to be perfect and beautiful all the time, then I would look at myself and not understand why I wasn't the same.
"I wanted to be real with my followers and talk about my struggles to shed light on something that people don't really talk about."
The Los Angeles-local believes Instagram stars often hide the realities of being a woman and says her followers resonated with the honesty of her post, which attracted over 9,500 likes.
"No one talks about the struggle women go through every month, with myself I go through being bloated, depressed, exhausted and moody,” said Victoria.
"I was kind of inspired, my stomach was so uncomfortable and I was feeling all these emotions, so I decided it was good for others to know they are not alone and the symptoms are normal.
"The first picture I took, was me doing a typical flex selfie, then the second, which was three or four hours later showed my stomach swollen.
"There are periods of the month where I am bloated and it's unrealistic to think you can always look like the flex picture rather than the bloated one.
"I want people to realise, one moment on Instagram doesn't always depict what actually is going on in a person's life and that what we go through is totally normal.
"The response from my post was so positive, a lot of women felt empowered by me showing you can be natural and embrace all parts of a being a woman.
"It reminded me that we can be too hard on ourselves for not looking our normal selves during PMS, but it's something very normal and is just a part of the human body."
Victoria, who has over 340,000 followers on Instagram, hopes her candidness will encourage others to talk more truthfully about their own experiences.
"I think people need to be more honest because there are many young women who are influenced by them yet their Instagram image of perfection isn't always a reality,” she said.
"Things can be perfectly posed, edited, have great lighting and more, others should come forward and share their real struggles too."
Victoria’s self-love message comes eight months after abandoning rigorous training and dieting she undertook for four-years to achieve the 'perfect body'.
After suffering from “body image issues, body dysmorphia, eating pattern problems and a lot of anxiety”, the former body builder decided to accept who she is.
She’s since put on nearly 10 kilograms and has never been happier.
"I live a life now where I'm not focused on the way I look and training, I work out because I like to do it for enjoyment rather than a particular look,” she says.
- Reporting by Caters News.