In the past two years, Simone Anderson has lost over 196 lbs. She has been posting her weight-loss journey on Instagram, inspiring many people to begin journeys of their own.
But not everyone is so supportive. Others are calling Anderson a fake.
She recently told the U.K.'s Independent:
I only ever tried to be as honest as possible,” she said. "From day one, I showed the good, the bad, and the ugly of extreme weight loss.
”I exposed my skin, I showed every stretch mark, every little bit of sagging to the world.
“To have people come back and tell me that I'm faking it was hard because I wasn't pleasing everyone.”
Anderson also spoke to the Daily Dot about how the comments have affected her. "At first, they really got me down and I would play them over and over in my head," she said. "Now I may read them and just think I know what I have done, I know what I have achieved, and no one can take that away from me."Anderson isn't alone in having to defend her weight loss. Another Instagram fitness celebrity, Kayla Itsines, regularly posts before and after pictures of dramatic weight-loss transformations of people inspired by her workout app. Many of the comments often nitpick the pictures, accusing the women of digitally altering their photos, by pointing out tattoos or moles that seem to be missing.
And viewers are right to be skeptical. An article from the BBC in March 2015 exposes how before and after shots are often manipulated with lighting, improved posture, and nicer clothes. A viral video from 2012 shows how one fitness guru made himself go from fab to flab in under five hours.
However, the hate in social media comments often gets out of hand, especially when it comes to women and their bodies. A woman must be faking it if she meets Western beauty standards—and if she doesn't, she's a fat, unattractive troll.
Anderson, for her part, insists her transformation is real, and she has the pictures to prove it.
Still, the haters keep on hating. Anderson told the Independent, "Throughout my whole journey, I have tried to be so honest about the whole experience and tell people it exactly as it's happened, so to be called a fake hurt a lot.”
Update 4:00pm CT, May 25: Updated to include Anderson's comments to the Daily Dot.