Australian fitness guru Emily Skye is known for being frank. Her wildly popular Instagram feed is full of posts where she owns the hell out of her stretch marks, loose skin, and cellulite as well as other so-called "flaws" and "imperfections." That being said, even she isn't immune to haters and trolls policing her body and making assumptions about her life from what they see on the internet.
Despite the negativity, Skye remains positive and focused on her personal goals, but it has been anything but easy. "All 3 pics are roughly a year apart and I've gotten STRONGER each year," she recently wrote on Instagram alongside photos of herself a year before giving birth, nine months pregnant, and 11 months postpartum.
"Before I was pregnant, while and after I've received comments such as: 'You're too skinny, too lean, too muscly, too manly, not enough shape, not feminine etc,'" she continued. "While I was pregnant they said: 'You'll be like other fitness models & personal trainers and you will barely show, won't gain any weight & will snap back easily.' I also was told my body would be 'ruined' and I'll never get it 'back.'"
But if you've followed Skye's postpartum journey, you know none of that is actually true. "While pregnant I gained roughly [52 pounds]," she wrote. "I didn't have a small belly and I didn't snap back at all. It took a LOT of hard work and consistency and definitely wasn't easy and it TOOK TIME."
Skye has opened up before about how her pregnancy didn't go as planned and she was advised to stop working out after suffering from back pain and sciatica. After giving birth, she shared how she barely recognized her body, encouraging her followers not to expect to shrink back to "normal" so soon. She even shared a two-second transformation to make a point about postpartum bodies. (FYI: It's totally normal to still look pregnant after giving birth.)
"It took almost a year to get back to the fitness level I had prior to being pregnant," she continued in her post. "I did it healthily, without overdoing it and of course while Mia was my absolute priority. I worked on my business and traveled overseas numerous times for work."
Also contrary to what people might assume, Skye shared that she doesn't have a "nanny, cleaner, or family nearby" to help her out. "I've made sure I shared the whole process of my postpartum journey and shared my most vulnerable times when I had tough days, baby blues, self-doubts as a mother," she wrote. "I showed myself when I was far from my best in [hopes that it] helps some of you to know that nobody is perfect & to believe in yourselves, go for the things you want in life and never give up."
The bottom line? Know that tough times are inevitable—but they won't last. And in the meantime, stop comparing your life, body, and circumstances to those around you.
Skye says it best: "Life is tough. You have bad days and sometimes you feel like throwing in the towel (I did many times) but you CAN do it. Don't ever listen to negative people who doubt you and put you down. Don't let them bring you down to their level. They want you to feel as unhappy as they do, unfortunately. You are AMAZING & worthy. You can do anything you set your mind to just don't let negative Nancy's distract you. There's a lot of them out there but there are far more kind, supportive people out there so make sure you surround yourself with them!"
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This article originally appeared on Shape.com