Trending Instagram Hashtag #30SecondTransformation Shows How Fitness Selfies Are Often Misleading

02/26/2016 AT 12:30 PM EST

Instagram is filled with inspiring before-and-after weight loss selfies from celebrities and casual users alike – but are they real?

Fitness Instagrammer @plankingforpizza showed how misleading they can be with an impressive before-and-after picture where she appears taller and leaner with visible abs in the 'after.' But she actually took the photos just 30 seconds apart.

This is not a transformation photo This week I've decided to do the 30 second transformation photo. These pics were taken second apart this morning. On the left my posture is poor, I'm pushing my belly out as far as possible, I adjusted my bottoms to show my gross, unsightly and horrid love handles. These are often concealed by my high waisted pants and bottoms that do fit so much better now. As much as it pains me to showcase these, it also proves that my body isn't perfect and that I still have work to do and fat to lose (I'm working so hard to get rid of my love handles and lower tummy fat. Yes it has dramatically reduced already but it still exists and I'm still insecure about it). On the right I'm standing straight and comfortably. I'm lightly flexing and I've adjusted my bottoms to hide my love handles. I'm thankful for bikini bottoms that now fit well and hide these but I'm also trying to show that they still exist quite a bit and that not everything we see meets the eye here on social media. You can show you best angles and hide your flaws but at the end of the day what we chose to showcase is a reflection of ourselves. My body isn't perfect. I still have imperfections and flaws that I'm slowly learning to be comfortable with. I want to be real and honest and open. Yes I've accomplished a lot, but yes my body still has less than ideal days when it doesn't look its best. Fitness and health is not a fix. It's not a destination. It's a lifestyle. If you force your progress you know who you are cheating?! You. You only cheat you. Yes I like to show my best most of the time but I've also realized by not showing my worst that it only harms myself. Being vulnerable and imperfect is hard but lying to yourself is worse. I know I'm hard on myself, it's a flaw on its own, but I'm slowly learning to be gentle and kind but it starts with being truthful to myself and knowing and understanding my imperfections and realizing that, although they exist, they don't define me. I am not a before picture. I am not an after picture. I am not fat nor am I perfect. I'm flawed. I'm scarred. I'm insecure. But I'm learning and I'm hopeful that one day I'll fully love me

A photo posted by Jess: My Fitness Journal (@plankingforpizza) on



"These pics were taken second apart this morning," she writes. "On the left my posture is poor, I'm pushing my belly out as far as possible, I adjusted my bottoms to show my gross, unsightly and horrid love handles."



"On the right I'm standing straight and comfortably. I'm lightly flexing and I've adjusted my bottoms to hide my love handles. I'm thankful for bikini bottoms that now fit well and hide these but I'm also trying to show that they still exist quite a bit and that not everything we see meets the eye here on social media."

"You can show you best angles and hide your flaws but at the end of the day what we chose to showcase is a reflection of ourselves."

Inspired by her honesty, the hashtag #30SecondTransformation took off on Instagram, with users posting their own misleading before-and-afters in the name of body positivity.

30 second transformation I wasn't going to post this as I found it pretty confronting! But then I thought that's a good reason to. There are just 30 seconds between these photos and some adjusting of my shorts! I scroll through so many inspirational pictures of skinny and fit girls who are showing their best photos, it shouldn't but sometimes it gets me down about my own progress. So this serves as a reminder, that every #bbg girl is working extremely hard and you shouldn't be so hard on yourself when comparing to some amazing photos, they may not look that way all the time (or they very much may but you are working on it)!! After my little sulk about these pictures I went and smashed some LISS and my full body workout #thekaylamovement #bbg #bbggirls #bbgcommunity #kaylasarmy #motivation #fat2fit #deathbykayla #transformation #fitfam #bbgfamily #sweatwithkayla #fitness #healthy #healthylifestyle #healthychange #bbgsupport #bbgbeginner #bbgaustralia #30secondtransformation #selfdoubt #staypositive #30secondbeforeandafter

A photo posted by My Fitness Journey (@maddi_may_fit) on



"There are just 30 seconds between these photos and some adjusting of my shorts!" writes one Instagrammer. "I scroll through so many inspirational pictures of skinny and fit girls who are showing their best photos, it shouldn't but sometimes it gets me down about my own progress."



read the post! ... Surprise! ! ... #transformationtuesday ... First of all, I am not making fun of anyone's transformation pic or progress. At all. Transformation, growth, and change is powerful. (And HARD work!!) This is just to show how important our perspective is ... this is my #30secondtransformation. The angle of the camera, the posture, the energy, the cropping, the confidence ... all way different. I can make a pretty good "before" pic, huh??. ;) ;) This was fun to post ... but it reminds me to not be so hard on my "external shell" ... we need to be strong on the inside, too. A beautiful heart is so much greater than a beautiful body. edited to add : these pics were both YESTERDAY. LOL ... things are not always as they appear. anyone want to have fun with this crazy #30secondtransformationchallenge tag? ;)

A photo posted by @fitmom.2.three on



REALITY // I've seen a lot of these 30-second transformation posts & I love them, they're so honest and true. Social media is a beautiful tool, but it can be a crafted tool in the way that you can show people what you want, and what they want to see. I don't have a problem with that because in a way that's helped me to get to where I am today. However, I think it's equally important to try and be as honest and real as possible to not blindsight others, hence this post. I'm a massive culprit for only posting flexing photos. I do NOT look like that permanently and I think that's something that may be overlooked. Why do I flex then? I do it because I'm proud that firstly I now know how to flex haha but secondly I now have actual, genuine muscles ! on the flip side, I am also proud to say I love my body when I am relaxed, because I do now feel comfortable and confident in it, probably more so than when I'm flexing in all honesty. I think these photos are so powerful in bringing back reality and helping to look at the bigger picture. Progression is not all about the way you look, but more importantly how you feel. What I love the most about progress photos is the change you can see inside someone; the smile, the confidence. Beauty is skin deep // However, on that note, I will promise to start posting more unflexed photos, to monitor my progress from all angles (note: I am flexing in ALL of my before and after photos as I like to see the true extent of the change in my muscle definition) // I would love to see some of your 30-second transformations girls, so if you do decide to do one, please tag me in it! Be proud of your body and love it ALL the time, because you are beautiful have a great weekend lovelies x post inspired by the lovely @plankingforpizza x

A photo posted by @lauren_bbg on



My #30secondtransformation! @armyguard_bbg told me about this last night over dinner then I saw @kayla_itsines post!- Left photo is me pushing out my stomach and have bad posture, right is me sanding up straight and flexing my stomach.- I almost always use a filter on my photos and tbh, it does give me a confidence boost putting my old, unedited pics next to my new edited ones (just a filter through Instagram)- I really am the biggest culprit of using good, natural lighting and good posture in my photos. I almost never stand with my feet together in pictures because my legs look bigger because I don't have a thigh gap (and never will).- I've decided that in the rest of my pictures I post on my account I will always pose with my feet together, as it will show me the more truthful progress I'm making in my #bbgjourney!- - - #thekaylamovement #bbggirls #bbg #bbgcommunity #kaylaitsines #workout #fitfam #foodie #healthyliving #liss #hiit #progress #whatsonyourplate #kaylasarmy #bbgsisters #bbg1 #motivation #gym #sweatwithkayla

A photo posted by @burritostoburpees on



And the hashtag trend is inspiring many weight loss Instagrammers to be more honest going forward.

"I've decided that in the rest of my pictures I post on my account I will always pose with my feet together, as it will show me the more truthful progress I'm making," adds another.
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