Mel is 25 year old, lives in the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda, has a passion for fitness and a dislike for those before-and-after weight loss photographs.
Her blog post about re-creating a before-and-after photograph, without doing anything to her body in terms of training or diet, has gone viral on the internet.
Mel V (she doesn’t want her surname revealed) received a stream of emails, saying thank you, from round the world.
She decided to expose how misleading those before-and-after photographs are by creating her own fakery in 15 minutes.
And people love what she’s saying.
The exercise exposed the rubbish written, and advertised, about body image.
As Mel V says, being thinner doesn’t necessarily make you happier or healthier.
Her blog MelVFitness details how she returned from a trip to America where she enjoyed the food and good times and then became obsessed with fitness.
She became isolated from her friends, didn’t drink, avoided restaurants and trained like a dog.
Six months later she was exhausted. She looked good but on the inside she was a mess and it took another year to get healthy again.
“For me I really like to help people and that’s the whole point of being a personal trainer and writing a fitness blog,” she says.
“I can work with people one-on-one in the gym and share my fitness knowledge online to many via my blog.”
If you live in Melbourne, Mel charges $60 for 45 minutes and is now taking on new clients for the summer. Send her an email [email protected] for more information or take a look at her Facebook page or Instagram account @melvfitness.
She told Business Insider: “I’ve been getting really lovely emails from young girls saying they found the article on the blog to be really helpful. That’s been very nice. It’s humbling to know that people have been inspired by reading my posts.”
She wrote the blog documenting her fake before-and-after in August but it wasn’t until a month ago that her Instagram effort was re-posted on Facebook.
“And then it got wind,” she says. “I think it was on Reddit.com and that sparked it. I am not on Twitter but apparently it was all over Twitter too.
“I don’t look anymore. I’m too scared.
“I keep thinking: ‘Hasn’t everybody seen this already?’ But apparently not.”
She’s been watching her blog’s analytics as her audience has grown, first in American, then Europe and now China.
“The fact that it’s gone viral just goes to show you how much this message means to people and how much it needs to be read.
“I really only started the blog for my clients and friends. It’s fascinating to see how social media works, that snowball effect. It’s just amazing.”
A bit more about Mel: She grew up in Shepparton, Victoria, where her family still lives, and studied at Deakin University in Melbourne.
To stay fit, Mel says all you have to do is find something you love and just do it.
“For example, my Mum loves ballroom dancing, so that is what I encourage her to do,” she says. “There is no point going to bootcamp if you absolutely hate it. It’s is much easier to get out of bed to do something that you love.
“There’s always a physical activity you can do that will be enjoyable for you whether it be Zumba or Lawn Bowls. As long as it gets you moving it, socialising and having a good time, it doesn’t matter what it is.”
Mel’s advice from her blog:
“So my advice to you if you want to change your physique, is to make small changes towards your goals. Stop wanting results in a week, or a month, make changes you can sustain — be patient and consistent. Don’t stop going out with your friends, don’t carry rice and veggies around in your backpack. Learn about food, come up with an achievable plan for you and most importantly enjoy how you exercise and live your life.
“Oh and transformation shots are great, but let it be clear that being thinner doesn’t always mean you’ll be happier, transformations take time, and good lighting can make Buddha have a 6 pack.”
Below is another before-and-after. The one on the left is Mel when she returned from a trip to America. The other one is after she became obsessed with training. She looks good but it took another year after the photograph was taken to get healthy again.