A woman has shared the true “story” behind one of her most-liked Instagram photos as a reminder that posts on social media don’t always tell the whole story.
Erica Romy, who goes by the username @eribodysbeautiful on TikTok, where she posts body-positive content, has dedicated a number of videos to a series she created called: “Behind my most-liked pics.”
In the series, Romy shares insight into what her followers wouldn’t know just from looking at her pictures, with one viral video focusing on a photo taken when Romy was “in the middle of a very severe eating and exercise disorder”.
In the video, the TikToker spoke candidly about a photo of herself smiling in a bikini and standing on a dock. According to Romy, the photo is one of her “most-liked pictures,” and had been met with comments from her followers praising her flat stomach and “healthy” appearance after she posted it.
However, in reality, Romy said that she was so hungry that day that she doesn’t remember taking the photo.
“People were like: ‘Omg your stomach is so flat, jealous. How did you get so healthy?’” Romy recalled, adding: “Little did they know I was in the middle of a very severe eating and exercise disorder.”
Romy then went on to recall how the comments she received contributed to her disordered eating, with the TikToker continuing: “The more compliments I got, the less I ate.”
The TikTok user also acknowledged that she had struggled with the bathing suit size because of her body dysmorphia, and had considered not posting the photo because “you can see that I have skin”.
“It looks cute and candid but I actually took hundreds of photos because I just couldn’t get the pose right,” Romy continued.
The clip, which has been viewed more than 1.1m times, has prompted an outpouring of praise and gratitude for Romy’s transparency.
“Thank you for sharing this. Posts like these help me see how misleading photos can be,” one person commented.
Another said: “That sounds like such a painful time but thank you for sharing! It honestly helps seeing other people be so honest.”
“This is really eye-opening. Thank you for sharing,” someone else added.
In another video in the series, Romy shared a photo of herself that had been taken during a modelling shoot, with the body positivity activist revealing that she received compliments praising her confidence in her body.
Romy then revealed that, like the story behind many of her other most-liked photos, she was actually suffering with an eating disorder at the time.
“Little did they know I was in the middle of a very severe eating disorder,” she said. “I was so nervous before this because I had put honey in my oatmeal. I didn’t submit an assignment before this because I was working out and I put on 17 outfits before wearing the baggiest thing I could find.”
The Independent has contacted Romy for comment.
For anyone struggling with the issues raised in this piece, eating disorder charity Beat’s helpline is available 365 days a year on 0808 801 0677.
NCFED offers information, resources and counselling for those suffering from eating disorders, as well as their support networks. Visit eating-disorders.org.uk or call 0845 838 2040.