Instagram star Chessie King has lifted the lid for the first time on the dark side of bikini modelling competitions.
Behind the glamorous photos of perfectly honed models lie extreme practices that take their toll on their health, according to the 24-year-old, a one-time competitor herself.
The Londoner, who has 261,000 followers, said women suffer intense exhaustion from the unrelenting fitness regimes and highly restrictive diets they must follow.
She also said they drink red wine to dehydrate in a bid to drop water weight and become ‘stage ready’.
Chessie said she was told by officials that she was carrying ‘too much water weight’ and herself succumbed to the pressure to do anything it took to look good.
The lifestyle blogger admitted she once had an ‘unhealthy’ obsession with working out and that counting every calorie ‘took over’ her life.
Chessie King shared snaps of her before (left) and after (right) she took part in a bikini competition
Now she says she feels healthier, happier and more energised since she ended competing.
She decided to share snaps online showing her figure before and after taking part in a bikini contest to highlight when she was ‘addicted’ before and then afterwards ‘in control’.
Chessie wrote: ‘I would choose happiness over 11% body fat ANYDAY.’
Chessie has 261,000 followers on Instagram
‘I had lost my sense of control’
Her caption said: ‘What’s more important to you, looking good or feeling good? The majority of us, boys & gals, have been through periods where all we want to do is look good but it takes over & we lose the want to feel good.
‘There’s a huge difference between choosing when you want to workout & being so obsessed you don’t even have the choice.
‘Back in the left photo I had lost my sense of control & working out/counting every calorie took over my life. I was addicted to not just looking the leanest I could but I was obsessed with the gym, I spent way too much time there & it took priority over things it shouldn’t of.’
She then explained the photo on the right is her physique after a kidney infection forced her to miss the gym for 16 days.
The London model says she is happier now she is not’ counting every calorie’
She added: ‘I’m now at a shape that’s healthier for me. Not only has my body changed but my mindset has shifted so so much.
‘Now, I walk out of the gym feeling fulfilled, strong & energised compared to the exhausted & sore me on the left.’
Chessie also said that she was ‘so glad’ she entered a bikini competition because it really did educate her about nutrition and fitness, but she is now urging others to focus on their well-being.
‘I learnt so much about my body but I would choose happiness over 11% body fat ANYDAY. So, next time you’re working out, think to yourself, am I doing this just to look good or to feel good too?’
‘They were so drained’
‘It was like a science experiment to see how I could change my body. I learnt so much about training and nutrition,’ she told The Independent.
But her fears are that competitors take the challenge too far.
‘None of them had any energy,’ she said. ‘All of them were drinking red wine to dehydrate.
‘They were so drained and it was just so sad to see them. It’s a lifestyle for people but it’s not healthy.’
‘Size does not matter’
She also posted these images, taken minutes apart, showing the wide variances in clothes sizing in shops
Last month, the fitness fanatic shared two photos taken minutes apart of her wearing size 14 and size 8 clothes.
She posted: ‘What size are you? I get asked this so often & my answer is “anything from an 8 to a 14”.
‘The leggings on the left are a Large, the leggings on the right a Small. Both sizes are healthy & beautiful, there is no right or wrong.
‘One of the biggest things I’ve learnt & want to share with YOU is that size does NOT matter.’
She added: ‘I just DON’T CARE about that number or letter (S,M or L). Wear what feeeels amazing, clothes are so much more comfortable if they have a little room to wiggle & jiggle in.’
In August, the model posted a series of side-by-side shots to show how different her body can look in photos, depending on the angle, lighting and posture.
Her goal was to promote body confidence among young women and to be ‘honest’ with her followers.
The 24-year-old posted a series of side-by-side shots taken just seconds apart to show the truth behind those seemingly perfect Instagram snaps
Sharing a side-by-snap of herself in a red swimsuit, Chessie showcased just how easy it can be to digitally alter your body. In the right hand picture, she has slimmed down her legs, pulled in her belly, and made her breasts and bottom look larger
She explained how she had edited some of the photographs to slim down her legs, pull in her belly and make her breasts and bottom look larger and contrasted them with the un-edited version.
In other shots, the social media star demonstrates how posture can dramatically change the way her body looks, as well as the type of bikini she wears.
Chessie told FEMAIL: ‘Every time I do one, I’m showing my ‘not so perfect bits’. I want people to feel like they’re not alone.
In another recent post, Chessie busted the myth around the perfect poolside legs shot – showing how different her legs look depending on how she’s posing
Chessie also shows how her thighs and her rolls are both ‘completely normal’ in a couple of fun snaps
‘Instagram is one of the biggest reasons for everyone wanting to look ‘perfect’ in their bikini, definitely.’
She explained how she has struggled with body confidence in the past, when she would compare herself to other women who had shapes that were ‘unrealistic’ for her to achieve.
‘All I could see on Instagram was just ‘perfection’,’ she said. ‘It’s taken me a long long time to actually wear a bikini without wanting to grab a towel and wrap it round me whenever anyone looked at me.’
She demonstrates how different her body can look depending on her posture in this side-by-side shot
The type of bikini you wear can also make a difference, with high-waisted bottoms giving the illusion of a smaller waist