A fitness blogger has taken to Instagram to share something most people would not post on social media: a photo of her bloated stomach. Malin Olofsson (@malinxolofsson) often shares pictures of her toned body, but diverged from that trend in a post about the reality of the menstrual cycle, adding a caption about how women should not be ashamed of their bodies.

“This is how PMS looks like for me, and many other women,” she wrote on Instagram. “It is simply water retention and yes, it is really uncomfortable. But you know what makes it even more uncomfortable? Walking around hating your body because of it.”

Bloating is a common symptom that accompanies a period, along with the bleeding, cramps, fatigue, food cravings and other discomforts. The severity and timing of the water retention that causes bloating varies. “For most women, water retention is just a monthly bother,” the Mayo Clinic explains, “but in some cases, it can be severe enough to interfere with daily activities.” Hormones and diet can play a role, so that organization recommends cutting down on salt, which increases water retention. Other methods of reducing bloating include regular physical activity and a healthy, well-balanced diet.

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Regardless of how bloated a woman becomes, Olofsson encourages embracing your stomach: “It is really important that you learn to love yourself no matter how your body looks/how you perceive it ... and this is what I look like for at least one week a month,” she wrote on her transparent Instagram post. “I wanted to show you this — to show you that it is ok, that no one looks like the pictures they post on Instagram at all times. We choose to show others what we are proud of — but I think it is important to be proud of the totality of you — to learn to be proud of you, no matter what your body looks like.”

The honest social media photo was not the only time Olofsson has shared words of encouragement with her followers. In one post she said, “You can’t diet and exercise away insecurities and self-hate. … Find a movement you actually enjoy and allow a love for your body to blossom.” Another specifically geared toward women and girls reads, “Stop saying ‘sorry’ and start saying ‘don’t interrupt me.’ … Help out other girls and be vocal about what makes you mad. Be masculine and feminine and both and neither and be unapologetic.”

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