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'Nobody is perfect': Fitness blogger posts side-by-side pics of her bloated belly

by Gina Vivinetto / / Source: TODAY

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In a world where Reese Witherspoon, Eva Longoria and other stunning celebrities 'fess up to wearing Spanx on the red carpet, you'd think regular women wouldn't be ashamed of their belly bloat.

Of course, that's not the case, as Belfast-based fitness and lifestyle blogger Tiffany Brien knows all too well. Brien, the ultra-fit former Miss Northern Ireland, took to Facebook to let women know that bloating is normal — and she did so using side-by-side pics of her own belly.

 Fitness blogger Tiffany Brien showed off her belly with side-by-side photos on Facebook, one showing what her stomach looks like when she's bloated and one showing what her stomach looks like when she's not. Tiffany Brien/Facebook

"No I'm not 6 months pregnant. It's just my food baby," joked Brien in the candid post. "These two photos are 12 hours apart, left before bed and right when I woke up."

Brien encouraged women to understand that while it's smart to stay physically fit, aiming for perfection is a losing battle.

"We are not all what we seem on social media," she wrote.

Brien told TODAY via email that she wanted to show her social media followers that she's a real person with "issues," too.

"I normally receive such wonderful praise and support from people through my blog, which is so lovely and I'm so grateful," Brien said. "I decided I would share a bad day because I am aware that bloggers and Instagrammers are perceived as 'perfect.' But nobody is perfect!"

The fitness expert also admitted that bloating sometimes happens to her over the course of one night out on the town.

"On a (sic) evening out for dinner in a lovely tight dress," she wrote. "I could be half way into my main course and I suddenly feel uncomfortable and now really unattractive with a big bloated belly!"

RELATED: 7 secrets to beat belly bloat fast

Even though she's a former beauty queen, Brien said she feels the pressure to look perfect."I scroll down my newsfeed and look in awe of these beautiful women who don't look as if they've a single flaw!" she said. "We all know that this is unrealistic, but yet we seem to believe that that is real life."
Brien said that she's pleased that the post, which has garnered more than 4,200 comments, inspired such a "massive" response.
While the blogger listed a few causes behind bloating in her Facebook post — stress, lack of sleep, hormones, and food intolerances — as well as some troubleshooting tips to flatten one's tummy, she was careful to remind her followers that, at the end of the day, a bloated belly is not the end of the world.

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"Relax and be happy," Brien wrote. "It'll be OK, you're not alone. Promise."

Brien told TODAY that she wishes women wouldn't be so hard on themselves.

"Sometimes you need to step back and be grateful for what you've been given and enjoy life in the skin you're in, whatever shape or size."

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