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Before a plastic surgery procedure, a doctor will often use a marker to outline the exact areas of the body going under the knife.
This is done for medical reasons, but it can be disturbing to see a body reduced to a diagram of dotted lines and arrows — just sections of skin to be nipped or tucked.
Sia Cooper, a fitness blogger and personal trainer based in Destin, Florida, wanted other people to understand this unpleasant reality of cosmetic surgery.
Cooper, 29, recently posted an Instagram photo of her body covered in black lines and arrows, similar to the markings that plastic surgeons might draw to plan out a procedure. She drew marks for various common surgeries, including a tummy tuck, a nose job and an eyebrow lift.
“When you go to a plastic surgeon’s office, they mark your body just like this — depending on what you’re having done,” Cooper wrote in the caption of the viral photo, which has earned more than 23,000 likes and counting. “All of the markings represent what’s not ‘perfect enough’ for us to accept on our own bodies whether it’s breasts, nose, body fat or even tummies.”
Cooper herself had a breast augmentation done about seven years ago, but she now regrets the decision. She is still dealing with medical complications from her procedure, and she says that plastic surgery didn't actually bring her long-term happiness.
Now, she says she's found a deeper sense of self-worth that has nothing to do with her chest size.
"If I could go back and tell that 21-year-old girl awaiting her consult for a breast augmentation, I would scream at her that she’s perfect," she wrote on Instagram. "I would tell her that she does not need to be cut into like a slice of meat.
“I urge you to love yourself," she added. "No body deserves to be marked on as if it needs changing. It’s degrading and it’s never a good feeling.”
“I know that a lot of women deal with pressures (to get) plastic surgery and they turn to it to make them feel better,” she told TODAY Style. “And it does for a little bit, you do feel better. But after a while, it’s like you get addicted … you start nitpicking other flaws on your body. Like, ‘Let’s see, so I had my breasts done and then soon after, a couple years later, I was like, ‘Wow, my nose is big, I need to get my nose done,’ or ‘Hey, my butt, I need to make it bigger.’”
She urged women to stop fixating on specific areas of their body that “need work.”
“I want them focus on their strengths,” she told TODAY. “Instead of nitpicking what they don’t like about themselves or what needs changing, I want them to find what they do like about themselves, and play on that.”
This isn’t Cooper’s first viral Instagram post; she’s been an advocate for body positivity for a while now. She often shares honest, unedited photos of herself with her 1.2 million followers, and she posts inspiring messages about fitness and maintaining a healthy body image.
Her latest post about plastic surgery really resonated with her fans, and many commented to thank her for her honest and empowering message. Some people even said that Cooper’s post made them rethink getting plastic surgery.
“Wow! You really made me reconsider what I was trying to do,” one commenter wrote. “Thank you for this post so much, I appreciate your words and the time and effort you spent teaching individuals that they are perfect the way they are. ”
“I needed this today as I've been contemplating breast augmentation after three kids,” another woman shared. “Love the message of this!”
While Cooper says she would never directly tell someone not to get plastic surgery — “it’s their body and I want them to what makes them happy” — she says she is glad that people are reconsidering going under the knife.
“It’s good to hear ... that (my post) has made them feel so good about themselves that they’re starting to rethink needing a boob job or a tummy tuck or a nose job,” she told TODAY.
For her, at least, cosmetic surgery was definitely not worth it.
"Plastic surgery is just not what it’s cracked up to be," she said.