Michael Hamm is not only a handsome cosplayer with an incredible set of abs (though he is that as well) – he also often talks about body image, and how unrealistic it can be – including with his own photos.

Now, in a candid post on Instagram, Michael opens up about the hardships body image can bring with it.

Michael Hamm nathan drake
Photo: Instagram

Michael Hamm is a popular cosplayer (someone who dresses up in superhero and other pop culture character costumes) and a model, with more than 136,000 Instagram followers. In a video posted last year, Michael addressed his looks and how unrealistic they can be – and now he’s back on the topic.

“I have a history of perpetuating unhealthy and unrealistic body standards and I struggle with that”, he writes in his latest Instagram post.

Growing up I hated my body. It didn’t look how I was told it should and I was surrounded by images of people with perfect bodies, talking about how easy it was. This is more prevalent now than ever, so it’s important to talk about.

When I post I feel like a hypocrite because I am doing the exact thing that fucked me up as a kid.

In the post, Michael shows two photos of himself that were taken only 11 days apart – and he looks quite different in each of them. One was taken before a photoshoot that he had to diet and prepare himself for. The other – after a crazy vacation. Guess when he was happier.

Read his full text here:

I have a history of perpetuating unhealthy and unrealistic body standards and I struggle with that. Growing up I hated my body. It didn’t look how I was told it should and I was surrounded by images of people with perfect bodies, talking about how easy it was. This is more prevalent now than ever, so it’s important to talk about. When I post I feel like a hypocrite because I am doing the exact thing that fucked me up as a kid. I post photos that make it look as though I’m always in great shape and it’s horse shit. Truth is, I’m not always in shape and it’s not healthy for me (mentally or physically) to always be in great shape. It’s not easy or realistic, and honestly, it’s not even feasible for a lot of people. I recognize my privilege. I can afford supplements, I can afford to eat healthy, I have access to a gym, and the list goes on. I have all of this, and it’s STILL difficult. Expecting this from others, and ourselves is not ok. To be clear, I’m not knocking eating healthy or fitness. Eat well, get exercise, be healthy, but don’t fuck yourself up trying to be something that’s not obtainable for you. The pictures I posted are 11 days apart. The left was before a shoot that I had been dieting for, and right is after a trip to California where I had the time of my life. I was happier on the right, despite the crazy eyes. You need to be happy, but you need to be YOUR kind of happy. Maybe that’s having a 6 pack, maybe it’s enjoying food and drinks, maybe it’s mix. Either way, don’t let others determine what’s good for you. I know this is easy for me to say from my high horse, and no, this doesn’t mean I am going to stop posting my fitness shots, but please, if you take anything from what I’m saying, let it be this: What I present on the Internet is not only somewhat fictional or idealized, but it’s also something that’s not always feasible. Looking up to people like me can be motivating, and if that’s the case, fuck yeah, get that fitness! But if you look at me and it gets you down, just know it’s not that fun, food is good as fuck, and you need to be the best version of you that YOU want to be, not the best version you think others want you to be.

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