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This Is How Much Your Body Can Change From Drinking Less Alcohol

The difference is remarkable.
PHOTO: istockphoto

Seven years ago, a Swedish Instagram influencer who goes by "Jelly Devote" went out drinking with her friends at least three times a week, suffering hangovers just as often. "I don't know how much I drank—just that it was a lot," she says of her affinity for beer and hard cider. Now 27, Jelly has reduced her alcohol intake to a glass or two of wine or Champagne every other week, and the effects have been dramatic, according to a recent photo she posted to Instagram comparing her appearance before and after. The side-by-side images received more than 13,500 likes (thousands more than her typical posts) in a matter of days: 

In the caption, she credits her newly balanced lifestyle, the polar opposite of her old ways: Jelly was largely sedentary. She fueled her body with processed foods like fries, chips, meats drenched in fatty sauces, and soda—"not a single vegetable," she says. "All I did was party and stay on the sofa."

When she was 21, an unflattering bikini photo led her to consider exercising. Around the same time, her grandmother, who'd long spoiled her with sweets, made mention of her weight gain.

"That was the moment I decided things needed to change," says Jelly, who began working out at home regularly shortly after. Encouraged by her initial weight loss in the first few weeks, she then zeroed in on her excessive alcohol intake: "It's simply impossible to have a healthy body and mind with that much consumption of alcohol," she says.

In addition to swapping booze for water—"I'm always drinking water!" she says—Jelly tweaked the rest of her diet, too, shifting away from three large meals per day to five or six small ones composed of green veggies, healthy fats, and protein. She leaves room for treats like the occasional donut. After four months, she'd lost roughly 30 pounds.

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Although she's had some setbacks, like a back injury that threatened her motivation to exercise several years ago, she's always rebounded with newfound resolve. "When I drag myself back to the gym, I fall in love with fitness all over again and enjoy it more than ever," says Jelly, who's learned to put more stock in her mindset than her weight, which she no longer tracks. "Most importantly, I've gone from hating myself to loving myself," she wrote on Instagram.

Although the influencer, who has 572,000 followers, now spends most of her time traveling, she continues to drink in moderation. "I have balance," she wrote on Instagram. She also works out when she can, typically five times a week in her hotel room, using a portable resistance band or her backpack as a weight. To stay active, she pursues adventures like hiking. "There are so many changes in how I look, how I feel, and how I live my life," she wrote. "I've never felt better."

Follow Elizabeth on Instagram and Twitter.

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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.