Warning: What I am about to say may hurt a little but please hear me out.
Remember, get curious with yourself if this stings and you feel an internal resistance.
I HATE before and after photos. I have no tolerance for them at all.
I have identified that they are one of my confidence triggers and I protect myself from such things. I can talk about confidence triggers further and what to do about them at a later time, for now….
There are three main reasons why I hate these before and afters.
I am not a BEFORE photo.
Do you ever notice how all the before photos are deemed so bad and inappropriate, “I was gross, disgusted, unhealthy. I didn’t care. ” Sometimes the person is even looking quite sad. The message there is that the body before was BAD, no good, needed to change. Well, my body now looks like your definition of bad – I AM THE BEFORE PHOTO. The impression is that the old body was flawed and they did something to make it less flawed.
Yes, it’s a form of comparison and that is one of the biggest struggles for women. Even when you are comparing yourself to you! Imagine that. We can struggle with comparison when directed internally. One was good, one was bad, this is better than that – that is the definition of comparison. I’m good when I lost weight, then what does that mean when if I gain the weight back? Then I must be bad, starting the negative spiral, losing all the confidence that weight loss brought me. Comparison says there is a good/bad, right/wrong, winner/loser.
Look at my body.
You are literally forcing people to look at your body when you share Before & after photos. I hear lots from women that “I’m more than my body” or “I want to be confident regardless of how my body looks” or “I don’t want to worry so much about my body.” Stop focusing on your body and STOP letting other people focus on your body. When you share this photo you are actually telling people: LOOK AT MY BODY.
You are telling people what you care about, what you praise, what you value, what you deem worthy and acceptable. BOOM! Look at my body, praise the change in my body – you are literally forcing people to focus on how you look.
Listen, before I knew better, I was the one sharing the before and after photos, welcoming all the comments on my “achievement.” The reality was that the weight loss didn’t fix all my problems or issues, and I thought that if I put it out there to receive praise and commendation from others that I’d finally feel better about myself. And that right there is how you give your power away to other people.
I’d even do this on the sly by saying, “Well, I want people to be inspired by my story!” People can be inspired by lots of things but not by the disordered relationship I had with my body to achieve the after photo. I don’t want them inspired by the hell I created for myself. And, as it stands now, these B&A photos don’t inspire me – they actually make me feel worse about myself.
You will never hear me celebrate your weight loss or congratulate you on body changes, because that is the LAST thing I notice about you. And, if you happen to gain that weight back, you might just remember that I was the one that didn’t praise you when you lost weight. You know that I accept you, love you and see your worth regardless of the body changes you experience.
You are not a before and after.
You are MORE than your body.
You are worthy and lovable just as you are right now, no transformation required. None.