When I started my food freedom coaching business, I felt I needed to show people my credibility in binge eating and food freedom. But how do I show that? How do you show evidence of a transformation that means so much inside of you. This paralyzed me for months – because I knew what I needed to do. I needed to show before and after photos.
This topic gets me all fired up. Because it makes me feel incredibly vulnerable to think about showing my “old” body. But not because I don’t like the old me.
It’s because before and after photos are kind of b.s.
So let me tell you what I really think about before and after photos.
Before and after photos are used as a tool to shame people. A before photo is almost always a “gross” look at someone’s slob-life before. It’s a photo of a woman who looks lazy and depressed. Weight loss TV shows prop women up on an industrial-sized scales in awkward sportswear. And to be honest, it can be riveting. To see someone so stripped down is absolutely attention grabbing, even if it is for the wrong reason. The marketing side of me thought – you have to show before and after photos. People are moved by that! They love to see someone who used to be “fat” come out the other side.
But I didn’t bust my ass to free myself from body shame and food addiction to just use the typical “before/after” ploy. It’s cheap.
So instead of looking at before and after photos laughing and pointing at how bad she looked before – how about some compassion? How about some revelry in her strength? Here’s how I see my before/after photos.
The body I’m in today, this body is not the one that got me here. It wasn’t this body that went on those long runs. The hard runs made you double over and cry, because taking your identity back, that’s had stuff. My before body is the one that did the hard work.
My before body woke up every day and moved forward, making one decision after another to fight her way back to being in love with life.
It was my before body – the one with excess fat, heavy shame and so much fear that brought me to this happy state of peace I am in.
The before girl – she is so incredible. She is so strong. She felt the sting of people calling her thighs “blubber.” She heard the callous remarks of guys saying, sure she’s got a nice personality but she’s chubby.
But she fought and won anyway.
I’m more in love and impressed with my before self. It’s not hard to work out and go on a diet when you don’t feel horrible, heavy and sad. But in spite of that, I did it. I lost weight, I gained strength, I released myself from so much bullshit that was not serving me.
I was the bravest I have ever been in my life.
So next time you see a set of before and after photos. Take a hard look at the hero in the before photo.