The Problem With Before And After Photos
Recently I received a notification on Facebook that I'd been tagged in a photo. I clicked the notification and found a picture of myself that I never knew existed. I tried very, very, VERY hard to delete and erase EVERY photo of myself at my heaviest weight because I was ashamed of the way I looked. I was convinced that people would judge me for my weight and I did everything I could to delete that part of my life.
Looking back, I wholeheartedly regret my decision to attempt to erase that time in my life. I regret spending so much time and energy caring about what others thought about my weight and I primarily regret feeling ashamed of the way I looked.
When I look at this picture, I feel a lot of things but surprisingly, embarrassed isn't one of them. This is me at a time in my life when I was doing everything I could to simply get out of bed. I was trying to survive the unimaginable, sudden and tragic loss of my younger brother and figuring out how life goes on without him. I don't regret gaining weight and surviving that first year.
Okay, here’s my issue with these ‘inspiring’ before & after photos – we’re acting like something is wrong with us in the before photos and it’s saying that it’s unacceptable to look anything but the “after” photos.
Newsflash: Even after I lost the weight, my life didn't magically change. I was still incredibly unhappy because I hadn't found the thing that made me feel happiest in my skin. Eventually I found it – running. It makes me feel as I'm always working towards something. I feel strong, empowered, and confident in my US size 8-10 frame. I can run a marathon fast AF and I no longer spend my time trying to look a certain way so that I can be desirable for someone else.
If you want to make a change -- go for it! I'll be the first to stand beside and cheer you on. But if you love the way you look and feel, then keep doing what you're doing because you're already living your best life.
This isn't a "before" and "after" picture. It's simply me in two different stages in my life. Neither is more "beautiful" or "better" than the other, they are both simply me.
Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.