I used to always look at "thinspiration" and "fitsperation" on the internet. I always thought that if I looked at pictures of smaller, thinner, more fit people that I would be inspired to stick with my diet and fitness plan. That It would help me finally lose the weight.
When in reality they just made me feel shitter abou tmyself and obsess about my food more. Now I see them as very triggering and problematic.
"Before and After" photos are a non-verbal way of selling weight-loss. Not health.
They contribute to the thin is better conversation.
These photos of people going from a bigger body to a smaller body is saying that smaller bodies are more desirable and should be the goal. It means that the body this person had before was not a body worthy of respect and praise. It needed to be changed and it needed to shrink.
This also perpetuate the false idea that everyone can control their weight and manipulate their body with the "right food or diet and exercise plan."
We all know comparison is the theif of joy and yet thse photos encourage us to compare ourselves to others. We will look at the picture, then at ourselves and see how we "measure up."
And often, this is done by so many well-intentioned health and fitness professionals. They use before and after photos to sell their products and services.
"Follow my diet plan and work out regime and you too could achieve this "after" photo body".
While I do not want to offend anyone who posts these types of pictures, I do want to bring awareness to what they actually represent.
These types of pictures do nothing but fuel our fatphobic and weight obsessed culture. It does nothing but perpetuate a disordered relationship with food and dissastifaction with our bodies unless they look a certain way.
These photos use the manipulation and shrinking of our body as a barometer of success.
What about the mental health of the person? Were they were engaging in healthful behavior and lifestyle changes to achieve that result.
were these "after" worthy results achieved through restriction and over exercising? Were they obsessing over every single bite of food they took or didnt take? Did they spend all day thinking about the bread they "shouldn't eat and the calories they need to burn?"
And what happens if another person did all the same things and didn't achieve the "after photo body." Did they fail and do something wrong? Are they not as healthy?
These photos tell us that health looks a certain way and is a certain body type. They tell us that certain bodies are attractive and certain bodies are not.
And they sell us the idea that once we have a smaller body we will be happier and healthier.
And I know from personal experience, that this is not true.