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When I started my food freedom coaching business, I knew I needed to show people my credibility, like how I beat binge eating and food addiction. But how do I show that? How do you share evidence of a transformation that incredible? 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 show my “old” body. But there’s something else.
Before and after photos are kind of bullshit.
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. Extreme weight loss shows prop women up on an industrial-sized scales in awkward sportswear. To see someone so stripped down and vulnerable is absolutely riveting, even if it's for the wrong reason.
The marketing side of me thought, You have to show before and after photos! People love that!
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. How about some compassion? How about some revelry?
The body I’m in today is not the one that got me here.
It wasn’t this body that went on those long runs. My before body 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 peaceful state I'm in now.
The before girl, she is so incredible. 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, yes, I will show off my before and after photos. But I want to be very, very clear. I love before. I love her. And she’s still inside of me, finally resting after busting her ass for 10 years.