Not a before photo

Friday, July 1, 2016 Permalink

I mentioned the other day that – for various reasons – I’m trying to do something about my weight. Again. I feel unfit and comfortable and… well, it’s time.

So naturally it occurred to me that I needed to take my ‘before’ photo. 

You know the kind… a picture in which I look fat, frumpy and miserable to later compare to a less fat and frumpy pic, in order to reflect on my ‘progress’.

Don’t get me wrong – I completely get why people do it. Indeed I’ve done it many-a-time, but as I set my computer to take a delayed selfie I wanted to shout…

I AM NOT A BEFORE PHOTO!

A ‘before’ photo is the evidence of our failure. It’s the messy room, the old un-renovated house, it’s something needing work.

And while I am a work in progress (and will continue to be so until I toddle off to the farm to join my dad and childhood dogs) I’m still someone who also deserves respect and their place in this world.

not a before photo

Given my long dieting history, I’ve got lots of before and after photos. Indeed – ironically – some of my ‘after’ photos eventually come ‘before’ photos. #sadbuttrue

So – while I don’t begrudge others’ need to visualise their progress or remind themselves of their ‘journey’ – please someone yell at me if I start doing the ‘before and after’ thing! Remind me there is not ‘before and after’, just then and now.

How do you feel about the ‘before’ photo?

I’m flogging my blog With Some Grace today.

38 Comments
  • Denyse
    July 1, 2016

    I love this sooooo much! I’m here for you 1000% anytime for a chat/vent as a person who is JUST now at 66 liking herself. That’s it. Im a W I P too! Much love D

    • Debbish
      July 1, 2016

      Thanks Denyse. I love the WIP idea. No one’s ever perfect or doesn’t need improvement. We should realise that but I realised I hated the idea of seeing myself as some project. (Even if I am!)

  • Raych aka Mystery Case
    July 1, 2016

    I’m hear for you too. I think before photos can be a good way for some to keep a visual record of their achievements and to help keep them motivated. To me they are a lot like scales. Kind of put you in a bad mood and off your game. I think you need to find what works for you in terms of motivation. For me it measuring weekly and a pair of jeans that were too tight to start with.

    My latest blood tests now have me borderline for diabetes. Only need the next test to confirm. I think the weight gain from current meds is at play. I have 10 weeks before the next test. I don’t think the thyroid issues will allow me to lose weight but I’m going to have a whole lot of fun trying. I’m sure an improved diet and getting back to daily walking has to help.

    • Raych aka Mystery Case
      July 1, 2016

      lol I’m also here for you. Can you tell I’ve only had an hour of sleep in 48 hours?

    • Debbish
      July 1, 2016

      My biggest problem with before photos relates to the self-hatred that goes with them. I think that only comes with being really overweight rather than thinking you may need to lose a few kilos or pounds.

      Sorry to hear your health problems are continuing. I’m fairly luck as – other than some autoimmune diseases I’m mostly okay. Given my unhealthy diet and exercise, I really don’t deserve to be!

  • Michelle Weaver (@pinkypoinker)
    July 1, 2016

    I’d rather have a photo of what I want to look like. The before photos are usually of a very unsmiling person aren’t they. Enjoy your walks. I desperately need to start doing that too.

    • Debbish
      July 1, 2016

      I once had some photos of things I aspired to do. Like cross my legs, or bend over without my stomach being in the way of my legs etc… I hoped they were aspirational but suspect I stopped really ‘seeing’ them after a while. The likelihood of me being like that just didn’t seem realistic.

  • Janet Camilleri (@middleagedmama1)
    July 1, 2016

    When I lost 5kg in 2014, I didn’t even think of before or after pics. But funnily enough, I did stumble across a photo of myself wearing a swimsuit – and then one 12 months later – and I was flabbergasted by the difference! Alas it has all come back but I’m working on getting the motivation to get moving again! (You can see it here: http://www.middleagedmama.com.au/one-year-weight-loss/)

    • Debbish
      July 1, 2016

      The last proper diet I did was the Michelle Bridges 12WBT and we HAD to document our progress and do pics. I lost 19kg in the first 3mths and only about 5-6kgs in the next round but have to admit it was still pretty hard to tell the difference at times.

      My mum lost weight last year and had a lot of concerned comments. She was surprised as she hadn’t really noticed a difference, but looking at old photos recently (when she was culling them) helped her remember how much she had lost (and when you’re only 70-80kg, 10kg or so is a lot!).

  • Eva @ The Multitasking Woman
    July 1, 2016

    To be honest, I wouldn’t purposely go and take a before photo for the sake of it, too much pressure! I think it’s just nice to look back when you know you have achieved something. I am more a person that goes on the way my clothes fit than looking at photos.

    • Debbish
      July 1, 2016

      I worry I’m a bit too much of a ‘tell me I’m doing okay’ kind of person and need that external validation so REALLY want this to be about me feeling better about myself Eva!

  • Rita @ View From My Books
    July 1, 2016

    Understood! My Mom used to say hurtful things to me like, “Oh you look good now. Did you lose weight?” I took it to mean I didn’t look good before when I was heavier. Does some extra weight mean less respect, less attractive, less worth? She’s passed now so I won’t hold a grudge, but she struggled with weight issues herself off and on, so you think she would have been more tolerant.

    So… we don’t need to see a photo of you now “before” so that we can make similar comments (as my mother did) when you lose some weight. I totally understand. Good luck!

    • Debbish
      July 1, 2016

      Ah yes… I read an interesting piece recently (can’t remember where) and it talked about the perception of those who were overweight and underweight – both felt others were prejudiced about them. However the same article published a survey asking women if they’d prefer to be a bit overweight or a bit underweight / very overweight or very underrweight and – unsurprisingly… the participants much preferred being too thin rather than too fat.

      PS. We sometimes denigrate others to feel better about ourselves and I wonder if that’s what your mother was doing…

  • Jess
    July 1, 2016

    Well said! I love this! Xx

  • sanchthewriter
    July 1, 2016

    I must confess before and after photos helped me lose weight and was quite motivating. I liked looking at them as ‘progress pictures’. I do get where you are coming from however!

    • Debbish
      July 1, 2016

      I think it’s about seeing the current you (the before) photo in a negative way and that’s what gets me.

  • Kate W
    July 1, 2016

    I’ve never done a before and after photo but that’s probably because I have rarely gone on specific diets that have a ‘start’ day – I tend to drift into (and out of) periods of being healthy and not-so-healthy. My benchmark is always jeans – I have jeans in various sizes and know where I am depending on which ones I’m wearing.

    • Debbish
      July 1, 2016

      That’s a good idea and sounds very mentally and physically healthy Kate!

  • Jo
    July 1, 2016

    Oh my God, Deb!!!! I love that more than I can say “I am not a before photo.” It could just be my new mantra…can I borrow it?

    • Jo
      July 1, 2016

      I forgot to say, we are absolutely works in progress & an after photo to me is an impression of some sort of perfection as opposed to progress. I like to leave the past where it belongs.

      • Debbish
        July 2, 2016

        Exactly… I think it implies something that’s not good enough and needs work.

    • Debbish
      July 2, 2016

      It’s all yours Jo!

  • toniazemek
    July 1, 2016

    I couldn’t agree more, Deb. There is just “then and now” – well said. I need to pop this on a post-it and stick it to my mirror. I’ve been going through old photos lately and, all of a sudden, I feel 100yrs old! I must remember that was then and this is now. Great post!

  • MyBlissPoint
    July 3, 2016

    That last line is brilliant! Just then and now.

    • Debbish
      July 3, 2016

      Thanks… I realised that as I was writing it. That’s all it is…

  • Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    July 3, 2016

    I’m not much into before and after either. I’m actually not even into then and now if the truth be known. I’m just into positive forward movement. No looking back, just looking forward. So it’s more “onward and upward” for me.

  • kimbacaffeinate
    July 3, 2016

    Love this! Well said my friend! I am more about being the best I can be today.

  • Vanessa
    July 4, 2016

    Health fluctuates throughout our lives. I think before and after fit well into the narrow world of dumb scam diets and not reality.

  • yinyangmother
    July 5, 2016

    Agree Deb – just the then and now. And definitely I relate to the times in the past when we thought that we looked fat/frumpy/old only to realise later when we are older (well of course) and perhaps frumpier that we actually looked pretty darn good. In teaching yoga I always tell students that we don’t have good or bad sides (because when it comes to balance/flexibility we are rarely symmetrical), just left and right sides.

    • Debbish
      July 6, 2016

      Oh yes Kathy. I look at pictures from when I moved here… I’d lost 25kg doing the Michelle Bridges thing and was going to the gym a lot. But… I wanted (and needed) to lose more weight. That feeling of dissatisfaction means I ended up gaining 35+kg and I realise I looked fine back then.

  • Grace
    July 6, 2016

    My gym does before photos. I find them rather futile because for me, it’s not how I looked before but how I feel. And it’s taken me ages to get to that realisation. I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been but I’ve run 2 half marathons in 2 months and feel amazing. I don’t need a before photo.

    • Debbish
      July 6, 2016

      Grace, that’s wonderful and what a great approach! (You, not your gym, I mean!)

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