We have all seen them, the before and after photos. This could be from your friends weight loss journey, to your cousins gym weight lifting transformation but the ones I am going to be talking about today are the before and after photos from eating disorder recovery.
I have been guilty of posting these kind of photos in the past. When I had my old blog I would sprinkle the photos throughout my posts in hopes that it would validate my struggle to those reading it. At that time it felt like I had to post these photos to prove that I really had gone through the things that I was talking about as I thought that people wouldn’t believe me if I didn’t.
I stopped posting these kind of photos a couple of years ago when I saw that a campaign called “Boycott The Before” was going around on instagram and reading peoples captions made me want to do my own. Seeing all the photos and reading the captions of people that were going through the same things as me made me realise that my before photos were not helping me, if anything they were holding me back. Every time I looked at them I would get triggered by seeing the difference in my body from then to now. I feel like when people see before photos of somebody who may look slimmer than what they perceive themselves to be it can make them feel not poorly enough and can halt their own recovery process as they feel they don’t deserve the help. These types of photos also play into the stigma that eating disorders look a certain way and that the disorder is all about weight and shape when there is so much more to it than that. YOU CAN HAVE AN EATING DISORDER AT ANY SIZE!!
For all we know the after photo could actually be someone who is at the height of their struggles. The exterior does not show what is going on in someones head and we need to stop thinking that it does as this is what is keeping a lot of people in their struggles.
The fact of the matter is that my before photos have never shown the true struggles I went through. I had an eating disorder at my lowest weight and at my highest weight and the struggles were the same. I DESERVED RECOVERY AT BOTH OF THESE SIZES! The before photos had no significance to how Ill I was and they’d never show the true extent as to what was going on in my head. Another thing that before and after photos will never show is the struggle to get to the after photo and to me that gives a false representation of recovery being a linear process. Those photos don’t show me being hooked up to an ECG monitor weekly at the doctors, they don’t show me in my therapy sessions, nor do they show me getting aggressive and confrontational to those closest to me. Recovery is hard! It doesn’t take a few months to get from a before photo to an after one and I wish people were more honest about it. Recovery is the best thing that has ever happened to me but it was hard and no before and after photos will ever show how much my life has changed for the better.
I know that I have gone on to have a slight rant which isn’t what this post was originally going to be. I know some people do like to have these kind of photos to motivate themselves and their recovery which I do think can be a good idea if its for personal use and I also don’t mind seeing these photos if they are not extremely triggering but my issue comes with them when they are triggering and used in a public feed and I would just like people to think about if they are posting it to the right audience.
I am more than my before photos and so are you.