The Before & After Body

You know the”success” stories. Back in the day it used to be the occassional diet commercial on TV or article in a magazine. Now depending on what you subscribe to, it can be a full feed to scroll through on your social media. The images that prove it’s all “worth it.” The sacrificing, the constant thinking about food, the diet rules, the guilt, the punishing workouts.

The proof is in the picture, it’s the

“Before & After Body”.

We have seen these images so much I’m sure several can pop into your head as you read this. The “Before Body” portrayed via an unflattering picture. Maybe it’s a selfie in a bathroom mirror wearing ill fitting clothes. Just generally looking sad in a family or group picture. Or the *gasp* dreaded picture of the “Before Body” eating food. Thoughts are evoked with this saavvy marketing such as “oh wow that person looks really sad in the bathroom”. “They also look sad at that family gathering”. And “oh no, they were eating that food so that’s why their life and body is so miserable”. Thankfully just before we go all the way into the deep pit of despair we are saved by the “After Body”! Suddenly, that body is out living life. And not only living life, but living it’s BEST life. There’s a smile telling us that it is all good. Maybe we see the person now having fun at the family gathering, because you know, their body is smaller. There is definitely no picture of them eating food. They may be doing something active, finishing that 5K, frolicking on the beach, or at the very least, they are finally out of the bathroom.

This type of depiction not only perpetuates weight stigma , but it continues to feed our inherited narrative that we must make it into our “After Body” to live a life worth living. This if/then living can create such limitations to living that “best life” we are told to live daily, (mostly by IG influencers that are selling us something). If my body is smaller, then I can start dating. If my body is more toned, then I can get that yoga certification. If my pant size goes down, I’ll be able to ask for that promotion at work.

As a non-diet detitian, I see so many people put their life on hold waiting for that “After Body”. Cycling through diet after diet, they await the moment when they wake up and start living that life worth living. The problem with this of course, is that your life is now, not X pounds away.

What do you want to do today,

in this body?

I often ask clients to take a step back and examine, what does their “After Body” life promise them? Does that body enjoy running? Try a 5 minute, 10 minute, or 1 minute run/walk today. Is your “After Body” more confident? Perhaps you’ll challenge yourself today to give a stronger handshake, make more eye contact, or sign up for something that you typically wouldn’t. Does that body eat more homecooked meals? Look up a recipe today to try this weekend or sign up for a cooking class.

Take a moment to consider what your “After Body” has promised you and consider how you might live it today.

From the Heart,

Ashley