Not a Before or After or During

About a week into starting up my weight loss journey in earnest and I have to admit I feel better about it than I have in a long time. I am not doing this for a number on a scale or a size of pants. I am not doing this for anyone else. I am happy and at peace with my journey. It will take time to get strong and to feel light, but I already am starting to feel better. I feel hopeful.

I have to admit I have thought a lot in the past about taking the after pictures. I still do. I want to get nice pictures of myself celebrating my journey and my success. I know a lot of talented photographers. Something has changed though. I don’t even know if I want to post them online even to my social networks. I don’t want to end up as some fake before/after to sell pills or to be commented on when really it is not about getting attention and never has been (especially not from strangers). Moreover, I want those pictures for myself and my family and close friends to see.

I don’t define myself as a before, an after, or even a during. I am just me; trying to be the most healthy version of myself.

While before and after photos may be something positive for others, for me I don’t want those labels and think it would be counterproductive to my goals.

I have decided to step away from social media personally at least for now to focus on my goals, but I’m not sure I will even post my so-called after pictures online. I still use Pinterest and enjoy that, but for now I have suspended my Facebook. I already have found just a week in that I have a lot more time to devote to cooking and working out and I don’t feel such a need to check my phone. Since my weight loss is not about validation from anyone posting or not posting pictures will not matter. The end goal is to feel healthy, beautiful, and strong.

As a communications professional there is a certain amount of guilt not being on social media (especially to promote this blog), but it feels right for me right now and right timing wise as I build this blog, create art, and redesign my personal website for my art. I can easily do social media for work, but I am okay pulling back personally. I’d rather meal plan than pour over Instagram or Facebook. I do like Instagram to meet people and see nice photos, but I was getting so sick of fake follows (you know where they try to get you to follow them by following you or commenting…which of course they would unfollow you to falsely boost their numbers). As a strategic communicator I wish I could have a form letter sent to them that that is not how to actually build a successful brand, but more I just get annoyed and insulted. I don’t need that. What I need is more time taking care of myself.

I love before and after pictures. I do. They can be inspiring. The truth is though is they are just pictures and they don’t tell a whole story. Just like when you are in a plane and you look out and just see beautiful clouds and nothing below, you don’t know what is under that. Is it beauty and a good soul and a powerful triumph or is it an eating disorder? I see one photo passed around in particular in which the author has after come out that she did have an eating disorder. I am glad she was brave enough to come forward. Her before and after though still is out there without the context.

Truth is I am happy. I am working towards my career, my personal life, and my health. I look back at pictures of myself from before I regained this weight and I was beautiful. I truly think I was stunning, but I didn’t see it. I guess the silver-lining of gaining some weight back and needing to start over is that I will appreciate it all the more this time. Maybe there will be a big social media reveal, but at this point I’ve moved past that personally. There is nothing wrong with it. I just don’t dream of it like I did. Instead I just dream of the nice clothes I will wear, the races I will run, and the confidence I will have that I sadly lacked in the past. I look forward to being an even happier me at whatever weight that turns out to be.