If you’re on Instagram and following a variety of health/weight loss accounts, then you’re probably already aware of a lot of weekly posting rituals. You’ve got the #mondaymotivation, #transformationtuesday, #wcw, #throwbackthursday, #flashbackfriday, #selfiesaturday. A lot of it appears to be around the idea of posting a photo of yourself and many of them comparison photos.
In the past few months, I have had multiple people criticize the concept of the side-by-side comparison. One person told me it was a reason they quit Weight Watchers®, others have announced they would unfollow your account if you posted any before/after (or then/now) photos, and many have moved towards an effort to try and get people to stop looking back, appreciate where you are right now and in the present moment.
Here are some of my own personal observations about this issue:
- I get the most engagement on any of my side-by-side photos (Instagram, Facebook, and Connect)
- Including comments, I tend to get a lot of new followers and friends that tag other friends
- I can recall that when I first started out my journey, I found a great deal of inspiration in following accounts where people shared transformation photos
Truthfully, I don’t think that a side-by-side means to put my former self down. The fact is, I am not the same person as I was before (inside or out). Being able to reflect on that, for me, is empowering and helps keep me motivated. I struggled for months (maybe years) trying to find a new “why” to keep me motivated. The truth was, I didn’t need a new why. I just wasn’t connected to all my why’s that got me in the door. I don’t want to go back to that old version of myself. I remember her all too well. She felt miserable, hopeless, self-conscious, unloveable, and undeserving of so much. When I look at her, I just want to hug her and reassure her that there’s a better life to come. Be patient.
And when I share my transformation photos with the world, I do so because I hope that it can help motivate or inspire the person that has a lot or over 100lbs to lose to know that it is possible. My journey was not quick. It was not easy. But, I did it and I thoroughly believe that if I can do it… anyone can!
For some, the comparison feels demeaning or in some way belittles or shames big people. And I do admit that the comparison culture can be an unhealthy slippery slope. But, I don’t think the intention is ever to fat shame or make people feel bad. I truly believe that we all get our motivation and inspiration from different sources and at different times in our journeys. You gotta go with what works for you and much like anything in life, you have to be aware of what’s no longer helping or serving you and make that decision to either keep scrolling or turn off those messages.