Before and after photos: motivational or damaging?

Let me tell you something about my problematic past when it comes to weight loss. Are you ready? I used to spend hours looking up before and after weight loss photos of people and used them as the ultimate motivation to lose weight. If this is something you spend your time doing, I urge you to stop because these before and after photos are so damaging to each and every one of us.

Now, you may say “but Srna, you’ve posted before and after photos of your own weight loss, aren’t you being hypocritical?”. You are indeed correct, such photos have been plastered on my blog and my social media platforms in the past, and I have no intention of hiding this fact. But hypocritical? That I wouldn’t quite agree on. See, in the past year I’ve dug deep into my relationship with weight loss, body image, and food, and I’ve grown and developed to an extent where I can clearly see how hurtful these images can be for myself, my loved ones, and for strangers on the internet.



Reasons why I’m vowing to never post before and after photos:


  • The notion that being skinny is better than being fat can very kindly (or not kindly at all) be thrown out the window. These images portray us in a way that suggests “hey, I was fat and sad, and now I’m skinny and happy”. Having been in those before and after photos, I can promise you that skinny does not equal happy, and fat does not equal sad.
  • Scrolling through before and after weight loss photos made me feel unworthy, and created so much loathing deep within my soul, that I felt like if I didn’t start a diet or a weight loss plan the next morning, I would be the ultimate failure. Yes, these photos “motivated” me to lose weight, simply by bullying me into feeling gross in my own body.
  • These images quite literally pin all of our human worth onto physical attributes. I’m so much happier not hating my body at its current size, than I was at my skinniest, desperately hoping to see one less pound on the scale.
  • My relationship with food was so wrecked when I preoccupied myself with these photos, that I’m still to this day working on mending it. Food is not, and never will be, the enemy. No entire food group is evil, and no diet plan will work for you long-term.


Things you can do instead of looking up before and after weight loss photos:


  • Fill your social media feed with the wonderful humans that spread body positivity, and body acceptance at every size. You can learn to love your body the way it is at this very moment, I promise you.
  • On the other hand, go ahead and get rid of any accounts that trigger you into disliking yourself. Self-hatred really isn’t worth the hassle.
  • Stand in front of the mirror and give yourself a compliment, no matter how hard it is to do so. Touch your curves in a loving way. Be gentle and kind to yourself.
  • Make yourself a meal filled with beautiful and nutritious fruits and vegetables. I refuse to believe that apples will make you fat, or that carrots have too much sugar. Indulge in the nutrients that these beauties hold, and nourish your body with them.
  • Do you feel like your body needs a certain food? Chocolate, pizza, chips? Have them, and know that you can have them whenever you would like. Adapting to this mindset will keep you from binging because you can quite literally have these items for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if you wish. Not restricting and listening to my body has been a life-changing journey for me.

What are your thoughts on this trend? Let me know in the comments below!



  1. My relationship with food and dieting is so up and down – sometimes I think that I should just be eating healthily and not looking at the scale and sometimes I think I need to just suck it up and actively try and lose weight to see some real progress. I always look at pictures of people who I want to look like, or try and lose weight to look like people I know. I know it’s damaging in the long run but in that moment it gives me incentive so I keep doing it.

  2. I had to unfollow so many accounts on instagram for this reason. Especially as their before photos tended to be skinnier than I have ever been. They can be so damaging. I’m definitely getting rid of anyone on social media who makes me feel like that about my body. Now I just have to work on the guilt associated with food.
    Beth x
    Mermaid in Disguise

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