Have you ever seen photos of people before and after regarding their body changes? A photo of someone before represents what they don’t want to look like, and a photo to the right represents what they DO want to look like. I think the photo comparison is not necessarily a BAD practice. I think the intention is to celebrate someone. However, it has the potential to be harmful. It can market a superficial and transactional change. When in fact, the transformation required for change is usually invisible and cannot be documented by a picture.

The truth is, our bodies are beautiful and amazing period. Bodies are designed to heal despite the size. Bodies are designed to house our souls. Recently, I have heard that our bodies can be referred to as our earth suits. I loved this term, “earth suit”. The reality is, our culture can shame certain sizes of our “earth suits”. Being a PhD in Preventive Medicine, I studied for YEARS the science of our bodies and the various components that can lead to health and disease states. I am aware of the science. Yet our bodies don’t THINK in science, they feel and emote experiences. our brains are the ones that compute those sensations and sometimes, our brains get in the way:) Sometimes, due to the science and stories, we shame ourselves at certain body sizes. We shame or think the before picture is gross. Or distasteful or we don’t want to be that way EVER AGAIN. Shame in any form does not help with joyous or fruitful creation. Shame towards our body can be contagious in shaming our spirit, which is deadly. That shame in our spirit being deadly actually is proven in science.

What I want is for before and after pictures to somehow celebrate the transformation that happens within. Sometimes when our bodies change, we feel proud of the efforts that required those changes to happen. We are proud of the discipline, structure and actions as it took change and energy. We want to show off the outcomes. I LOVE celebrating peoples success yet what happens when those successes change. When our after picture goes back to the before. What could happen is more shame and it’s intense. Because we couldn’t maintain the “good after” we must be not good enough. And this story of not being good enough is typically subconscious and we are not aware of the thought pattern happening quietly in the background.

How can we celebrate transformation with a photo in this digital age? Im not sure yet…to be discovered.