Saturday 25 July 2020

The Girl In The Before/After Picture - Body Positive Poem

Growing up as a “chubby” girl I was constantly told the root cause of all my pain and problems is my body and the only solution is weight loss. Like many girls & women before me I believed this to be true and made it my life’s mission.
Almost 10 years ago I lost around 22kgs. I finally became the ‘After’ I had grown up seeing in magazines and aspired to be. Most people were happy and praised my ‘achievement’. While others felt I can still lose a few more kilos. Physically, I was my lightest. But emotionally I was a mess. At my almost dream weight I was the worst version of myself. For years I believed that once I lose weight my problems will all go away and I will finally get to live my life. Not only did my problems not go away, I gained a whole lot more of them thanks to my crazy diets and workout routine. I was so obsessed with becoming thin, that in the process I ruined my health - physical and mental. I was almost thin but not at all fit and happy.

I am living proof that ‘Before’ and ‘After’ pictures are fake aspiration that do more harm than good. They capture the end result and not the journey. Worse is, they make you believe that a small thin body is better and more valued than a large big body.

We need stop putting value in Before/After body picture. An image can’t do justice to a person’s journey. The Before/After pictures celebrate physical transformation by making weight loss and thinness its focal point. In an era of body positivity, body acceptance and all bodies are good bodies, celebrating weight loss journey reinforces the inescapable message that thin is better, that health equals thinness, and that body and self love leads to (and maybe even requires) body shrinking.
Weight loss is an individual choice and achievement. We need to stop selling it as a universal goal and a cure to all our problems.
You are so much more than a ‘Before’ and ‘After’ body. - Amena