Why I HATE Before & After Photos

If you follow any weight loss and fitness groups or individuals on any social media then you’re often inundated with progress shots and transformations. The Instagram fitness guru is blasting these photos all the time to try and get you to spend the $30 ebook on how they did it (and now you can too!) and these photos are effective promotional materials. Now I don’t hate this because I’m jealous, or feel like I’ll never be able to post a #TransformationTuesday picture, I hate it because the photos are so, so manipulated.

The before and after pictures are usually one of the following two different options:

The before photo shows a subject standing in an unflattering way, wearing unflattering clothes, and looking stern/depressed/face covered. The photo screams “I HATE MY BODY”. The after photo shows the subject standing straight, flattering clothes, and they are breathing in for added bonus. Taken on separate days. The first photo is usually a social photo that was chosen because it was the most unflattering.

The second option is when the photos are taken on the same day. The subject pushes their gut out, sits their pants underneath any stomach lines to enhance it, slouches, and puts a sad face on. The after photo shows the subject in the exact same clothes, but the pants have been pulled up, standing straight, shoulders back, smiling, and once more breathing in for good measure, usually captioned with “ask me how I lost these 5 kgs”.


Now, I don’t want to take anybody away from their achievements. It’s a bloody good job well done, and congratulations on having the dedication to achieve your goals. I just can’t fathom the need to make the illusion of MORE loss by breathing in and changing the way your body sits to make everything look that much better. Something about it sits a little strange for me. Something about it seems a little dangerous. I was recently scrolling on Facebook and I saw the first option. The girl was standing and sucking in so hard it defeated the purpose of the post – and I think it sends a dangerous message – that our achievements aren’t good enough. The hard work we’ve just done isn’t good enough. That our body the way it is, just isn’t good enough.

Personally, my favourite kind of transformation photo is the before photo being a random social event, and the after photo being a random social event. Pieced together – no extra posing, no thought about how it looks. Just looked down at a photo one day and went “Holy shit! I did it!”

Maybe I’m wrong, what do you think?


4 thoughts on “Why I HATE Before & After Photos

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