before and after photos
Self Love

Stop Comparing Yourself to “Before” Photos

When we undergo a change that has a big impact on our bodies, the first thing we tend to do is go back and look at old photos saying “gosh, I wish I still looked like that. I wish I was that skinny, I wish my hair was longer, I wish…” I do this, too, but this behavior is more than wistful or nostalgic. It’s detrimental to your mental heath.

Do You Actually Hate How Your Body Has Changed?

I recently came across a post from Terri Hofford, a boudoir photographer in Canada, where she mentored someone who wanted to look like she did before she had a baby. In the post, Terri talked about how unhealthy body image often doesn’t have anything to do with a body change; it has more to do with longing for something you lost.

Do you actually hate the weight you gained or are you using that because it’s a tangible object you can blame? What else has changed from your “before” photo that you’re missing now? Maybe you never have time to do your makeup anymore. Maybe you never get to go on dates with your significant other. Perhaps your showers have been cut to 5 minutes because the house will fall apart if you stay in there any longer, or you’re not able to make it to your favorite exercise class anymore. What else in your life has changed since your “before” photo that you need in your life?

You’re Still Amazing

You were stunning in your “before” photo, not because of how you looked but because of who you were. Are you the same person? Yes, and probably a lot stronger, more patient, more empathetic or more compassionate now (or insert your own adjective). Who have you become in your “after” photo and what has she accomplished? A whole helluva lot, I’ll bet. She had a baby. She beat cancer. She started a new relationship. She overcame something toxic and unhealthy. She got a new job.

You’re still stunning in you’re “after” photo. The way you feel right now probably has very little to do with how your body has changed. Take time to discover what else is different in your life and see if that’s led to a feeling of loss. And take time to discover what’s made you even better. Look at all the positive things that have happened since your “before” photo. Say them out loud. Right them down. Do whatever you need to do to make them as tangible as your body.

Your body is the only one you have, and it’s going to change. We need to learn to embrace those changes. If you want to work on changing how your body looks, that’s totally cool, but don’t hate the body you have right now. Self hatred isn’t going to get you anywhere, trust me, I’ve been down that road. It’s not fun, but you know what is fun? Self-acceptance, healing and self-love. Recognize that you’re just as much of a babe in your photos now as you were before!

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