Let it be known, that still to this day, I will look at before and after photos of women and for a moment think WOW! I wonder what she did to lose that weight?!
Yep. This diet ditching, body positive, food freedom girl still gets sucked in by the marketing that is before and after photos.
It is nearly impossible not to! (Except for those ones where it is obviously two different people.)
If you’ve been around these parts for a while, you’ll know that I used to be really restrictive about what I ate, which was all driven with the desperation to be skinny.
My weight yo-yo-ed for what felt like my whole life, I was very extreme with food. It was all or nothing. Super clean and perfect or the complete opposite of that. Pretty much constantly swinging between on a diet and off a diet.
(Note: the term “diet” doesn’t just refer to the classic fad diet, it includes any kind of self inflicted rules around food or attempts to control food or portion sizes.)
Even though I kept gaining and losing weight repeatedly (which caused me a lot of embarrassment), it didn’t quite click that this way of living and eating wasn’t working. I had always blamed myself for gaining the weight back after a diet.
That was until I went on the biggest restriction ever (cleverly disguised as a detox, just so you know) which resulted in my biggest weight gain EVER. I got the message loud and clear. This wasn’t working.
There are before and after pictures of people who have lost weight on a diet or eating plan, literally everywhere. But that’s not always the full story. Diet’s provide short term success, yes. But what about after the after? What about the long term?
Next time you’re tempted to go on a diet because of a before and after picture, remember this: it’s not just before and after, it’s before, after and after-after.
Here’s my story from a few years ago.
(Psst, the middle picture was taken backstage during a show, hence the heavy stage makeup!)
Even though it felt like the absolute end of the world at the time, it turns out gaining a lot of weight after being (unhealthily) skinny was the best thing ever. I had yo-yo-ed for the majority of my life but this was finally the wakeup call I needed.
I guess you could say I had to learn the hard way, but the good news is, there is an after-after-after. (Yep that’s 3.) It’s a place where you decide to let go of all that dieting shiz, you realise that the shape of your body doesn’t determine your worth and you discover the beauty that is food freedom. You stop obsessing about food, emotional and binge eating dissolves and as a sweet added bonus you lose weight without trying. Lose weight without trying. Now that is a sentence I never thought I’d say in reference to myself. (More of an explanation on that next time).
If you have just been on a diet and are in the after-after stage, aka the natural weight gain to occur after a diet, remember these 3 things:
+ You don’t have a willpower problem, you have not failed, you are not the problem. This is literally the way diets work.
+ Be kind to yourself, regardless of whatever shape or size you are. Stay on your own side. Be supportive to yourself.
+ There is life after dieting. You are not doomed. You can discover food freedom.
So for the love of doughnuts, next time you think of dieting (remember that means ANY kind of controlling food or following rules) remember the after-after. That is the real diet story.
Over to you, have you ever been on the full diet story journey? How did it make you feel?
Leave me a comment below.
P.S. If this is all sounding way too familiar and you’re feeling a little stuck trying to figure things out on your own, maybe you’d like some guidance? Check out how we can work together here. (While you’re there, book yourself in for a free 30 minute consultation.) I would love to guide and support you all the way to food freedom.