A friend of mine sent me a picture of us at a con last year standing next to a Dalek (in case it’s not obvious). After I got the pic I made up this before and after picture to show the extent of my weight loss. I showed my new doc and the receptionist at her office. They were both shocked and said they never would’ve guessed that it was me in the before picture. I think it still looks like me and the people that have known me longer would agree. The photo on the right is one I posted to IG from a day I was having fun trying on clothes at Target.
The more I looked at this picture, the more thoughts came to mind. Before pictures are always staged. You put the person in ill fitting clothes with no make-up and tell them to look serious (or so it always seems). I feel like my before and after pics above look staged. The picture on the left isn’t the most flattering outfit I’ve ever put together, my arms behind my back are for who knows what reason that doesn’t read in the photo. The picture on the right has me wearing a more flattering neckline from the navy blue cardigan and I’ve got the hand on the waist thing going. And of course I have a less goofy face- which to me is always awesome. Goofy faces FTW!
Stepping back from these images, I can’t help but extract meaning. As much as we hate to admit it, what we wear communicates who we are, the things we like and a myriad of other mini stories about us. From a mainstream, un-accepting societal view, the subtext from the before and after above is: Weight loss = better, prettier, flattering and more of all the things. I personally don’t agree with that. I don’t believe a certain weight range based on your height makes you more good looking than any other weight. (Disclaimer: I’m not addressing eating disorders in this post.)
Someone promoting a diet or exercise routine would totally use the above picture as a way to exaggerate the outcome IF you use blah blah blah. The difference is very apparent. But of course I can’t stop there. I had to pull out one of my favorite pictures from my blog next to the newer picture: my skant pic! I love it and when I set up a new before and after it reveals more about how I actually feel about myself.
I really have no complaints about my body at any weight. I like how I look. Somehow, I’ve managed to not care about what anyone might have said or might be saying about my body because weight just doesn’t bother me. Yeah, there are things like back fat that I wish I didn’t have but I have that at any weight so I’ve learned to live with how I am. (Of course I have days when I don’t want to be me but for the most part I’m happy with the Leila I am.)
The big disclaimer on having no complaints about my body at any weight is that I have always wanted clothes that fit. That’s all. I don’t care about the size. I just want them to fit. Well fitting clothes make me feel better, too. I know I’ll be more comfortable if my pants aren’t cutting into my sides or if I can’t raise my arm in a top or dress. It’s all about fit for me. Cue the sewing machine.
Get the fit that’ll make you SMILE!
This before and after more accurately communicates of how I feel about myself. It says, “hey, this person leads a full, enjoyable life.” And, of course, it says that I love Star Trek.
How do you react to before and after pictures? Do you ever get annoyed about how staged they are? Do you have pictures of yourself wearing something you wish you never had worn or glasses that made you look like an owl? (yeah, that would be me!) What’s your internal monologue about these images?