What your before-and-after “progress” photo would say if you didn’t caption it

What your before-and-after “progress” photo would say if you didn’t caption it

Ok; let’s just say I am utterly sick of women posting their “progress” photos that they claim are not about weight loss, but are about “health,” as they then stand their in a sports bra, frowning in the “I-love-myself-here-and-am-still-proud” bullshit photo and a huge smile on their faces in the “but-I-love-myself-here-more-actually” bullshit photo.

You know what? It’s not even the damn photo that is infuriating; it’s the fact that the captions are straight-up lies. I said what I said. The captions. are. lies. You are not showing us a picture of your “fat” vs “skinnier” self to make some kind of point about health. Let’s be real, workout-version-of-Karen — you want us to see that you lost weight because you need to feel validated and/or because you are trying to sell the internet an overpriced shake when any person with a brain understands that replacing food with ANY LIQUID will result in weight loss brought to us by explosive diarrhea.

Let’s pretend those photos of yours ARE NOT captioned with the “healthy lifestyle” line of crap. What would they say…?

I’m not happy with myself, but tell me that I look great so I can try to believe it. Let’s pretend, just for a few seconds, that I am happy with myself and that I do not require any validation from the internet. Now that we are done pretending, please leave a comment about how great I look to which I will reply “Aww thanks but you didn’t have to say that!” even though that is the whole point of this post. Y’all know the captions that read “I’m not fishing for compliments; I just want to inspire others!” Yet, the comments are not turned off, and every “wow girl you look great!” and “you go girl — can’t believe you just had your second baby!” comment is met with a “like.” Let’s get something straight; if you were not fishing for compliments, the comments would be turned off. Look — we all need a little encouragement sometimes. Instead of hiding behind the “I don’t need any compliments” crap, be honest and let this “tribe of women” you so adore lift you up.

You’re probably comparing yourself to me right now by lifting your shirt up, looking in the mirror, and feeling badly about how you still didn’t lose the last five pounds of baby weight, and that’s okay — I feel much better when others are not as fit as I am. It gives me confidence to think that I am better than you. I honestly do not care about inspiring you; I just want you to feel bad so I can then feel good. Women comparing their bodies to other female bodies is not new with the advent of social media. It’s taken place for as long as any of us can remember. Barbie is that skinny bitch we received as children. Movie stars and women in magazines appear to have the perfect body. We know the end result: Most of us feel badly about ourselves even if it’s just momentary. See, the thing is, is that you aren’t bound to the lights and fame of Hollywood within your little world on Instagram and other social networks. You do not *have* to post these photos of yourself. But you do…and in some twisted way, it makes you feel better about yourself.

I am here to show you that if you cannot lose all of the weight you gained over the holidays or as a new mom, you’re doing something wrong. Look at me; I lost it all! If you aren’t losing weight, it has nothing to do with the fact that all bodies are different. You just aren’t committed and make excuses. Get up and workout at 4 am if you have to, but don’t complain when you still have flab and cellulite. I eat avocados, low fat cheese sticks, and some form of eggs for all of my meals. I hate it, but don’t tell anyone. Every single body is different. People carry weight differently. We have all seen those photos where ten women all weigh 150 pounds, but all of them carry that weight differently and in different parts of their bodies. It’s truly unfair to say that women don’t look like society’s definition of “fit” or “in shape” because they are carrying around extra weight from enjoying foods they love or bearing multiple children. You are not living up to “women supporting women” when you say “no excuses.” Bitch, please: I had my stomach cut open while I was awake and watched my boobs swell to the size of cantaloupes on steroids. I lived in Snuggie for a month because pants and shirts weren’t working out after my C-section and trying to breastfeed a kid around the clock. If that’s not an excuse to sit in a chair in lieu of lifting weights during the two hours I actually get to sleep, maybe we aren’t cut out to be friends.

I really want you to buy this shake, so I’m gonna go ahead and tell you that this is the ONLY shake that will make you look this good. I will not tell you that I skip breakfast, eat lettuce without dressing for lunch, and enjoy plain eggs for dinner. There are probably over 100 different shakes out there, but forget about them. I also refuse to acknowledge that replacing foods with any kind of liquid results in weight loss. It has to be this specific shake. Buy my shake. Buy my shake now. I need you to buy it so I can hit an arbitrary goal in a business I will probably quit next month. I don’t think that this one requires much explanation, but listen — maybe some shakes taste better than others. Some shakes have fewer grams of sugar than others. Some contain more protein, more vitamins, etc. But make no mistake that people posting before-and-after photos and claiming it’s because of a miracle shake are just trying to sell you something. Don’t fall into the trap. I have fallen into the trap many, many times. Always remember that there’s money to be made when it comes to these photos.

I value bodies that look more in-line with society’s standards of “perfect” and “skinny.” Yeah, I know pizza is good and cookies are great, and I get to enjoy them whenever I want! Any by “whenever I want,” I mean 3-4 times a year during celebrations. But…what’s that quote that everyone hates? Oh! “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” That’s right — not even Nutella. I may have been enjoying dinners out with my husband and ice cream dates with my kids and boardwalk fries on family vacations in the photo on the left, but don’t let that fool you. I enjoy crying in silence over food guilt so I can look the way I do in the photo on the right. I value looking thin over having an enjoyable life. Let’s clear something up, ladies: Eating pizza on a quarterly schedule is not “food freedom.” Buying low-carb ice cream is not “food freedom.” Cooking a spaghetti squash and pretending to pass it off as “pasta” while the rest of your family enjoys a big ol’ dish of carbs is not “food freedom.” You cannot claim body positivity if you aren’t allowing yourself to eat foods you enjoy and accept yourself as beautiful regardless of the number on the scale.

This year, I challenge you to make a New Years resolution that doesn’t involve lying on Instagram captions for validation purposes. Do us all a favor.

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