As important as all the research I did before having weight loss surgery was (I’m ‘almost OCD’, especially about researching surgery!), pouring over every bit of inspiration I could find was equally important…especially those ‘Before’ and ‘After’ pics (thank you to those that shared them).
The same way that you thought you would never be someone who was even considering weight loss surgery?…let alone having had it?!…well, it seemed even more unlikely to me that I’d ever be one of those ‘Afters’ (I’d tried everything, but that’s for stories to come).
I had to muster every bit of courage I had to take those ‘Before’ photos…I knew that one of the biggest steps I had to take in starting my journey was to really start seeing myself as I was, and a good place to start was with photos.
Let’s face it, we obese people are adept at avoiding mirrors. Ask us to produce photos of ourselves? Well, we’ve got advanced degrees in avoiding cameras, being only behind them (I have whole family vacations you’d never know I was on), throwing semi-small-children-even-better-when-they’re-teens in front of us, and jutting our multiple chins forward in hopes that one will magically disappear!
And what the heck people?!…when you’re on a weight loss surgery website and you put up a headshot/avatar of yourself that looks like someone on scaffolding was taking it from above, well, remember (LOL), we are your people!…we all know that trick too (and if I knew how to Photo Shop, I’d have my degree in that).
Of course, I’m just blonde enough to ask my husband to take those ‘Before’ shots of me (that’s another horror story…tip for blondes: most cameras’ have a timer).
Looking back, I think I was unconsciously afraid of what I was going to see if I had to take the pics. It took me months to even look at them, but it’s also one of the things that has helped me the most to get to where I am today. It was the beginning of one of the things I talk about the most now…AWARENESS. I found out that I had somehow gotten severely obese without being truly aware of it…I was in denial and was unaware of how I really looked (more about my BDD another time).
After that, I took pics at some other milestone weights, and I can tell you that I wish I’d taken them more often. The photos help keep you positive and inspired when the scale slows down or plateaus for awhile…they’ll help you to start seeing what others are already seeing…changes for the positive.
So here’s my first piece of advice: While you’re out here doing all your research, grab that camera (set the timer) and take those ‘Before’ shots. You don’t even have to look at them until you’ve lost some weight…and by then, I promise you, I swear to you, you’ll actually be GLAD you took them…especially when you’re an ‘After’!
Now…on to something that’s still hard for me to share…my “Before’s”. It’s very easy to share an ‘After’, but it still takes me a lot of courage to share the ‘Before’. For me, it’s a photo that represents all those things I hated about my obesity, and I’m not just talking about my physical appearance.
The harder thing about those “Before’s” is that behind my eyes I can now see just how miserable I was, how much my body hurt, how defeated I felt from all the dieting, how desperate I felt, how out of control of my eating I was, and how low my self-esteem was when it came to my weight. It took me long after I was an ‘After’ to share all my ‘Before’ pics (and my readers had to bribe me to do it)…but I know first hand that you really can’t appreciate the ‘After’ without the ‘Before’ (I hate just seeing the beauty shots someone shares that leaves me wondering where they started).
Now you know one piece of my ‘paying-it-forward’ advice…I hope this inspires someone to take those pics, and to share them some day…you never know whom you might inspire!