The Before and After Picture

If someone were to Google “eating disorders”, or more specifically “eating disorder recovery” they would find thousands of images of tiny, emaciated girls and women. Exposed rib cages, a girl slouched over with her spine almost completely visible beneath her translucent skin. And then, sometimes, there is an additional image next to it. A girl who is “weight restored” and smiling, laughing even. #recovery #bodypositivity

I respect everyone’s journey through any eating disorder and the unique factors that go with that individual. But what I refuse to respect is the damage that sharing before and after (eating disorder) pictures does. It is extremely objectifying and it aids almost every stereotype surrounding ED. It promotes the idea that everyone struggling with anorexia or bulimia or EDNOS will be utterly skeletal at their worst. In no way does body size indicate how badly someone is suffering. And the straight out truth of the matter is that the majority of people affected by eating disorders will never embody the image of the anorexic girl that you so often see in health text books, google images, and even irresposible private blog and Instagram accounts.

I can not help but become angry when everything I am trying to prove in my writing gets counteracted. Disordered eating is rooted in thought. How someone feels after a meal, before a meal, during a meal. The deep feelings of not only physical inadequacy but just thinking that who you are isn’t enough. ED does not live in this revolting image of a high school girl wearing a tight pink T-shirt and proudly proclaiming that she is on a new fad diet. ED lives in the girl who carries a sadness in her expressive eyes. ED lives in the boy tired of feeling worthless. ED lives in the abused and torn down. ED is a hiding place… NOT a number on a scale, a pants size, a BMI. NOT rib cages, pelvic bones and spines. Even though those things can happen, a number drops or rises, the CONSTANT association can rob a very sick person of their ability to get better because they do not believe they are “sick enough”.

Although seemingly inspiring, before and after pictures are a dangerous association, one that I will not take part in. My weight is for the concern of my doctors and is not a measurement of my success in recovery. Throughout my blog I may discuss health issues but that is in attempt to show how, when trying to achieve an allusive physical image, things can go horribly wrong. I want to see your success through happiness, self expression, passion, and healthy love. I mean it when I say to you, your body size means absolutely nothing to me.

~Liv

PhotoCredits: Me

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4 thoughts on “The Before and After Picture

  1. This is such a huge and important issue and I’m glad you are speaking out on it. Someone close to me told me my eating issues couldn’t be as bad as someone else he knew because “I’m not that skinny, and she was always too thin.” I think those comments are even more damaging.

    Liked by 1 person

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