A few weeks ago, I posted a before-and-after picture of myself on Facebook. As much as I loathe the thought of posting half-nekkid pictures of myself in a public forum, let alone THE most public forum on the planet, I did it to show the world what was possible with the right nutrition, the right lifestyle and the right attitude:
As a side note, the fact that I was days away from turning 41 could’ve suggested that I was also experiencing the onset of a mid-life crisis. But I digress.
Within minutes of posting my pic, a flurry of comments poured in:
They were all so incredibly heart-warming and encouraging. And as far as Facebook posts go, the positive remarks served to measure my sense of self-worth and value in the world. (Isn’t that what Facebook is all about, anyways?)
Except it was all a big lie.
Don’t get me wrong: those pics are real. That is my body. Unedited. Unaltered.
It’s just that I took both pictures within 10 minutes of each other.
This was a social experiment inspired by an Australian personal trainer who took her before-and-after pics 15 minutes apart, simply by performing a few clever tricks with her clothes, posture, hair, and some tanning lotion:
When I saw what she did, I thought to myself, could I pull that off, too?
I put on the tightest pants I could find, slouched my shoulders, and stuck out my belly. And then a few minutes later, changed into something that didn’t cut my crotch in half, stood tall with shoulders back and chest out, stuck my hips to the side for a little sass, and flashed a smile.
Instant fat loss.
The truth of the matter is, this is way more common than you think.
The fitness and beauty industry alters, edits, and fakes before-and-after pictures all the time. And just to prove a point, here is a clip from the documentary, Bigger, Stronger, Faster, in which photographers confess to all kinds of dishonest shenanigans, such as taking before-and-after photos on the same day, and blatant photoshopping:
My whole experiment was originally intended to be a raging rant against the fitness industry, and how it has maliciously perpetuated unrealistic body image standards for all of humanity.
But what started off as a politically-charged expedition, turned into a surprisingly poignant lesson in self-love.
Before I posted my picture publicly, I unveiled the picture and confided privately with a few girlfriends, and one of them wrote:
Love it!!!!! AND YOU HAVE AMAZING ABS, MINA!!! I can’t believe this…. Unreal how this can be the same body.
And that’s when it hit me.
It is the same body.
‘Cuz even though I’m the girl on the right, I usually feel like the girl on the left most of the time.
What I learned from this whole experience is that given the right sprinkling of self-respect and confidence, I can choose to be the girl on the right everyday. All it takes are three really simple strategies that don’t require starvation, deprivation, diet pills, or a lifetime of ab crunches:
- Smile. You’ll be amazed how a bright smile can make you look happier, younger, and healthier.
- Be proud and stand tall. Posture makes a world of difference in how you look. It can portray confidence, self-assuredness, and … um… ahem … smooth out your muffin top.
- Wear clothes that flatter your body. Listen, honey, I don’t care if you’re a size 2. If you try to squeeze into a double zero, you bet you’ll create bulges that didn’t exist otherwise. Your body shape is yours to love and appreciate. Fit it well, and you’ll look and feel your best.
The big picture is this: Love yourself. Love your body. There’s no point in trying to fit into someone else’s ideal, ‘cuz it was all photoshopped and faked anyways.
Speaking of loving yourself… See those jeans I’m wearing in the first pic? Those are my own jeans. Like, yep, from my own closet.
Why I’ve kept them for so long (and why I even bought them in the first place) is a mystery to me. Those jeans have got to be the greatest example of self-loathing I’ve ever seen. Seriously, though. I need to throw them out, pronto. They ain’t doing nobody a favour.
So smile, stand tall, and wear clothes that love your body. In my opinion, it’s the fastest 5 pounds you’ll ever lose.
In health & high heels,
Did you like this article? Like me, link me, tweet me, and share the love! Or reply in the comments below: Are you holding on to a piece of clothing that is doing your body injustice? What changes are you going to make to help flatter your body today?