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Poll: Do you think before-and-after weight loss pictures can be harmful?

A debate has opened up on social media.

(CW: Weight loss, weight gain, body image, dieting.)

WITH THE MONTH that it is, there’s been a lot of chatter on the topic of self-improvement, which seems intrinsically tied to weight loss for some. 

Come New Year’s, a frequently-made resolution is to join a gym, with the idea of losing weight. For a long time time, weight loss has been provided as the ultimate sign of personal progress among communities, particularly for women. With social media usage at an all time high, it’s only exacerbated the issue.

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Start your journey at www.thebodycoach.com (link in bio) 🔥 . . “I have to admit I was sceptical before starting the programme, but went for it as I was lacking any structure to my training. I started and gave up with so many other plans before starting the body coach! I loved the workouts by the time we were using weights in cycle three. When it came to the food I really enjoyed the low carb meals, they really helped me cut the weight and stay energised. Two low carb meals a day really worked for me. Stand outs were buffalo chicken bites with blue cheese salad and the low-carb beef lasagne. The plan has finished, really happy with my results, but I’m still keeping going with my workouts. I’d recommend to anyone to give it a go, you have nothing to loose!” 😊😊🔥🔥💪🏼💪🏼🙌🏻🙌🏻 #90dayplan #fitness #health #thebodycoach #workout #motivation . . Congratulations Phill 😊 You’ve absolutely smashed the 90 Day Plan 💪🏼 Looking fitter, stronger, healthier and leaner 🔥 Keep on winning mate 🙌🏽

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If weight loss is your goal, great! But that’s the thing – goals are very personal things, and by and large, what’s a priority for you isn’t going to be for the next person. There is an issue with how before-and-after pictures and the testimonials that often come with them tap into an ideology that their bodies are the ultimate problem.

Early last year, WW (formerly Weight Watchers), announced that it wouldn’t be using before-and-afters as part of its rebrand, calling it a move to promote weight loss as “a journey of health, with no beginning, middle or end”. Coming from a body like WW, who has previously been condemned for the way it deals with body image and weight loss, surely this speaks volumes?

That’s the argument from the body positivity movement, but what about the other side? Many would argue that ‘before-and-after’ photos aren’t a stick with which people should beat themselves with; rather, as a means to stay motivated and inspired. For some, before-and-afters can help you visualise your own goal. 

So, what do you reckon? Are before-and-after weight loss pictures harmful? Or are they grand?

Poll Results:

No - before-and-after pictures are a means of motivating people. (1330)
Yes - people can take 'before-and-after' pictures, but shouldn't post them on social media in consideration of others. (548)
Yes - nobody should be taking 'before-and-after' pictures. (106)

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