The Before and After you weren’t Expecting…

Everyone loves a good transformation. I’m definitely guilty posting before and after photos after a recent weight loss. I don’t think I’m going to do that anymore and I wanted to explain why:

Back in 2020 I posted this as an update on my recent weight loss/health journey. I cringe now when I see this post. When people post a before and after photo, there’s a suggestion that the “before” is seen in a negative or a “bad” light. Let me tell you about that before girl.

That before girl just buried her Dad three weeks before this picture was taken. She had just given birth 3 months ago. The baby she had was going through some medical issues and had already had a few hospitalizations. She went back to work part time 3 weeks after her c-section to provide for her family. She gave up her maternity leave to keep her mom’s business running while her dad was losing his fight to lung cancer. Her family was barely making it paycheck to paycheck and deeply in debt. She had survived some of the most difficult months of her entire life and had just turned 23.

Now go ahead and tell that before girl she’s unworthy because of a number on the scale and the size of her dress. Tell her she doesn’t matter. Tell her she will just be some before picture some day and that’s all she’s worth.

The before and after photos don’t tell the whole story. They don’t define the person. You can’t see the changes I’ve made in just a snap shot. You can’t see the hard work and the sacrifices and the therapy sessions and the progress and the set backs. You can’t see me in this photo.

I had a moment a few weeks ago I was scrolling through my phone, I came across this picture on the left. It was taken in January of this year before I got pregnant. I sent it to my husband and my mom and my sisters, lamenting the body that pregnancy had taken from me and that I’d worked so hard for. I was certain when I snapped the picture on the left that would forever be my “after picture.” Boy was I wrong.

The picture on the right was taken last week, 9 months after the first one. The after picture has now become the before picture. Before I got pregnant, before my ankles swelled up to twice their size, before I got short of breath walking literally anywhere. I was mortified when I initially saw this picture of me with my mom, then I got to thinking.

This is such a small window of time in my life. This is possibly the last time I’ll carry a child. I can appreciate the body that has safely carried three babies thus far. I know now there really is no permanent before or after. My body will get bigger and smaller, my skin will clear up and break out again. My hair will be long and short. My C cups will surely return to A cups and back again. My stretch marks will fade and come back stronger with another pregnancy. There are so many more things to appreciate about my body and myself as a person than one single snapshot in time.

From here on out, I vow to never post “before and after photos.” I just am who I am. I just look how I look. I strive to nourish and take excellent care of my body. I strive to appreciate and respect my body. I know now that the before is never the before for too long and the after is also never the after for very long either. Neither is good, neither is bad. Both are worthy of love.

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10 Comments

  1. Linda
    September 11, 2022 / 12:56 pm

    Very well said.

  2. Denise
    September 11, 2022 / 12:59 pm

    We all know body shaming is wrong, yet our biggest critics are often ourselves! You’ve worked hard to accept who and what you are – don’t let some arbitrary ideal shape dictate your image of success. Cheers to you!

  3. dinnl
    September 11, 2022 / 1:03 pm

    Great post, Kalissa. Keep being you.

  4. Carolyn
    September 11, 2022 / 1:41 pm

    Acceptance is a journey!!!!

  5. Elle
    September 11, 2022 / 3:14 pm

    You are beautiful in both photos. Lucky boy shall be meeting you soon 🙂

  6. Glapha Cox
    September 11, 2022 / 5:39 pm

    Thank you for this. I lost weight a few years ago and was so proud of myself. Then some things happened and I have health issues now. I was feeling really down about myself. You helped me feel better.

  7. Lynda Breegle
    September 11, 2022 / 5:44 pm

    Love this so much!! Sounds as if you are in a good place emotionally, knowing who you are and what is important. I enjoy the stories that you and your mom post about your boys and am joining you in looking forward to meeting this next one. You’re a great Boy Mom!

  8. Vickster
    September 11, 2022 / 5:48 pm

    Be proud of yourself it what’s inside that counts and you carry quite a load and handle your goals very well.

  9. Carolyn
    September 11, 2022 / 10:48 pm

    You know what stays the same? Your awesome smile! Your happiness radiates through your face regardless of what size bra or pants you are wearing. You have been and always be a wonderful daughter and sister, a caring and loving wife and mother… nothing in a pictures shows your inner self, who you, how you act, But your radiating smile tells the world that you are happy and life is good (even if it is at that moment but not before or after the picture). Just be you!! I think we all see our own flaws… being physically fit is a good thing but it isn’t measured by size. The mom who mountain bikes with her husband and boys is fit! The mom who pushes her kids on the swings after walking to the park is fit! The mom who gets the laundry done and the house picked up is fit! The mom who jumps in when her family needs her is a valuable asset to all! Never underestimate your worth or value.

  10. Rosalie
    September 13, 2022 / 2:34 am

    Wow!
    Well said.

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