Wednesday, 19 February 2020

The Trouble With “Transformation Tuesday”

Before AfterAcross social media I see people do “Transformation Tuesday” posts.  If you’re not familiar, this is actually code for “Weight Loss Tuesday” as people just post before and afters of their current body size manipulation attempt, and then other people who have bought into a fatphobic paradigm tell them how much prettier/younger/better they look now than they looked before.

People are allowed to do this (as long as the rules of the space they are posting in allow it.) But that doesn’t mean it isn’t harmful.

First of all, almost everyone who posts for TT is in the “honeymoon” period before the weight regain starts. The truth is that almost all of them will gain the weight back, many will gain back more than they lost.

I hear from so many people who are on the other side of this – having gained their weight back – for whom all that praise has become so much harm as they are reminded that their friends, family, and randos from that group they were in couldn’t wait to tell them loud and clear that they were better/healthier/more attractive when they were thinner. And then, of course, there are those who end up developing eating disorders and fighting for their lives. As more TT posts go up and garner “compliments” that reinforce sizeism, ageism, healthism, and ableism.

So as an alternative, I offer my Transformation Tuesday Story:

There was a time when I believed that I had to be thin to be healthy and happy. There was a time when I believed that smaller bodies were more beautiful, and that manipulating my body size was praiseworthy activity.  There was a time when I saw my body as “before” and celebrated the elusive “after” which, like almost everyone, ended up being a transitional phase during which I was briefly thinner between periods of being fat.

My life transformed when I realized that there’s no such thing as “before” and “after,” pictures, just “during” pictures.  My life transformed when I realized that being thin probably isn’t possible for me and, even if it was, it is not a goal worthy of my time, energy, money, or praise.

My relationships with my body, food, and movement transformed when I realized that health isn’t an obligation, barometer of worthiness, or guaranteed under any circumstances, and that my best chance of supporting my body was loving it instead of ignoring all of its signals in an attempt to manipulate its size.

Those relationships transformed when I started appreciating my body, rather than being mad that it didn’t look like a photoshopped picture of someone else – when I realized I had been duped by the beauty and diet industries’ cycle of disempowerment.

Those relationships transformed when I realized that my beauty isn’t diminished because some people can’t see it.

Those relationships keep getting better because they are now based on truth, respect, and joy instead of on diet industry lies, self-loathing, and desperation. By leaving behind a diet mentality and sizeist beliefs, I transformed my life not just on Tuesday, or for short time before the weight started coming back, but every day.

So if you are – or you become – one of the vast majority of people who regain all their weight (often plus more,) know that you are valid and worthy at any size.

Do you have a Transformation Tuesday story that doesn’t celebrate body size manipulation? Feel free to leave it in the comments!

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