Do Before Pictures Motivate You Or Make You Miserable?

Do you take “before” pictures? If you answered yes, I am curious to know if they motivate you in a positive way or make you feel worse and defeated.


I know many people love the “before” picture technique, but I personally felt humiliated by this approach. Below is one of the many torturous before pictures I took.

before pic

I clearly remember taking this picture. I hated every moment of it. I forced my husband to take it and complained the whole time that he was doing it wrong. “Make sure to get my whole body in it”, I nagged.


The whole experience was so painful. I felt like I was being stabbed in the heart.


As you can see by my facial expression, this was a low moment for me. I hated my body and I hated that I hated my body.

Looking at it now, I see that my body is not the problem, it was my mind that was holding me back and keeping stuck.


I thought I could motivate myself through punishment. I believed if I was grossed out enough by my belly, thighs and butt, then I would be able to finally stop the yo-yo dieting madness.


It was the same tactic I used with the scale. I thought if I was disgusted enough by the number on the scale, I would finally muster up the willpower to drop the pounds.


My actions were in perfect alignment with Einstein’s definition of “insanity.” I was “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.


Many of us do this on our quest for permanent weight loss. Some of us try the same diet over and over again. The one that we lost weight on at one point, only to gain it back a few months later. Others of us join Weight Watchers multiple times. Many of us try different weight loss diets looking for the perfect one to finally solve our problems.


I have done all of these things and more.


Breaking the “insanity” pattern required me to give up my old ways of thinking. I needed to move away from trying to motivate myself through body shame and disgust, and learn to listen to my body’s true wisdom.



Once I finally got it, I have never looked back.  Beach yoga


I realize I don’t have a “perfect body”. Like most women, I have cellulite and stretch marks. What I do have is peace of mind and trust in my body. My weight is stable without ever having to diet.




I have found the easy, natural space between being overly restrictive and eating out of control. I no longer struggle and I want the same for you.


Are depressed and frustrated by your dieting failures? Please know it is not your fault. The weight loss industry is a big trap that many of us get sucked into when we are teenagers or even younger.


If the path you are taking leaves you feeling miserable, it is time to find a new road.


Reach out. I am here for you.


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The way you stressed making small measurable changes, made the goal appear a lot more attainable. The way you stressed making small measurable changes, made the goal appear a lot more attainable.

Michele Potter
Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture City of Gaithersburg