I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but lately there have been many weight-loss “before and after” photos circulating social media. While everyone is cheering on the person in the picture (and rightfully so), I’m over here thinking, “What’s wrong with the before picture?”

The before picture often is seen as negative. It’s a picture of a person we once knew but are eager to dismiss.

But why?

What if we changed our approach?

As someone who is in the midst of my own weight-loss journey, I have been juggling a right and wrong approach to losing weight. In one hand, I hold the positive desires for confidence, energy, and good health. But, then the other ball suddenly makes its way around in my juggling act, and I’m caught in a whirlwind of body shaming and negative comparison. I can’t take my eyes off the juggling motion or my intentions become blurred, and I start to hate the woman I see in the mirror staring back at me. When I let negativity creep in, my internal desires fade away, and I’m stuck with an external focus that proves to be an obstacle along the journey.

I have noticed that my body’s weight-loss success hinges on my mind and heart’s perspective of the before picture. When I view myself in the picture as a daughter of the King created in His most perfect image, I am aware of the healthy changes I want to make in a way that honors my body and has a lasting impact—a change that bubbles up on the inside and overflows outwardly.

On the contrary, when I look in the mirror with a mindset of revulsion and inadequacy, it leaves me unsatisfied with my results—no matter how great my after picture may look. My body may eventually look on point, but if my body is simply covering a graveyard of negative beliefs and filth, those changes won’t stick. Eventually, those ghosts will come to the surface.

I have discovered that the problem with my before wasn’t my body’s appearance—it was my heart. And as I look at my own results in the “before and after” pictures, I am working toward seeing the before as someone worthy, strong, and beautiful. Someone who has fought her demons and overcome them so she could work toward a body that reflects courage and authenticity.

My sister, Kristen Harnish, is an example of courage and overcoming a long-term battle of comparison. She is now a health coach and inspires many with her healthy view of weight-loss. She views her body as a temple for the Lord and ministers to her clients in the same way. She told me, “I feel like when we are at our optimal health, our mind, body, and soul operates in a way the Lord has intended. And only then can we accurately carry out His plans for our lives and lead others to Him.”

If you are on a weight-loss journey, I urge you to look at your own pictures with the right attitude. The root of your progress should begin with molding your mind and heart, and, when that happens, your body will follow suit. Look at the images appearing on your newsfeed, and celebrate the changes of your family, friends, or maybe even yourself. But remember to focus on the changes that happened within–a change that goes so much deeper than a number on a scale.

My before picture will be used for a weight comparison but not as something negative I will toss out without a second glance. My hands will hold tight to the photo remembering my desire for confidence, energy, and good health that has nourished me on this journey. I hope you choose to hold onto these things on your journey as well.
Originally published at https://whatabeautifulmesswerein.wordpress.com/