For whatever reason, American culture seems to be very into “before and after” shots. I admit, ads with photos of what seem to be two different people but is actually just one person who underwent a massive change in “just 2 weeks!” catches my eye. Yes, I know that the photos are largely photoshopped and that the lighting and attire in each are so drastically different that this alone would be enough to suggest a complete transformation, but darn some of them look pretty realistic.
But even if I know that the facts behind the photos are not always truthful, I can’t help to partake in the age old human habit of comparison. I note that some people weigh less in their “before” state than I do currently. Does this mean I should lose more weight? What do I look like to people now? Next I search for the person’s body who looks most like me and…. And then I catch myself.
This had has absolutely nothing to do with me. These “before and after” weight loss ads are so popular and successful because we as people are so wired to compare ourselves to others. But unfortunately this doesn’t end with just these types of ads. We compare ourselves to our friends, coworkers, and people on the street. If comparison really is the thief of joy, let’s practice being mindful of the comparisons we make and the motives behind them. Ending these body negative judgments just might eliminate a lot of unnecessary pressure that we place on ourselves.