“Before and After” Bull: Set Off by Weightloss Schemes

“Drink this to lose weight!” “Eat this to get lean!” “Take this to be bikini ready!” Those taglines are irksome enough for someone who believes in body acceptance, especially postpartum. Then the kicker: “before and after” photos featuring a very recently postpartum mom (or worse yet, pregnant woman) in contrast with a months later svelte version of that same participant. Good for her for finding self-confidence but, I’m sorry, holy unethical advertising!

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I wasn’t a “before”… I was PREGNANT!

I’m all for moms finding career success. I love when moms help one another. I adore that getting fit and strong is a war-cry for some: “I am more than just a uterus!” I appreciate that some of those same fitness-loving moms want to help others find that same empowerment. Yes, do that! Let’s be cautious not to cannibalize one another for the sake of a buck, though.

OF COURSE the weightloss results are going to be most drastic at the markedly transitional postpartum point. That “before” model just created, grew, and expelled a human from her body. She may even be trying to nourish that same human by way of her body. So why imply her — or any other woman’s — primary agenda should be muscle gain and fat loss? Can’t she just be without being a “before”?

How can you truthfully even slightly imply in good conscience that the results experienced by a woman who is days pre- or post-delivery will be accessible to others? She will lose at least 10lb of fluid and blood right off the bat postpartum. That’s a ludicrous comparison to those not at the same life stage. And if a product does do that, steer clear!

Get fit if you’d like, or don’t if it’s not the right time for you. But certainly don’t categorize a pregnant or immediately postpartum woman as a “before”. Doing so reinforces the ridiculous pressure on moms to bounce back immediately postpartum. It feigns that pregnancy and childbirth are easy and glamorous. It indicates we moms are not enough — that we are “befores” to be improved upon — if we are not lean and trim. Don’t get sucked in.

Get healthy. Eat a cupcake. Drink the shake. Do that cleanse. Or don’t. Workout. Take naps. Do yoga. Do CrossFit. Do brunch. Do what works for you.

Don’t let scheming advertisers make you think less of yourself because you didn’t or don’t want to down their secret potion, wrap yourself in their human shrink wrap, or take their mystical pill to make you a leaner version of the already amazing you. Remember: they don’t care about YOU… they care about profits.

You’re worth more than that. You’re gorgeous. Do you.

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