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POLL: Before-and-After Pictures: More Harm Than Good?

beforeandafter240I have to admit: I love before-and-after pictures off all kinds. Home renovations, furniture restorations, even makeup transformations — you name it, chances are I love looking at it.

Except when it comes to before-and-after pictures of our bodies. I’m a bit on the fence about those.

On the one hand, it’s inspiring to see someone get in great shape; it can make you feel like you, too, have the power to be your fittest self (not to mention, it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside for the person who’s succeeding his or her goals).

On the other hand, it could make you feel as if you’re not measuring up.

If this person can look this way after this period of time, why can’t I?

A few days ago, an upset friend of mine texted me a before-and-after picture she’d found on Pinterest. The Random Girl in the picture was displaying her workout results after just one month. I have to admit, they were super impressive. (Sure, the pictures could have been fake, but let’s just go with the overall message here for a minute.) My friend was upset because she’s been working out for twice that time and hasn’t seen results close to the Random Girl’s.

Unfortunately, what we often fail to consider is that everybody is different, just as every body is different. We all have different nutrition and fitness goals, we all have bodies that work their own ways, and we all have to make healthy changes at our own paces.

Still, my friend was crushed. She felt depressed and possibly even guilty and ashamed.

Some Random Girl’s “results” made her efforts seem inferior — even useless — and that makes me sad.

So, I wonder what YOU think, readers? How do before-and after pictures make you feel? Do you look to them for inspiration? Or, do they bring you down?

Before and after photo available from Shutterstock

POLL: Before-and-After Pictures: More Harm Than Good?

Alicia Sparks

Alicia Sparks is a freelance writer and editor and the creator of, where she blogs to help new freelance writers get their quills in the pot, so to speak. Among animal rights, music, and physical wellness, her passions include mental health and advocacy. Here at Psych Central she works as Syndication Editor as well as authors Your Body, Your Mind, Unleash Your Creativity, and World of Psychology's weekly "Psychology Around the Net."

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APA Reference
Sparks, A. (2015). POLL: Before-and-After Pictures: More Harm Than Good?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 14, 2020, from


Last updated: 19 Feb 2015
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