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Why I hate before and after Body transformations

This picture can tell a story, you can look at it and see different styles, age, strength, confidence; most likely you will see changes in body fat.

A picture capturing changes in body fat does not tell you anything other than that. In the top picture I am in my 20's I have cared for a terminally ill friend and I haven't discovered that I like exercise and I manage my stress levels through baking. In the bottom picture I am a couple of weeks off qualifying as a personal trainer, I am having to devote lots of time to learning new ways of exercising, I am within "normal" BMI. The big picture is Now. This picture can tell you I am slightly older, that I've put on a few pounds and would be classed as a BMI of "overweight" . What it doesn't tell you in the 10 months between the two most recent pictures being taken is that I have worked full time in a job that feels meaningful, gained three qualifications to increase my knowledge and skills to give my clients the best service, spent quality time with my friends, family and pets and used exercise and baking to mange stress levels. My resting heart rate and heart rate variability indicate to me that I am maintaining a fitness level that works well for me.

I have been on social media were there is debate that a personal trainer should "look" a certain way to demonstrate their competence, 100s of images of people with 6 packs or body positive yogis that can bend and move their bodies in ways I have never. I have the knowledge of how to get that 6 pack or learn to move my body in extraordinary ways. However I also have the knowledge that if I achieve that - so what. It isn't going to make me happier, if anything time spent doing that will be taken away from the things I value. My body is incredible - it has carried me on the journey, keeping me alive and letting me do the things I want to do. So when you see a before and after picture, know that yes your body is capable of change - but a picture doesn't show the story, our bodies are designed to age, adapt and change, the body you have right now is doing what it can to protect you. Trust your body to do its thing (even when it sometimes doesn't feel it is within your control).

So is my body the body of a personal trainer - well yes because I am one - but I am also so much more that that. The same way that you are more than your body.

Sarah is an Occupational Therapist and personal trainer who is passionate about helping people flourish @MoodLifterPT

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