If you have social media, you may have noticed the vast array of transformation pictures that have recently taken over Instagram and Facebook. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, a transformation picture is basically a before and after picture. People who are trying to lose weight normally take them to track their progress, and many people have taken to posting their own transformation pictures on their social media accounts.
People striving for weight loss use transformation pictures to not only motivate themselves, but to inspire others to live healthy lifestyles as well. It’s a way to show that if you put in the hard work, you can make a difference in yourself, even if you have trouble seeing it right away. But now, transformation pictures are heading in different directions and are not sanctioned to just weight loss progress.
What began as a small ripple in the social media realm turned into a tsunami wave that has swept across the Internet. Transformation pictures have evolved to include a variety of body image issues that people are trying to overcome and bring awareness to.
Instagram user Holly @hllylzbth used a transformation picture to show her progress in battling anorexia with an inspiring caption that encourages followers to “fight the pressure and intrusive thoughts and demons” they carry.
Another Instagram user, Jess @fit_dallasmom, used her transformation picture to document her fitness journey through motherhood. Instead of being discouraged by the way pregnancy changed her body, Jess embraced the changes and learned to work with them.
The caption of one of her transformation pictures read, “I might not weigh the same, my hips might be a bit wider and I might have more curves than I did before, but it was all worth the little human that changed our lives for the better.”
Creator of The Fit Body Guides Anna Victoria @annavictoria put a spin on the classic transformation picture by taking two pictures in the same day. Anna took a before picture of herself with good posture and flexed muscles and an after picture of herself in a relaxed pose. Although the pictures were taken on the exact same day, Anna’s body looked completely different with the first photo showing her normally toned physique and the second showing all her natural rolls and creases.
“Me one percent of the time versus 99 percent of the time. And I love both photos equally. Good or bad angles don’t change your worth,” read the caption for Anna’s transformation picture.
Like all things posted on the Internet, there are just as many haters as there are supporters. Many people who post transformation pictures get backlash and negative feedback from other users. I disagree with the negative talk that follows many transformation pictures, and condemn the trolling that takes place in the social media world.
I believe in the message of transformation pictures. They are an inspiration and tell stories of people who have come far in their journey to better themselves and their lives. Many of the transformation pictures I have seen begin with the phrases, “Sorry for another transformation picture” or “I never thought I’d be a person who posts something like this.” Do not be sorry for being proud of how much you have accomplished. Do not be sorry for wanting to share your progress and inspire others who share similar goals. Do not be sorry for being who you are.
No matter what the transformation is, the message of each social media user who posts a transformation picture is the same — stay true to yourself and never give up on the goals you set out to achieve.
DISCLAIMER: The people and social media accounts mentioned in this article have at least 1,000 followers. The individuals are not celebrities but people of prominence on Instagram.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and are not representative of The Slate or its staff as a whole.