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The Trend of Before After Photos on Social Media Can Have a Negative Impact on Mental Health? This is what the experts say

 


The presence of social media triggers the emergence of various trends that are often followed by the public. One trend that is still loved today is the before and after photo trend.

This trend explains that the after situation is the result of hard work and is more desirable than before. This trend can come in various forms, from cleaning the house, pursuing goals, to what we see most often about appearance, such as weight.


At first glance, this trend may seem positive because it can motivate people. However, before and after photos related to appearance can actually be dangerous for mental health, you know!


Wow, how come? Come on, see the explanation!


Generating Unhealthy Comparisons


While it may not be malicious and meant to be motivating, it is inevitable that before and after photos can have the effect of comparing yourself to others which in some cases can be dangerous for some people.


"Especially in people who are struggling with body image and eating problems," said Chelsea Kronengold, director of communications at the National Eating Disorders Association.


When someone sees a before after photo, many feel that it will relate more to the 'before' situation than the 'after'. Because the point of comparison of before and after photos is to show that the 'after' condition is better, some people may feel lacking and feel that there is something that needs improvement from the body. Over time, this can be dangerous.


Feeling dissatisfied with your body shape is one of the potential risks of eating disorders. "People who have a negative body image are not only prone to eating disorders, but also depression, low self-esteem, and an obsession with weight loss," added Kronengold.


Strengthening the Stigma of Weight Loss


There are many different types of before and after photos, but what we see most often is related to weight. If we look at the before and after weight loss posts on social media, there will be a lot of 'positive' comments, such as "wow, so inspiring!" or "wow, what a body goals!"


It looks positive at first glance, but there's a flip side to that comment: there's an implication that the person doesn't look cool when they're bigger, and implies that being thin is best.


Weight stigma or discrimination based on weight is deeply rooted in society and has negative effects. According to a 2018 study from the Journal of Advanced Nursing, weight stigma increases a person's risk of developing diabetes, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and body dissatisfaction.


This stigma arises from the belief that a thin body is better and a fat body is unhealthy. In fact, a thin body does not necessarily mean healthy, and a fat body does not mean unhealthy.


Although the relationship between weight and health is very complicated, it is not appropriate to judge someone's health just by looking at their photos.



Too much emphasis on physical appearance


Just because someone smiles in the 'after' part of a before-after photo, doesn't mean they're happy, you know! In fact, when we assume someone has experienced positive life changes just because they 'look better' can be detrimental to their way of thinking and impairing mental health.


"It's dangerous to put self-esteem in something that's out of control and unexpected, like the human body," says Ashley Seruya, a therapist and author in New York. According to him, appearance can rarely be an indicator of a person's well-being.


Instead of focusing on body transformation through before and after photos, Kronengold argues that mental health and accomplishments that have nothing to do with appearance or weight should take precedence.


Simply said, the important thing is that you love your body shape and keep your body healthy!

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