I Am Not Your Weight Loss “Before” Picture

Rose Bak
5 min readJan 1, 2021

I don’t need you telling me why I need to lose weight.

Photo by Christina Murphy

New Years is a hard time of the year to be a fat woman in this country.

Everywhere I look I see someone who looks like me — as the “before” picture in a diet or workout ad.

Even worse is when the “before” picture is someone much smaller than me. I seriously want to stab someone when I see a “before” picture that’s a woman who is maybe a size 10 or 12.

You know, smaller than the average woman in this country.

According to the “National Health Statistics Reports” issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in December 2018, the average woman in the United States weighs 170.6 pounds, or 77.4 kg.

The average woman in the U.S. now wears a size 16 in clothing, not that you would know it from the myriad of clothing stores that only cater to customers who wear a size 12 or smaller.

Admittedly, I’m larger than average. I’m mostly OK with that. I have done a lot of work on body positivity and self-love to get to a place where I can be confident in my body.

I teach yoga. I wear shorts and tank tops. I speak out when businesses only offer chairs that skinny people can fit into. I call out thin privilege when I see it. Spoiler alert: I see it every day. It’s totally exhausting.

I’m also a strong proponent of the “Health at Every Size” movement. Like HAES I believe that no food is “bad”, that joyful movement is healthy, and that diets do more harm than good.

Before you contact me to sell me your Beach Body program, or tell me about how great you did on Weight Watchers, or encourage me to do your “easy” detox cleanse, or share how Paleo or Atkins or Keto changed your life, let me share one thing.

I don’t care.

I have dropped 30 pounds more times than I can count, then eventually gained it back. I lost 50 pounds at least three times, and each time gained it back. I lost 100 pounds once. And I gained it all back.

I can tell you that over the first 50 years of my life I tried every diet and weight loss and exercise plan there is. Every single one.

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Rose Bak

Rose Bak is a freelance non-fiction writer as well as the author of more than 50 books. Find Rose's books at bit.ly/AuthorRoseBak .