I’ll say it. I’m not a fan of #TransformationTuesday.
I’m not a fan of #TransformationTuesday because it labels the past you as “bad” and the new you as “good.” Even some really amazing voices in the body positive community paint the “old” calorie-obsessed versions of themselves as “bad,” while painting the new confident, anti-diet versions of themselves “good.”
One thing I’ve struggled with throughout my life is “black and white” or “all or nothing” thinking. You’re either skinny or you’re fat. You’re either smart or you’re dumb. You’re either this or you’re that. #TransformationTuesday perpetuates this kind of thinking.
If recovery has taught me anything, it’s that it’s ok to be gray.
Let’s take my own saved-to-my-phone-but-never-posted #TransformationTuesday post as an example:
The girl on the left was having a rough time. She was suffering from severe depression and struggling to shower. She gained weight during this time and is a great candidate for a “before” picture. The girl on the right? She’s killing it. She’s working out 4-6 days a week, hitting her macros, lost 20 lbs, and has really turned her life around. #hustlehard, #results, amirite?
What this picture can’t display are the other good and bad things that were happening to each of these girls.
At the time the picture of the girl on the left was taken, she was fighting with everything she had to get better. It was hard, but she was trying. Even though she slipped up and binge ate frequently, she treated each day as a new day and worked toward recovery. As for the girl on the right: she totally looks like she has it together! Her life must be perfect. What this picture doesn’t show was that she was actually struggling too. She had gone too far into “recovery.” She had become too obsessed with timing meals and what a “healthy” food is. She was counting every calorie in and exploiting every calorie burned. She looks great, but she was contemplating running the stairs in her boyfriend’s apartment building when she was close to her calorie cap for the day just so she could eat more yogurt. She even stopped eating blueberries because they had too much sugar.
But you know what? Both of these girls are amazing and beautiful. Even though they faced different challenges, both did what they could at the time to do what they thought was best for themselves. They might have been wrong, but they realized the error in their ways and continued to strive to be the best them they could be.
And now, this girl in the picture to the right: She’s still trying to figure out what’s best for her and is a work in progress. She too is amazing and beautiful.
It’s so easy to zero in on physical appearance as a marker of how “good” or “bad” someone is doing. It’s validating to say that you’re better than you used to be and to have others agree. But, I still think it misses the mark.
So, here’s a challenge: try viewing yourself as an awesome work in progress – always. #liveinthegray.
Know that just because you’re struggling today or were struggling in the past doesn’t mean that there’s an eventual state of your being where you will be “good.” “Good” will always be relative. Today’s problems or grievances with yourself will fade, only to be replaced by new ones – but that’s normal. That’s ok. As long as you are making the best decision for yourself at the time, you’re awesome. If your priority is to just get out of bed and shower, awesome. If your priority is to train for a triathlon and workout twice a day or the next year, awesome.
You are not “bad” if you fail and “good” if you succeed. You’re awesome for wanting to try to do what’s best for you in the first place.