Transformational ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos pose potential health risk

Weight Watchers, one of the worlds most renowned weight loss companies, has expressed in a statement that they will minimize posting ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos of individuals who are on their weight loss journey.

Weight Watchers now believes that losing weight is “a journey of health, with no beginning, middle or end”. They were also one of the first pioneers in creating the hashtag #TransformationTuesday, where people share their weight loss transformations on social media.

There has been a lot of criticism surrounding transformational ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures. One of the biggest concerns is that they promote the idea that you are only beautiful if you are skinny or that a slim build is the ideal body type.

Jenny Cole, a lecturer at Metropolitan Manchester University, believes transformation photos lead to “a path to body dissatisfaction”. By constantly looking at ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos, people will begin to be dissatisfied with their own body and strive to reach an unrealistic ideal.

Many people on the other hand are pro-transformation photos. Josie Clifton, a gold member of Weight Watchers, tells HuffPost UK:  “Before and after photos are a great way to remind yourself how far you’ve come, to keep motivated and inspired. I still post them from time to time on the Weight Watchers app.”

It is believed that people will develop a higher risk of being affected by an eating disorder when looking at severe weight loss transformations. Weight Watchers wants to promote a healthy image for their company by encouraging their users to lose weight at their own pace and to not compare themselves to the images they see on screen.

Seeing that there are potential health risks involved in transformation photos, Weight Watchers is phasing out the use of these images.

[Featured Image: TeroVesalainen/Pixabay]

(Subbing: Betina Gluhova)

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