The Truth About Before And After Pictures

before and after pictures

If you have spent any amount of time on social media, it’s likely that you’ll have encountered at least a handful of ‘before and after’ pictures on your feed. ‘Transformation’ photographs have long been used by the wellness industry as a source of fitness and weight-loss inspiration, by highlighting the differences in body size and shape after engaging in weight-loss schemes or lifestyle changes.

Before and after pictures are often misleading, and for some, seriously damaging. That’s why here at Balance Box, we’ll never use them. Here are a few reasons why:

There is a lot of misinformation out there

When it comes to before and after pictures, seeing is not always believing. You don’t need to search hard to find evidence of fake before-and-after photos on social media. Images can be both edited or changed simply by tweaking posture, lighting, clothing, and camera angle. In the span of just a few seconds, people will appear to lose weight, gain muscle, or both. It’s easy to manipulate a before and after photo through adjusting posture, pushing out your stomach or simply adjusting clothing. Try searching the hashtag #30secondbeforeand after on Instagram and you’ll see how ‘before and after’ photos taken just 30 seconds apart can look very different.

They are outdated.

In the 1980’s marketeers in the fitness and health industry began using ‘before and after pictures’ prolifically to market the latest (often quick fix) diet trends. They promoted diet being about the ‘before’ and ‘after’ rather than a long-term lifestyle choice. They also sparked a dangerous cultural shift that continued into the noughties. Weight loss, rather than health, and the assumption that you can diagnose health from body weight and size was the aim of the game.

Back then, the reach of printed advertisements was limited. Now with social media platforms like Instagram and the proliferation of digital marketing, before and after pictures are everywhere, and they can have devastating effects on mental health for some.

They put far too much value on appearances.

Just because someone is smiling in an ‘after’ photo doesn’t mean that they’re mentally healthy. In fact, it can be damaging to assume that someone has experienced positive life changes just because they ‘look better.’ A healthy weight for one person doesn’t equate to a healthy weight for somebody else. In addition to this, we don’t necessarily know from a picture if the weight loss we see has been achieved in a healthy way.

The comparison trap

Before and after photos can create a ‘comparison trap’ causing some people to measure self-worth against the photos of others. It also creates an internal sense of comparison, where we may start to feel negatively about our bodies ‘before’, as it is assumed and implied that the “after” version is more worthy. In reality, there’s no such thing as a ‘perfect’ weight for all people. A whole host of factors, including height, age, muscle mass, and sometimes factors outside of our control, such as our genetic makeup, can factor into what we weigh.


At Balance Box we believe that healthy eating is a journey with no beginning, middle or end. We want to help you to achieve your best, healthy self in a way that is meaningful and long-lasting, instead of aiming for a specific ‘after’ body. Designed by our team of expert chefs and nutritionists we help you to lose or maintain weight the easy (and tasty) way with a choice of portion sizes to help you achieve your goals. Order your Balance Box today!

But don’t just take our word for it!

Here’s what Balance Box customers are saying!

‘Outstanding. Rarely a company gets it absolutely right, but Balance Box has. The menu, the quality of the food, delivery, customer service, price… love it, love it, love it. And if that wasn’t enough the weight is falling off! Balance Box is a healthy personal chef in a bag, delivered twice a week. Thank you Balance Box.’ – Balance Box client


‘Incredible, nutritious, delicious meals and snacks. I’m SO impressed with Balance Box! Great variety of yummy, healthy foods, with plenty of plant diversity – very convenient after a busy day at work.’ – Balance Box Customer


‘I love the variety I receive in my Balance Boxes! I get to eat a huge range of fruits, veggies, and whole grains, some that I hadn’t tried before! The breakfasts are full of fibre and healthy fats that help keep me going until lunchtime.’ – Balance Box Customer