Margaret Hartmann on ‘Before and After’ Photos

Margaret Hartmann has some words of encouragement for anyone who runs into “before and after photos” this NEDA week.


During NEDA week, before and after pictures blow up my social media feeds. When I was in early recovery, these posts were especially hard for me to see, because comparing was such a huge part of my eating disorder. A friend of mine always says, “Compare and despair.” And that’s exactly what would happen every time I compared my body to the before and after pictures.

However, what I learned from my recovery, is that weight restoration is only one part of the journey. It doesn’t capture the true transformation and freedom that comes with letting go of your eating disorder.

For me, NEDA week is bigger than gaining weight. It’s a time for me to reflect on my journey and take pride in my accomplishments. It’s a time to remind myself that full recovery is possible. If this week is hard for you, you aren’t alone. Protect your recovery, even if that means staying off social media. And remember that a picture is just a snapshot in time. Real recovery is seen in every day actions of choosing your healthy self over your eating disorder self.

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