Whew… being back in DC has been rough. It was FREEZING when I stepped off the plane last night, and they are saying lots of snow later today.. quite a 180 from where I woke up yesterday. While I try to adjust back to normal life, unpack, grocery shop, etc. (since I didn’t get home until after 10 last night), I wanted to share a photo with you guys that I recently came across of me “before”. I’m not sure if you noticed, but I added a few new pictures to the photos page (scroll down for the new ones).

You see, the before photos I had been working with previously were pretty limited because my highest weight ever was during the archaic time before Facebook. Plus, I wasn’t exactly eager to jump in front of a camera during that time, so the pictures I did have were few and far between – mostly at weddings and other events where I had no choice but to smile for a photo.

When I was home last month for Christmas, my mom and I were looking through some old photos, and she handed me one in particular that really made me take a step back. Here it is:


As I stared at that picture, all I could think was, “Who is that girl?”

The easy answer is, that was me. This photo of me and my sister Wendy was taken several years ago, during a vacation in the Caribbean. I distinctly remember that tank top from Old Navy and remembering how “flattering” it was. The more complicated and true answer however, is I don’t even know. Yes, that was me, but I am such a different person now than I was back then that I barely recognize myself.

My good friend Molly said to me, “Its funny because i remember you being a very happy person in college, pre-weight loss, but you don’t look very happy in this picture.” Ain’t that the truth. I think its so easy to put a smile on your face, tell a joke, and hide behind other people’s laughter so that you avoid what is really eating at you. For me, it was the fact that I was obese, bordering on morbidly so. Every once in a while, though, a photo will get taken that will show the true you. If it’s any indication, I never smile a genuine smile without showing some teeth.

Seeing that photo reminds me of why it brought tears to my eyes to see “Health Hero” next to my name in the article from two weeks ago. The above photo was me for 24 years of my life. I’ve only been this “new” person for 2 years so I’m still adjusting, yet I can barely even remember what it was to be that heavy.

Besides the obvious external changes, I’ve changed on the inside, perhaps even more drastically. For starters, I now make myself a priority. I try to make “me time” every single day and to say “no” when I’m overextending myself and making too many commitments to other people. I’m not saying it’s good to be selfish and only focus on yourself, but what I’m saying is that for me, I have more to give to others when I make time for me.

Besides that, I’m much more confident and try to take active steps to make my life what I want it to be, rather than just going along for the ride. I started this blog, am actively pursuing some exciting opportunities that I’ll get to share with you soon, and have just been more proactive about my schedule and what I do with my days and time. It’s funny how they say when you try to change one thing about your life, everything else falls into place. Not only was I incredibly negligent when it came to my health, I also was very irresponsible with my financials. I’m still working on getting out of the debt I created for myself, but now I have a pretty strict budget I stick to and am much more diligent about where my money goes in addition to what I put into my body.

Do you find that life changes go hand in hand for you? When you’re diligent about some things do you find other things fall into place?

31 Comments on Before

  1. Katie Photiadis
    January 26, 2011 at 9:09 am (10 years ago)

    Beth, I really love this post! I think that there are definitely some photos that just seem to “capture the true you.” I definitely can see how uncomfortable I look in some of my before pics. And yeah, I definitely had shirts which I thought were “flattering,” but obviously couldn’t make my 240 body look like 150 pounds, haha.

    I was just thinking about this the other day. I have mixed feelings. Sometimes I feel like a completely different person from my past self, but sometimes I feel the same, you know? My weight doesn’t completely define me. Although I agree with what you said about changing on the inside too…

  2. happywhennothungry
    January 26, 2011 at 9:10 am (10 years ago)

    Wow that picture is incredible! You are a totally new person! I definitely think that when you get your act together and are diligent about things, other things tend to fall into place. Thanks for sharing with us!

  3. Stephanie @ The Cookie Battle
    January 26, 2011 at 9:27 am (10 years ago)

    Ugh. As depressing as looking at the “before” pictures can be, I’m sure you must get an amazing sense of accomplishment and the feeling that you’ve come so far…because you have 🙂

  4. Liz
    January 26, 2011 at 9:53 am (10 years ago)

    Great post. I can’t believe how different you look. Every time I have hung out with you, you are such a fun, confident and happy person that I can’t imagine you being any other way.

  5. Maria
    January 26, 2011 at 9:58 am (10 years ago)

    Go you! Way to take control of your situation and say, daggone it, I want to be a better me, and doing just that and inspiring others along the way 😀

  6. Gabrielle @ Weightless
    January 26, 2011 at 10:12 am (10 years ago)

    People always tell me, “You don’t even look like the same person,” when they see my old photos. What I notice is how uncomfortable you look there to be having your picture taken – I have that same fake-smile in a lot of my ‘before’ photos too. Congrats – you’ve come a long way!

  7. Holly
    January 26, 2011 at 10:20 am (10 years ago)

    Beth thank you for sharing this photograph! You have come so far. You are a health hero!!!

    Yes, when I “do the right things”: eat well, exercise, get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water, etc, I feel my best, I do well at work and my relationship with Jason is “easy” — all of things impact every aspect of my life which is why I’ve made it a focus to eat healthy and take care of myself.

  8. Gwen
    January 26, 2011 at 10:29 am (10 years ago)

    I was ALWAYS outgoing and confident, even when I was at my heaviest. But I really believe that we develop those kinds of personality traits to make up for the fact that we are the heaviest person in the room. Some people didn’t understand why I wanted to lose weight. Ha! I was happy, but it was a different kind of happiness. I feel like I’m struggling to get back to my lowest and goal, but looking at before pictures reinforces that I want it and I have to fight for it!

  9. Lori (Finding Radiance)
    January 26, 2011 at 10:40 am (10 years ago)

    Amazing photos. I look at old ones of me and they seem so alien now the further out I get from my heavy weight.

    I think when you do concentrate on getting some aspect of your life together, you tend to create more habits that align with that goal automatically.

  10. Stacy @ Every Little Thing
    January 26, 2011 at 10:48 am (10 years ago)

    The funny thing is, you look a lot more like your sister in that photo, now!

    You’ve done an amazing thing with your life, and you should be proud!

  11. Theresa @ActiveEggplant
    January 26, 2011 at 10:51 am (10 years ago)

    Such an amazing transformation Beth! You seem so full of life now & it comes through in your writing and your pictures! Even though I never met you in person, I don’t recognize the “you” I see in your before picture!

    I agree that life changes come hand in hand – as soon as I started focusing on living a healthy life, everything started changing – my relationship with my spouse is better, I am more outgoing & confident, we’re getting our finances back on track – everything has changed for the better! My husband’s habits are even changing – he is much more active too and is also losing weight! As a couple we are living a totally different life than we were 2 years ago – it really is amazing.

  12. Shrinking mommy of 2
    January 26, 2011 at 10:52 am (10 years ago)

    Great post! I couldn’t agree more with this post.

    I have “older” pictures of me around the house to remind me where I have been and where I DO NOT want to go. I have one in particular that is on my fridge that I look HUGE! I still have a hard time thinking of my self as smaller (or average). I still see myself as that “FAT” girl.

    You are an inspiration to a lot of people! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Jen
    January 26, 2011 at 11:21 am (10 years ago)

    Great post!
    I’m still in the “before” of my journey, but posts like this make me realize how possible it is to achieve the “after.”

  14. Amy @ Second City Randomness
    January 26, 2011 at 11:23 am (10 years ago)

    Sometimes it’s hard for me to look at old pictures. There was a distinct time in my life where I can see myself smiling, but know exactly what’s going on in my head and how unhappy I was at the moment… funny how that works.

  15. Amanda
    January 26, 2011 at 2:42 pm (10 years ago)

    Hey Beth!!
    Sorry about the chilly temperatures!! I am ver sure I will have one heck of a time adjusting from life in Okinawa to life in Germany!! I really related to your post. I am down to 130 (5ft2) and still hide away from pictures. Yesterday I had decided that was going to stop. There are probably 20 photos of me with my 9 month old, all because I don’t want a fat picture. I put up pics of me with my kids, us loving one another, because I want to be the mom that jumps into pictures so we have those fun memories. The person I see in pictures is different than what other people see, I just need to do that changing fromthe inside out! I am now going to post my “progress” photo on my blog as a way to show I am working on seeing the progress not seeing all the ” fixables” !! Again, you really are an inspiration and you really touch people!!!! Hope you have a great day 🙂

  16. Lisa
    January 26, 2011 at 2:43 pm (10 years ago)

    I love this post. I can relate. I see so many old photos where I’m not smiling. I remember being okay most of the time but getting into “moods” when I was really sad about being fat. Losing the weight definitely increased my confidence!

  17. One Is The Magic Number
    January 26, 2011 at 2:53 pm (10 years ago)

    wow. just wow. This post is so inspiring, and not because of that picture. It’s because of what you’ve realized about yourself. Full disclosure: your journey is the reason I started blogging. This post just reaffirms why you are a health hero all the way in north carolina.

  18. Ang
    January 26, 2011 at 2:58 pm (10 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing your before photo and your observations on it! You’ve come a long way and have a lot to be proud of! 🙂

  19. RickGetsFit
    January 26, 2011 at 3:10 pm (10 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing the photo. I find looking at my before pic always helps to keep on my current track of trying to find health. Cheers, Rick

  20. rc1001
    January 26, 2011 at 3:36 pm (10 years ago)

    I am usually hyper-focused on one thing at a time. As I get older I’m learning to balance things more and more.

  21. Leanne @ Leanne Lately
    January 26, 2011 at 4:45 pm (10 years ago)

    I look at pictures of me now and that is what I see only I couldn’t put my finger on it. Thank you. Talk about an “eye opener.” Your journey is so inspiring to people like me who are just starting!

  22. Natalie
    January 26, 2011 at 7:58 pm (10 years ago)

    Love your blog! Found it a couple times in searches and am adding you to my reader. Just started a new blog to follow on my journey as I “condition myself”. Cheers!

  23. Shannon [Tropical Eats]
    January 26, 2011 at 8:20 pm (10 years ago)

    oooh i want to hear about these exciting opportunities coming up!

    You are a new person! You look awesome and I’m so glad we can all follow along with your story. 🙂

  24. Jennifer @ shesafitchick
    January 26, 2011 at 8:26 pm (10 years ago)

    The fact that you said the “archaic time before Facebook”makes me so happy haha. Its hard to remember like before Facebook!!

    You are so amazing and have accomplished so much!! I really need to be more like you – create my life instead of just being along for the ride. <3

  25. Sheri
    January 26, 2011 at 8:27 pm (10 years ago)

    What a great post! Looking back on the “old” me is hard and I still can’t believe I’ve come so far. Thanks for sharing!

  26. zimzimmie1
    January 26, 2011 at 8:45 pm (10 years ago)

    Reflecting on the past is good and bad – you can learn from your past and you can really take a good look at how far you’ve come. But sometimes I tend to get a little overwhelmed by those emotions I used to have and I have to pull myself away and remember I’m not that person anymore. You’ve made amazing and healthy changes! So awesome! 🙂

  27. Nicole
    January 27, 2011 at 12:27 am (10 years ago)

    Wow Beth, such an amazing transformation! You are truly an inspiration and proof that hard work and dedication can get us all to where we want to be. Congratulations on being so strong and pushing through. You’re such a beautiful woman!!

  28. Emma (ecoprincess)
    January 27, 2011 at 5:20 am (10 years ago)

    I love this post. It’s so insightful and genuine. You really give me hope because I’m 24 now and at the very beginning of a big weight loss, and you really inspire me that you can achieve it. Sometimes, even now only 3 weeks in, it seems like it will be such an impossible journey, so thank you for giving me hope and belief that it is possible!

    Can’t wait to read about the exciting opportunities! =)

  29. sipsandsteps
    January 27, 2011 at 8:38 am (10 years ago)

    You have come along way and should be proud of yourself! Love the blog!

  30. Monica
    January 27, 2011 at 8:51 pm (10 years ago)

    Great post and so many inspiring points. I really think I have numbed out my 230+ days, and I am still working to uncover parts of that person to understand who I want to be moving forward. It is taking so much work to see that person clearly. I kind of feel like I created a web of lies about being this confident person, but see so much truth in my smile in photos. I agree that the smile reveals so much.

    Yes, life changes so go hand in hand. My first job out of college taught me that personal happiness is something you must take charge of and never fall victim to the misconception that things “have” to be a certain way. It was taking charge of my career and living location that domino-ed into my health and then my finances and slowly but surely that number on the scale.


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