Skip to content


Your dose of fitness, health and wellbeing information with Han.

Why I’m not so keen on before & after photos…

In the health and fitness world of social media, before-and-after photos have been trending for as long as I can remember. 

I know for some of us it can be a great way to show our progress, especially what we’ve achieved in a certain amount of time, but I’ve always felt they can be a little unhealthy for us psychologically.

woman posing for before and after photos

Let’s start with the side-by-side photos, which have become particularly trendy over the past year for a number of reasons. 

Sometimes there is something special about the side-by-side post that is meant to inspire or educate followers. Maybe it’s a trainer revealing how you’re doing exercises wrong. Left is incorrect and on the right is how to do it correctly. But I find so many of these side-by-side collages are posted to showcase how easy it is to manipulate your figure and therefore attempt to show the reality of Instagram. These images often show what happens if a person has used a filter, flexes and doesn’t flex, poses and doesn’t pose, to name a few. 

It’s an important message, yes. But why must images of a person’s body be the vehicle to share inspiring messages or important information? Especialllllly if the person sharing these “inspiring” images is already a size 8 and shows that “they have rolls too when slouching!!!!!” I mean, give me a break! 

And then there are the transformation photos or videos, which usually show a body “before” and then a few months “after” their weight loss or fitness journey, showing how much their body has changed.

Sometimes it’s a way to share their success, or sometimes it’s made with the goal of inspiring others to do the same (or worse, to buy a diet or fitness programme!) But, again, I’ve never understood why an image of your body should be the way you measure success.

For starters, they’re so easy to manipulate with poses, lighting and camera angles! But more to the point, from both my personal experience and talking to others over the years, I’ve found these types of photos can make us extremely critical of ourselves – and it turns out psychology experts actually agree.

Before and after photos tend to receive plenty of comments of praise, which can make us feel great, but can also trigger obsession, body comparison and (in the worst cases) can encourage eating disorders. They imply that the “after” photo is a body that is more desirable or worthy than the “before” photo, and reinforces the idea that we should place importance on weight and the way our body looks.

This can lead to an obsession with wanting to attain a certain physique, feeling depressed when we don’t look a certain way, creating an unhealthy relationship with food or fitness or even creating a mentality around eating or working out that takes over your entire life.

Han Romano running up a hill

In saying all this, if before and after photos are your thing – that’s great! The concept can work for some of us, as long as you aren’t attributing all your success to the way your body looks.

If you’re a millennial like me, you may have seen how far we’ve come already since the early 2000’s of “fat shaming” (thanks, magazines!), but I still think our society has work to do around the way it emphasises weight loss, certain body shapes and appearance in general. Each body is built differently, and what you perceive as “fat” might be someone else’s dream body.


Seeing other before and after photos might make you feel the need to compare yourself or work towards an “after photo” too, but this should never be the case.

You might see someone’s “before” photo which may even be your goal, that is totally fine. You’re on your OWN fitness journey and no one else’s! 

You are on your own personal journey at your specific stage of life, with your own unique goals. Whether it’s wanting to get back into fitness after having kids, aiming to cut down on junk food for health reasons or wanting to stay strong and fit as you get older, you are so much more than a before and after photo!

Part of the reason I love fitness so much is for the way it makes me feel, and the same applies to fueling my body with fresh, nourishing food (with the occasional treat – gotta enjoy life!).

Obviously, there are those incredible endorphins that come with working out, but it also makes me feel alive, happy, healthy and strong. Sure, I love being fit, but my weight fluctuates – and an “after” photo of me in my bikini won’t define how successful or confident I am! 

Instead, the only photos I’ll be sharing to inspire you are bright, bubbly, smiling – having a ball. Because really, isn’t that what it’s all about? Feeling great!?! 


Continue Reading…


Chats with Han – Toni Street

Toni Street shares what being healthy means to her and the challenges of her autoimmune disease. We talk about running the house and managing busy routines.