The Trouble With “Transformation Tuesday”

Before AfterAcross social media I see people do “Transformation Tuesday” posts.  If you’re not familiar, this is actually code for “Weight Loss Tuesday” as people just post before and afters of their current body size manipulation attempt, and then other people who have bought into a fatphobic paradigm tell them how much prettier/younger/better they look now than they looked before.

People are allowed to do this (as long as the rules of the space they are posting in allow it.) But that doesn’t mean it isn’t harmful.

First of all, almost everyone who posts for TT is in the “honeymoon” period before the weight regain starts. The truth is that almost all of them will gain the weight back, many will gain back more than they lost.

I hear from so many people who are on the other side of this – having gained their weight back – for whom all that praise has become so much harm as they are reminded that their friends, family, and randos from that group they were in couldn’t wait to tell them loud and clear that they were better/healthier/more attractive when they were thinner. And then, of course, there are those who end up developing eating disorders and fighting for their lives. As more TT posts go up and garner “compliments” that reinforce sizeism, ageism, healthism, and ableism.

So as an alternative, I offer my Transformation Tuesday Story:

There was a time when I believed that I had to be thin to be healthy and happy. There was a time when I believed that smaller bodies were more beautiful, and that manipulating my body size was praiseworthy activity.  There was a time when I saw my body as “before” and celebrated the elusive “after” which, like almost everyone, ended up being a transitional phase during which I was briefly thinner between periods of being fat.

My life transformed when I realized that there’s no such thing as “before” and “after,” pictures, just “during” pictures.  My life transformed when I realized that being thin probably isn’t possible for me and, even if it was, it is not a goal worthy of my time, energy, money, or praise.

My relationships with my body, food, and movement transformed when I realized that health isn’t an obligation, barometer of worthiness, or guaranteed under any circumstances, and that my best chance of supporting my body was loving it instead of ignoring all of its signals in an attempt to manipulate its size.

Those relationships transformed when I started appreciating my body, rather than being mad that it didn’t look like a photoshopped picture of someone else – when I realized I had been duped by the beauty and diet industries’ cycle of disempowerment.

Those relationships transformed when I realized that my beauty isn’t diminished because some people can’t see it.

Those relationships keep getting better because they are now based on truth, respect, and joy instead of on diet industry lies, self-loathing, and desperation. By leaving behind a diet mentality and sizeist beliefs, I transformed my life not just on Tuesday, or for short time before the weight started coming back, but every day.

So if you are – or you become – one of the vast majority of people who regain all their weight (often plus more,) know that you are valid and worthy at any size.

Do you have a Transformation Tuesday story that doesn’t celebrate body size manipulation? Feel free to leave it in the comments!

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6 thoughts on “The Trouble With “Transformation Tuesday”

  1. Oh I don’t know…if someone asks me about “Transformation Tuesday” I will tell them I’ll get back to them on ‘Go Fuck Yourself Friday’!

  2. I’m anorexic and have always believed recovery was impossible for me. But a year ago, my sister in law dragged me to her Zumba class. The teacher didn’t have the body I always associated with fitness. She had traditionally wide arab hips and a larger than jlo bottom just me. She would praise class members in front of the class for getting better at the moves. A few months in, she started praising me for my enthusiasm and telling the class that she wanted them to have fun like me. The only time she’d refer to fitness moves was by reminding us to squat from our butts first so we don’t hurt our knees.

    I started to just focus on learning the dances and really enjoying the movement and positive environment. I complete stopped my obsessive morning weigh ins. I don’t know if other Zumba classes are like this, but the positive attitude towards learning to love movement for its own sake helped me to love and appreciate my body for what it could do instead of how low I could drop my numbers. My joy with this teacher and class changed the way I think about my body. My improved mental health is my life changing transformation.

    1. Even at my lowest, I ALWAYS felt beautiful when dancing. ALWAYS.

      Heck, when I took a bellydance class, I noticed that the teacher, who exercised literally for no fewer than 8 hours a day (also taught pilates), had a noticable pooch belly.

      She said that it was SUPPOSED to be like that in women who had firm core muscles, and that, in fact, belly dancing would increase a woman’s pooch belly, because the muscles we were strengthening would push the belly outward. They would also prepare a woman for a better pregnancy and childbirth. Seems like a good trade to me. That woman was strong, and had endurance, and grace and balance and liberness like you wouldn’t believe. Yet, if an uneducated troll saw her pooch, they’d probably call her “fat,” despite the fact that the rest of her body was trim.

      Oh, she also had the little flaps under her upper arms. She said that unless you were holding your arms JUST SO, you’d have the flaps, after a certain age, because that’s how female bodies work.

      Maybe it was a load of hogwash, and she was just lying and in denial, but guess what? She hired an assistant, who ALSO exercised for 8 hours a day, and had the very same pooch and arm flaps! Neither of them had done any unnatural things like surgery to change their bodies, and they were as healthy and fit as could be.

      So, I chose to believe that the core muscles in a female body would, indeed, push out a pooch belly and that the arm flaps were natural, and just fine.

      And I felt even more beautiful dancing than I had felt before I started that class (And as I said, I ALWAYS felt beautiful dancing, even as a child just freaking out on the living room sofa). I said, “I have a belly! PERFECT for belly dancing! Woot!” My jiggly bits just enhanced the visual of the motion, and I LOVED doing hip moves that flapped that flab around. Shimmies? Yes, please! My fat-shimmies looked even shimmier than a hard-body who has to really work hard to get that kind of motion. Not to slim-shame. I respect hard-bodies, too. Just saying that when it came to shimmies looking shimmier, I had an advantage, because of the extra jiggle intensifying the visual effect.


      Now I am disabled, and had to give it up, sadly. But, I encourage it for others who can dance. Every body that is capable of dancing is a dancer’s body. Just find the style of dance that works best for you.

      And if you’re not into dancing, find some other form of movement that you enjoy, and makes you feel wonderful in your body, because your body is doing this AMAZING THING! Be it weight-lifting, cycling, swimming, walking, jogging, running, horseback riding, dancing, tennis, dodgeball, hammer throwing, frisbee tossing, goose juggling, or whatever. Bodies are ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! Even when they are unhealthy and/or disabled, so long as they are running and keeping us alive, that is absolutely amazing. The best scientists in the world have not been able to recreate that astounding miracle of nature.

      I am so happy for you that you found that wonderful Zumba class and instructor. And it seems that the class was filled with co-dancers who also appreciate the joy of movement, rather than the obsession with numbers on a scale or a tape measure.

      Now, to turn that into a Multi-Level “Marketing” scheme, where each of you start teaching your own body-positive class, and saving other people whose lives were in danger from the hatred in our society, and share the joy and the protection that body-love brings. Of course, you won’t get any payment from your downline, and you can’t just become a super-seller and join the Golden Circle and sit back and let your downline work for you. So, I guess you’ll never be a proper Dance Hunbot. But just imagine if you and your friend and all your co-dancers were to spread that message to just three people, each! Talk about a Transformation! Now that is the sort of MLM I can rally behind!

      Although, technically, if you don’t live off your downline, but just spread the joy, and let others spread it from there, but you get no direct benefit from people three “generations” down, it’s not a MLM, so much as “direct sales”? So that’s cool.

      If I were ever to start a sales company, such as for make-up or knives, I would encourage my salesforce to recruit other sales people by giving them a one-time bonus for each person they recruit. But that’s all. You make your money from actually selling, not setting up a downline network. And your samples are provided by the company, and you place orders and ship to the customers, or maybe to you for delivery to the customers, where you can turn the delivery call into another sales call, but you don’t store any product, yourself, because that’s just silly.

      Wow, this train jumped the track.

      Anyway, SPREAD THE JOY!!! Bodies are amazing and beautiful and downright FUN! WHEEEE!

      1. The fact that this took such a sharp, hard left just makes me even more sure that we should be friends! Let’s be joyous hunbots expanding our downline of body positive, joyous movement!

        Also, if you ever watch classic Egyptian movies, the super sexy bellydancer is always a woman with a lot of jiggle in her movements. They’re mind blowingly talented and so gorgeous! I’m so glad you were able to have that experience!

  3. Gross.
    I probably used to participate in weight loss Tuesday back when I was still trying to hate myself thin. I found an old post on an old poetry blog which was a “humorous” one-liner about weight loss. It wasn’t poetry and it wasn’t even funny. I was so indoctrinated into diet culture.
    These days I sometimes have Tackle It Tuesday posts, where I try to take on some sort of household project. It’s much better than “Transformation Tuesday.” If I’m going to transform into something, I want it to be a mythological creature.

    1. I love the idea of “Tackle It Tuesday”! That’s brilliant!

      Oooh! You could start a weekly blog, giving people advice and encouragement to choose just ONE task per week to tackle, on a Tuesday. And over the course of one year, that is 52 tasks that they otherwise might have let slide, or not bothered with, at all.

      And for the BIG jobs, you break them into smaller 1-day-sized tasks.

      You could have interviews with people who know how to do various tasks, well. Like, “How do you get dried blood out of upholstery? Edna Turnblatt says that’s a skill you can take to the bank.” And how many people have just lived with blood-stained upholstery, or thrown it away, when they could have saved money and embarrassment by TACKLING IT on a Tuesday? They just needed to learn how, and have that encouragement.

      It would be like a weekly version of FlyLady, and not so house-work-specific, because it’s more about the encouragement and advice to choose some task you’ve been putting off, regardless of type, and just tackle it, one day a week.

      I would subscribe to that blog!

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