074. ‘I can’t stop looking at old photos, wishing I looked like that again’

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Written By:


Ryann Nicole

Episode Transcript

Hey, it’s Ryann from the Food Freedom Lab. Today, let’s dive into a crucial conversation about looking back at old photos and yearning for that previous version of yourself. I know it’s a struggle many of us face, and I want to help you navigate through it. I’m Ryann, your host, a licensed therapist, certified nutritionist, and a recovered binge eater. Welcome to the Food Freedom Lab, where we keep it real, raw, and authentic. Grab your snacks, and let’s get into it.

The Temptation of Old Photos

So, I recently got a question on Instagram that really resonated with me. Someone asked, “Hey Ry, I can’t stop looking at old photos, wishing I looked like that again. How do I manage looking at old photos and not wanting to be that size again?” If you’ve ever felt this way, you’re not alone. Let’s explore how to navigate these feelings together.

My Personal Struggle

I want to share a bit about my own journey. At 13, I saw a picture of myself that I despised, and it triggered a mission to lose weight. I did lose a significant amount, but it came at a cost — my health. As I rapidly gained weight again, I found myself constantly looking back at those old photos, yearning to be that size again. It’s a struggle I know many can relate to.

Rose-Colored Glasses

Looking back at old photos often involves wearing rose-colored glasses. It’s a phenomenon where you only see the positive aspects and forget the struggles and sacrifices that led to that particular body size. It’s crucial to bring these forgotten aspects back into focus and question the reality of that time.

Getting Honest with Yourself

The first step is getting brutally honest. Ask yourself if you were genuinely happy with your body back then. Did you look in the mirror and confidently say, “I love how I look today”? Beyond the body, reflect on how you were living. Were you constantly obsessed with weight, struggling with body dysmorphia, or thinking you needed to lose more weight to be happy?

The “Smallest Weight, Happiest Weight” Myth

A common trap is thinking your smallest weight was your happiest weight. The reality is that it might not be true. It’s essential to break free from the illusion that achieving that body again will automatically solve all your problems. Have you ever wished to be as skinny as the time you first thought you were fat? This is proof that body size doesn’t equate to happiness.

Facing Reality

Continuously wishing for your old body can lead life to pass by in a blink. Rather than dwelling on the past, get curious about the real problems in your life that you believe having your old body will solve. Question if it’s true and if achieving that body will genuinely bring the happiness and resolution you seek.

Deflecting Real Problems

Wishing for your old body can become a way of avoiding real problems in your life. It’s an easy escape route, believing that achieving that body will fix everything. However, facing the truth is vital. You could have that body again and still face the same issues. It’s crucial to realize that happiness and acceptance go beyond body size.

The Real Power

You have the power right now to change your life. Rather than hitting pause and waiting for the perfect body, embrace the journey and tackle the real problems. Remember, it’s not about the size of your body but the life you’re living and the happiness you’re cultivating.

Breaking the Diet Culture Cycle

Diet culture teaches us that achieving a certain body size will solve all our problems. However, it’s crucial to understand that dissatisfaction with your body fuels disordered eating behaviors. The obsession with weight doesn’t lead to happiness.

Three Questions for Reflection

If you find yourself falling into the old photo rabbit hole, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Did I have a healthy relationship with food and exercise at that time?
  2. Was I enjoying life, being spontaneous, and participating in everything?
  3. Was I genuinely happy during that period?

Remember, you could have that body again, but at what cost? Don’t let the dissatisfaction with your body fuel destructive behaviors. Happiness is not about achieving a certain body size; it’s about living a healthy, fulfilling life. Take off the rose-colored glasses and recognize that your smallest weight may not be your happiest weight.

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Ryann Nicole

Licensed Therapist, Certified Nutritionist, and Virtual Wellness Coach

Ryann is a licensed therapist and virtual wellness coach who has assisted individuals worldwide in establishing a healthier relationship with food and their bodies.

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Ryann is a licensed therapist and virtual wellness coach who has assisted individuals worldwide in establishing a healthier relationship with food and their bodies.