This week, I have had the pleasure of working alongside some of recovery’s brightest stars: @lexiemanion, @declaring.dani, and @leenahlovesherself. We have been hosting an Instagram campaign called “Boycott the Before”, a week dedicated to the focus on recovery and on our current selves rather than who we were when we were sick.
Often times, before and after photos send the wrong message about eating disorder recovery, as only 1/3 of people with eating disorders are underweight. Before and after pictures promote the idea that you must prove how sick you were in order to gain validation for your recovery. This week is about celebrating your recovery and validating your progress without a focus on physical transformations or needing to prove the severity of your illness.
This week, we have had over 100 participants– and the week is only halfway through! Our participants come from all backgrounds, ethnicities, sexualities, and faiths, and I find such beauty in the unity that has come from our campaign. We, the organizers, are humbled and energized by the impact this movement is having on the recovery world.
I personally love this campaign because it does not encourage black and white thinking. We are not against before and after photos any other week of the year, as many do find them helpful for their own recoveries. I myself have posted a couple before and after photos with the intention of spreading awareness and hope that life is better without Ed. Our campaign is by no means a rule that must be followed, nor is it an all or nothing mentality.
However, we felt it was important to have one week where Instagram could collectively move away from comparisons and just focus on the awesome freedom that comes with recovery and letting go of the need to compete and prove your sickness. Fact is, if you’ve ever struggled with food or body image, your thoughts and feelings are valid and you deserve help regardless of your BMI or type of disordered eating. This week, we celebrate YOU and encourage you to join is in validating your RECOVERY.
If you want to get involved, check out our Instagram page @boycottthebefore and take a look at our website https://boycottthebefore.com . You can also purchase merchandise with our positive message on various products, including shirts, sweatshirts, water bottles, notebooks, and blankets here https://lexiemanion.threadless.com . Plus, 25% of the proceeds from purchases of our products go to Project Heal to help eating disorder warriors go to treatment to get the help they need. Of course, feel free to reach out with questions!
Why do you #BoycottTheBefore ? I’d love to see you join us!