This Woman's Before-And-After Photo Reveals What Most People Get Wrong About Weight Loss

June 7th 2017

Almie Rose

Most people try to workout and eat better for the ultimate goal of weight loss. But one woman is explaining in a viral Instagram photo why that thinking is backwards.

Sarah Nicole is striking a chord with her weight loss story, which, as she reveals, is actually not about weight loss at all.

"The question I get a lot - 'is this actually possible?' Well, I'm here to tell you YES. It's possible."

That's how her Tuesday Instagram post began, along with a dramatic before-and-after photo that has gone on to receive over two thousand likes and hundreds of comments.

But here's the twist: "Now, when I say the word 'possible' I'm NOT talking about weight loss here," she adds. "At the beginning it was my goal, but I quickly learned it shouldn't be."

Because I'll say it again - the weight came off as a SIDE EFFECT of a healthy lifestyle. It is not and should not be the focus or goal.

"Otherwise, what happens next?" Nicole continues. "The yoyos [sic] continue. Instead, commit to doing something active everyday. Commit to learning more about what foods you put in your body and how they fuel you. With that knowledge you'll be equipped to make wise decisions moving forward!"

The key to her weight loss wasn't focusing on the weight loss itself, but instead, focusing on living a healthier lifestyle. This is what a lot of people miss, and as a result, they wind up in the yo-yo dieting trap. 

Kelly D. Brownell, a scientist and professor, is said to have originally coined the term yo-yo dieting to describe the practice of dieting to lose weight, quickly gaining that weight back after the diet is over, and then repeating the process. Like a yo-yo, your weight goes up and down.

He spoke to The Washington Post back in 1988 to warn Americans that yo-yo dieting "is worse than being overweight," saying, "it used to be thought that if an individual lost weight and sustained it, it was all for the good. And if the person was unfortunate enough to regain the lost weight, well, there was always another diet."

What we've learned since then is that the better approach to weight loss is to overhaul your lifestyle, not to diet.

Live Science spoke to researchers in 2013 who concluded through studies that "lifestyle, not diet types, are the true ways to prevent weight gain and the associated ills of diabetes and circulatory disease."

Sherry Pagoto, one of the lead researchers, explained to Live Science "the diet itself [is not] instrumental to the lifestyle intervention's success; it is the behavioral piece that is key."

Nicole echoed this sentiment in an email to ATTN:. "There are so many ways to achieve a healthy lifestyle, and for me it was all in changing my relationship with food and my body, all at home," she writes. "I learned throughout the process that no matter the means in getting healthy, as long as you are pursuing it—there are choices to be made everyday. Food is a struggle for me everyday. Temptation is everywhere. You don't overcome the temptations per se, you more learn to build upon the self control muscle, something that must be exercised daily."


A post shared by Sarah Nicole (@thebirdspapaya) on

"Motivations can come and go, but your choice is like any other. I often (jokingly) compare it to putting on antiperspirant," she added. "It's not a NEED to live your life, but it's something you choose to do daily, because if you don' might stink! I make these choices part of my everyday. I choose to eat based on what fuels my body and not just what fills it. I want what I eat to serve a purpose to my body's needs."