Photo Ban


“We should post before and after photos of you,” said Gwynn (the miraculous therapeutic masseuse at Body Dynamics in Falls Church, VA). “You’ve made such a change in your life – it’s exciting.”

Although I should have focused on a charming “Who – me? Why thank you!” modest reply to such a kind statement, I found I was scoffing instead.

“Before pictures? Are you kidding?”

Gwynn, long and lean and with the posture and carriage of the ballet dancer she trained to be, looked confused. “No – why?”

“There ARE no “before” pictures,” I said. “Fat women don’t like to see pictures of themselves. We hide from the camera. Stand in the back. Grab a dog or a pillow or a small man to put between us and the camera. There ARE no “before” pictures of me.”

And that’s largely true…

…and then Facebook gave me a gift this morning. “Prudence, we thought you’d like to see this post from a year ago.”

And there I was, larger than life, in a melon-colored shirt that I have since retired as being too – well, wow. My friend Robin had noted with kindness that I looked like the inside of a cantaloupe, and that was entertaining enough for me to post on Facebook about it, lifting my self-imposed photo ban. (Although you can still see the shame if you look past the “aren’t I playful?” grimace.)

So this morning – 365 days later – I attempted to recreate the shot, to see if I could do my own before-and-after. Ignore the fact that I finally had my hairs trimmed, and my oddly stupid inability to look in the same direction as the original (morning hours are NOT when I am at my best).

This is what a year of working out looks like – a year of Chip (the nutritionist at Body Dynamics) patiently informing me about what a poison sugar is – a year of working slowly up to a pathetic six minutes on the stairs and ten on the elliptical. I am guardedly pleased.



One year ago:


With thanks and gratitude to the united front at Body Dynamics who are pulling me into a better future by shear dint of will: Barbara, Gwynn, Grace, Chip, Chad, Mario, and Jen, with occasional advice from Patrick, Jorge, and Josh. It takes a village to raise a child; it takes a team of no less than seven experienced professionals to get me off my increasingly-less-fat ass!

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