Posted by: King Bee | June 3, 2009

Visual re-enforcement

So yeah, remember that full length mirror I was telling you about? I’ve actually discovered an even worse visual reminder that exposes our even worse angles: A friend’s photo of you, posted and tagged on Facebook.

They mean no harm. In fact to them, they only see the memory and the laughs they were having at the time. To them, you look exactly like you do and so the photo is just an organic snap shot of the moment. They were there in the room with you that day and had the full 360 degree view of how you looked, not just your full frontal, smile for the camera, hiding behind someone else, pose.

Using a social networking site like Facebook or Myspace,  or even when you post an online personal somewhere like, you only post your best side. Your best angle that shows off your best features. Your friends however, aren’t trying to showcase you. They are posting the memory to document and look back fondly on an experience. Because of this, every so often, you are forced to see a photo of yourself that you’d prefer were removed from every mind, memory and data base on the planet. But why, I wonder?

The only person we are hiding that memory from or pretending it didn’t happen is ourselves. The people who were there with us remember the whole thing. They saw our behavior and our appearance first hand. I think we need the reminder of a bad photo to have a better sense of who we are and how we’re doing. I’m surprised at how many people remove their tag from the photos as if that makes it disappear. It doesn’t. The photo is still there on Facebook for all the world to see, it’s just a little bit harder to find.

I decided awhile ago to keep all of my tags. I think it is better that I know and keep track of what is out there instead of pretending it doesn’t exist. Seems like a new theme I’ve adopted lately. Not only am I talking about the pink elephant in the room, but judging by this latest photo found on a friend’s Facebook page, I myself AM the pink elephant in the room.

If I had seen this photo a month ago, I probably would’ve burst into tears, asked my friend who posted it to remove it and eaten food until my stomach hurt and my throat burned. Today, I look at this photo and think, “today I will continue on my diet. I will not consider straying and when it comes time for me to go to the gym, I will go quietly with no internal struggle.”

I can’t hide that photo. It’s me. And from the looks of it, I was having fun in a multi-million dollar mansion on a sunny California day in April laughing with two of my best friends. I’m making a choice to be thankful for this photo instead of humiliated, in spite of the fact that my belly looks like I will be the next Octo-mom.


  1. Whenever I feel terrible about a photo that has been taken of me, everyone always seems to just love it! Ironically, I love this photo of you because you are so full of life and fun! However, I totally know how you feel 100% here.

    I am so proud of you for choosing the path of healthy eating and working out over the binge. Last night I almost fell off the wagon because of problems (going through a divorce right now) but decided to stick with it too.

    We are rock stars who can totally do this!

  2. BAUB! It is so true about the tagging photos thing. I am horrified at the pics that some people tag me in and think they are being vicious! In reality, they really love me in all of glory, 100 % of it.

    On another level, I am so excited for all of the personal growth you are experiencing. This is way more a spiritual journey than a weight loss plan. Woo hoo!

  3. Honestly I didnt even notice your belly.. just the fun emotions and friendship that was coming across in the photo. We always seem to focus on our flaws and nothing else.. yet when we look at other we only see their beauty.

  4. I actually wouldn’t have noticed but I have friend blinders on. I always just see you as vivacious and the life of the party (except in the morning, hee hee). I fully support this new way of being and thinking. People love us for who we are right now and even though we are not content with the outside, we’re working on. That’s powerful stuff!

  5. Ugh…the dreaded Facebook tag…yes, it stings when those pictures pop up on your wall for the world to see, but you are right…others just see it as a reminder of their fun day/event…we are the ones that judge so harshly. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. Great article Bob…you truly have a gift…

  7. THIS. You don’t know me, but I’ve been reading your blog and love your honesty and insight.

    I had a similar “Facebook photo” experience…a photo of me from New Year’s where my excess weight (and excess misery) we’re writ large (ugh, sorry for that pun). I did a deliberate journal entry where I tried to replace my shameful automatic thoughts with ones of compassion and kindness. I can’t say that I’ve entirely internalized that message, but I’m trying.

    Still, I have always been known to run from a camera like Sasquatch, to avoid the shame and disappointment in myself. Because what can we do when we disappoint ourselves? How can we trust ourselves when shame and self-loathing are the automatic responses?

    I think it’s those responses that lead me to find comfort in food.

    So thank you for this, this honesty, and this reminder to see photos not as evidence to fuel the self-hate, but moments to negotiate on our way to love.


  8. Bob – your blogs kinda of run on the same theme as my weight watcher meetings. This past Saturday, our leader asked us for the reason we were there – what was that “last straw” moment. Some were answers were drunk relatives stating “OMG your fat”, some were pictures they’d seen like you talk about, some were children commenting on your “fat butt”. Mine was breaking a chair at my parents on Easter. But what ever the reason – it was suggested to take a picture and use it as our motivation. Keep it as a reminder in hopes we succeed. I’ll be taking that picture of the infamous “chair” this weekend. I hope to never break another chair just by sitting on it ever again. Keep up the good work. I KNOW WE CAN DO THIS!!! Hugs,

  9. I don’t even know you but when I saw that picture right away I thought, “damn, they look like they are having fun”. You are adorable. Why is it so easy to be so hard on ourselves?? I know the feeling.

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