You Are Not a Before Picture

How to finally make peace with your body, for good

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Pub Date 16 Aug 2022 | Archive Date 06 Sep 2022

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An urgent, enlightening and empowering guide to disavowing diet culture and learning to make peace with our bodies, from body confidence and anti-diet advocate, Alex Light.

When we look in the mirror, so many of us see a ‘before’ picture: the miserable person in the side-by-side shot waiting for the ‘glow-up’ (read: weight loss) that will bring true happiness. But it’s not our fault that we see our bodies as projects in need of constant work: this is just one of the beliefs that has been ingrained in us by diet culture. We have been taught to view ourselves as a collection of ‘problem’ areas for which the billion-dollar diet industry holds the solutions.

Step-by-step, You Are Not A Before Picture provides a framework for changing the way we view ourselves and the world around us. Working with experts in the fields of psychotherapy, fitness and nutrition, Alex empowers readers to interrogate their underlying beliefs, challenge the external and internal forces that are holding us back, and finally find freedom in our bodies, for good.

An urgent, enlightening and empowering guide to disavowing diet culture and learning to make peace with our bodies, from body confidence and anti-diet advocate, Alex Light.


Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9780008507565
PRICE $28.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 12 members

Featured Reviews

I really, really enjoyed this book! It was uplifting, teaches about self confidence, and was exactly what I needed.

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Wow, I am blown away by the level of detail author Alex Light put into this text. I feel so seen by many of the experiences she shared and greatly enjoyed the way it felt like we were having a conversation over coffee. Light focused on all bodies rather than solely that of her own identity, which goes beyond what many other authors are doing. This text includes a lot of current trends, buzzwords, and connects well with current social media movements. Rather than basing much of the work on her own experiences, she brings in strong voices of professionals in the margins to enhance access to the book. I will happily be sharing this with my friends upon publication!

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You are Not a Before Picture: How to Finally Make Peace with Your Body, for Good by Alex Light

As someone who has struggled with body image and disordered eating, I found this book to be a welcome resource. In the first half of the book, Light has provided a concise and accurate primer on diet culture, its origins and iterations, its lies and harm. From a very young age, we are all recipients of diet culture’s messaging, which has only become more powerful with the advent of social media. With awareness of diet culture and its pervasiveness, readers can see that they, and their bodies, are NOT the problem. Just knowing that isn’t enough unfortunately, which is where the second half of the book comes to the rescue. Here, Light explains how to improve our negative perceptions of ourselves, steps to take away from dieting and toward intuitive eating and how to find joy in exercise again.

Light uses many resources to back up each and every chapter of this book. She gives examples from her own life and lives of others, points to recommended reading, and provides Instagram handles to follow for continued encouragement. This book is incredibly readable and each chapter offers something complete and helpful on its own. There was something that I could relate to on just about every page and the second half of the book provides real, actionable steps. Light is also careful to mention her privilege as a straight-sized white woman with access to mental health care and brings in diverse voices.

I love the design of the book as well and hope to get my hands on a physical copy as soon as possible. Throughout, quotes are pulled out from the text and displayed in pink boxes. They are almost all quotes that I picked out to highlight myself. There are also minimalist illustrations of bodies by Louise Evans that I absolutely adored. With so many of them, I thought “That looks like me! And it’s so beautiful!” They are a perfect accompaniment to Light’s message in this book.

In the final chapter, Light says, “[Life’s] too short to live as a ‘before’ picture. You are not a ‘before’ picture…We are living, breathing, multi-faceted, talented human beings whose true beauty cannot be captured in a picture…Our bodies are merely the vessels that hold all the good stuff.”

Thank you to @netgalley and @harper360 for the ARC.

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This is a must-have resource to help one improve mental health, resiliency, and live a more full and happy life. It is full of great strategies, advice, and easy to implement ideas. This is one I'll return to again and again. Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.

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A great book! While I couldn’t relate to all of it, the author herself acknowledges that you don’t have to relate to every chapter and that some will stand out to yourself more than others - and that’s what happened here for me. It was a positive book and I very much so enjoyed reading it.

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Every single woman needs a copy of this book. I have followed Alex for a few years and absolutely love her page. This book was incredible and exactly what I needed to hear. She did an amazing job with this book!

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As someone who is currently working on body acceptance, I was excited to read this book. It was well-written and I liked the tone. I think many women will be helped by it.

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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC! This was a really neat book. I enjoyed reading it and I learned a lot while reading this. The little call-outs in each chapter were nice and good reminders of how to start thinking about your body and self in a better light. I also really liked how the author talked about the history and culture of the ideal body, and also the author's own experiences with her body. I loved the emphasis on intuitive eating rather than dieting or restricting and that was really nice to see.

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You Are Not a Before Picture: How to Finally Make Peace With Your Body For Good by Alex Light


TW: eating disorders, weight stigma

Body confidence, beauty, and fashion blogger summarized the critical themes of what keeps many individuals entrenched in body shame, eating disordered behavior, dieting, and at odds with their bodies. This book delves into both the facets of body image and intuitive eating, highlighting how diet culture developed, sustains, and wreaks havoc on our well being. This books balances personal accounts of tackling weight stigma, disordered eating, and body image with facts and information from research in a consumable, relatable manner. It is easy to read without weight of statistics and research findings some nonfiction books contain. This is must read content for women looking to expand the understanding of the anti diet world or who may simply be open to healing their relationship with their body. Dive in and share so we can keep pushing back on diet culture with shared knowledge!

Mode: 📱thank you to NetGalley and Harper 360 for allowing me to review and advanced copy e book in exchange for this review.

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“We are living, breathing, multi-faceted, talented human beings whose true beauty cannot be captured in a picture.”

A helpful read for anyone who has ever dealt with body image insecurities. Alex Light has done extensive research on this topic. Most illuminating was the look at diet culture, its origin, and why it achieves the opposite of what it intends to. Look no further than the Minnesota Starvation Experiment to learn why diets are not effective. In fact, they are harmful. This book also discusses how diet culture has racist and sexist undertones as well.

The latter part of the book is an advice guide on liberating yourself from this insidious diet culture. At times, the content felt repetitive, but I also think it should be. The author’s intention was to drive the message home in as many ways as possible and help it resonate with as many people as possible. As someone who has encountered many of the issues faced in this book, I found it to be a validating and insightful read. I will be following Alex Light on social media so that I can continue to benefit from her journey and influence.

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This book dives deeply into the history and subculture of dieting in a way that expands the readers knowledge while breaking down the diet culture norms we've become accustomed to. It was mind opening and a great read.

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