What do body transformation pictures do to us when we see them?

Photo by Artyom Kabajev on Unsplash

Note: Contains discussion of weight/weight loss-related numbers and disordered eating.

Five years ago, I posted to my Instagram a before-and-after photo of myself. The before image was a candid and unposed shot of me from the side. I took the after picture years later in the gym post-workout, so my arms were pumped with muscle and I stood in an intentionally flattering posture.

“-65 pounds from the college days,” I wrote in my caption, adding that exercise was crucial for my mental well-being. That’s no lie, but I…


How the whiplash of the past year — from “Eat whatever you want!” to “Lose the COVID weight!”— can affect someone with binge eating disorder.

Photo by Lana Soosar on Unsplash

Note: Contains discussion of disordered eating behaviors.

The body panic began before March 2020 ended. Once it dawned on us that we’d be confined to our living rooms for more than a weekend — or a week, or two weeks — many of us feared not only that we might get sick, but that we might gain weight.

People memed about putting on “the quarantine 15” or “the COVID-19,” or that they were “fattening the…


How the pandemic upsets our sense of place in the normally-connected DMV

DC from Gravelly Point. Flickr/Prince Roy

From the sidewalk on 23rd Street South in Crystal City, Arlington, a person walking by can see through a window into the under-construction Bowlero bowling alley and sports bar. A fallen piece of taped-up butcher paper reveals the space full of freshly installed arcade games lit only by a few neon bulbs overhead. An empty claw machine promises PRIZES to no one, yet. Just around the corner on Crystal Drive, the all-day cafe and cocktail spot The Freshman also lies in wait as creeping vines on pillars out front thrive and stretch toward the sky.

These and other entertainment and…

Mikala Jamison

Freelancer in: The Atlantic, New York Times, New York Mag’s The Cut, Washington Post’s The Lily. In progress: essay collection on body image. mikalajamison.com

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