Before and After Pictures: 5 Tips to Remember
So, you’ve decided to give this whole health and wellness another shot. And seeing progress is one of the greatest motivators there is. However, too often, we only look at the scale for a sense of our progress. Let’s change that. Before and after photos can keep you motivated and show your true progress when the scale cannot. For example, during the FASTer Way to Fat Loss®, the goal is to build lean muscle that burns fat. Realizing that muscle is more compact than fat (it takes up less space), but is more dense than fat (the same volume amount will weigh more), the scale may not change as dramatically as you’d like. Your pictures, however, WILL! And that is where you will be able to see a visual representation and proof of your hard work. So, here are just a few tips on taking your “Before and After” photos:
- Try to wear the same clothes (or similar). If you look at all of mybefore and after photos over the last six months, you’ll see that I’m wearing basically the same thing: black “running” shorts and a black sports bra. And you’ll also see how dramatically the fit of those shorts change as I progressed through the program. Those shorts were cutting into my midsection and thighs like nobody’s business. Now, they’re are about to have to be retired because they are getting entirely too big. The point is, you can see the changes in my body because I wore a very similar thing each time. Some choose to wear underwear or a bathing suit. What you wear is completely up to you. But try to keep it as consistent as possible. Before, After (6 months)
- Take your pictures in the same place. Choose a place that is free of distractions and has a fairly clean background. This will prevent your eye from competing with something else in the picture. You want to be able to clearly see the progress you have made, so don’t water it down by having the TV playing in the background or standing in front of a bookshelf. If you have a blank wall in your home, try to use that as your backdrop each time you take progress photos. In the same
thought, try to take each photo in similar lighting at the same time of day. This will keep your images consistent and show the biggest difference.
- Take your before and afters at consistent intervals. For me, the easiest way to keep this up was to take new “after” photos at the end of each round of the FWTFL that I completed; so basically, I got a new set of photos every 6 to 7 weeks. Taking pictures too frequently can do the opposite in terms of motivation. If you don’t see grand changes, you might get discouraged. Additionally, having too many images to compare may make your progress seem insignificant across the board. Give yourself time to make progress before you update your pictures.
- Fight the urge to “suck it in.” We all want to look the best we possibly can, I get it. But these are your “where I am at” and “where I have come from” pictures. You want to make sure you are giving YOURSELF a true indication of how far you have come. So fight the urge to suck it in or give yourself a “more flattering angle.” Take those images from straight on (I know it’s scary) and let yourself relax. Keep good posture, but don’t overthink it. Remember, you don’t have to show these pictures to anyone. They are simply for you. And you’re going to be much prouder of yourself if you’re seeing the real you… not some stylized version of you.
- Get rid of the selfie stick. Ideally, have someone else take these pictures of you. You don’t have to have a fancy camera (all of mine have been taken with my cellphone) or some dramatic setup. But, as mentioned before, you want to have these photos taken from straight on. If you’re not comfortable having someone else take them, you can certainly take them in a full length mirror yourself. Just make sure you aren’t cheating the system by taking 15 photos at varying angle and heights. Again, you want these pictures to show your true transformation. So ditch the selfie stick or the Instagram pose and get real with yourself.
Before and after pictures can be POWERFUL motivation and proof of where you’ve come from. And that makes you want to keep going. So take your “before” images now… and KEEP TAKING AFTER PHOTOS! Don’t think that one set of afters is enough. Take them again and again and again. And then compare them to those very first “before” photos. You’ll be amazed at what your body can do.