This month has seen a lot of before and after pictures as a part of people’s plans for self improvement. As weight loss diets, healthy lifestyles and fitness routines were adopted at the start of the year, many people documented their progress.
That said, with all these before and after pictures, are people really benefiting? Alternately, could this practice be harmful to a person’s results or to their mental health? New research has started examining the practice of documenting progress in this way since it has become as commonplace as it is.
If you take before and after pictures, can you expect to see better improvement? Will this practice motivate you? Will you love seeing the results you’re getting from your weight loss, fitness or other health efforts? Should you be taking these pictures of yourself or avoiding them altogether?
As it turns out, the answer is a very personal one. Before and after pictures can be exceptionally helpful to some and can be quite harmful to others. There are many reasons that both these occurrences can be true.
Taking accurate before and after pictures at the same time of day, in the same lighting, with the same background and wearing the same clothing can help you to see your progress over time. The picture should be taken from the same angle and you should try to have the same expression on your face in each one.
Many people find that by using these pictures, they can see their progress more reliably than they can on a bathroom scale. They can compare their latest picture with a first one and notice a difference they’re not seeing in the mirror from one day to the next.
If you’re not seeing the progress you wanted, before and after pictures can be frustrating. This can be the case if you’re not changing shape as visibly as you’d hoped. That said, it can also be the case if you’re not taking accurate pictures of yourself.
Another way they can be harmful is if someone else’s images sway you to purchase a product that isn’t right for you. These images can be very convincing. That said, before and after pictures are often stock photography or may be for an item that doesn’t suit your health or weight loss needs. Read the fine print for images to make sure they were actual product users and look beyond pictures alone to make choices regarding the right weight loss products for you.