Before-and-after photos are commonplace in the online weight-loss world. Sharing your success story with others can help you track your progress, boost your motivation and push you forward. Whether or not progress shots help or hurt your efforts depends on how you use them, like many other weight-loss tools. Here is what the experts say:
Cassandra Forsythe York, Phd, RD, recommends doing before and after photos because they seem to be more accurate than the scale and they are a good booster for your motivation. Progress shots can encourage you to stick with it by showing you results over time.
Richa Mittal agrees with this practice of doing before and after photos and sees it as a way to track the progress. “Photos can help you recognize when you’re losing inches on your arms, legs, waist and face — even when the scale might not have changed much,” affirms Richa.
Nicole Ogin, CPT, says that she encourages her clients to keep track of their progress in multiple ways from progress shots and body measurements to weigh-ins and blood pressure improvements. ” Week to week there may not be huge changes in your pictures, but when you start to compare your first picture to one six months later or a year later, it can be really inspiring,” affirms Nicole.
Kristin Koskinen, RD. doesn’t agree with this trend of taking before and after photos. “I recommend tracking your progress by noticing how you feel, like how your joints ache or don’t and if you can comfortably take the stairs. This way, you’re motivated by the benefits that come with healthy lifestyle changes rather than just shedding pounds for a photo.”
Benefits of Taking Before and After Photos
- Progress shots help you track changes that aren’t necessarily evident otherwise
- The gain muscle and lose visceral fat is more obvious in photos than on scale
- If you are on a balanced diet and your skin becomes cleaner, it is also more obvious in photos and you will be more motivated to continue.
- Seeing changes in your body (like muscles you’ve never seen before) can be inspiring and encourage you to stick with your weight-loss program.
- Knowing you have to check in with a photo at the end of each week or month can also help keep your motivation up to eat healthily and show up for your workouts.
Downsides of Taking Before and After Photos
- We wouldn’t recommend using this method for tracking progress, as it could potentially trigger negative feelings about your body image or self-worth.
- Seeing a lack of progress in photos can make you feel bad about yourself and might even make you want to quit or trigger overeating.
Taking before/after photos after workouts can be good motivation for you if you see it as another way of tracking progress. Don’t use this method if you know you aren’t balanced enough to also accept negative feelings about your body. The lack of progress could make you feel bad and you could overheat.