Are you starting a fitness journey? Whether its your first time in the gym, the first time back in a while, or this will be you 65th time trying a new workout plan. You are probably scrolling thru Instagram looking at those intense before and after photos and thinking: THAT CAN BE ME!
Let me start by saying this: You don’t have to take a before photo. What?! I know did this post just confuse you? I understand the motivating and inspirational before and after photos, wheather someone super toned up or really leaned out; maybe they lost a bunch of weight! That’s awesome. If you find this motiating personally, that is great.
However, do you at all feel any negative emotions from these photos? What I am talking about here is shame. Are you self shaming yourself and using these photos to stir up negative emotions? What I mean, is that while these photos can be inspiring they also provide a false narrative that your brain can fill in with negative thoughts.
When you see these photos, unless they are of you, you don’t know what that person did to achieve those inspiring results. I am not hating on these photos, I am simply pointing out that they can be misleading and harmful. The person in the photo could have followed a specific plan and had wild success, or they could have been following multiple plans, they could have been over training, they could have been unhealthily restricting, or they could have barely followed a plan at all but had emotional changes in their life that helped them reduce stress. It could have been a little of all this. It doesn’t actually matter. What matters is how it makes you feel.
If these photos are inspiring, that is great. Be inspired by them. But if taking a before picture makes you feel any negative judgment about yourself, tread lightly here. Remember You don’t have to take a before picture. Before and After photos should be for the person who takes them. Some people are inspired by this process, other people are reminded of all the things they don’t like about themselves.
It’s totally ok if Before and after photos totally freak you out. You don’t have to take one, maybe you take one but don’t look at it. Let me go through my suggestions.
How to Take a Before Photo
First of all, start with Where, What and Who you want to be. Write down where you are starting right now, and write down what you want to envision for the future. Try not to just think of physical goals, think about yourself completely. What are your strengths, what are your weaknesses?
If you are not ready to take a full body before picture, you can try taking a selfie. Maybe take a daily or weekly selfie, and with each selfie, I challenge you, to write down something positive about yourself. It doesn’t have to be physical. If you find yourself having trouble, recruit a friend to help you out and remind you, why you’re awesome.
If you are into having a photograph but not ready emotionally to look at it, Take a photo but don’t look at it yet. Only look at it when you start to feel a difference in your body and feel proud. You can set up an auto timer on your phone and take a full body shot without having to ask someone to take the photo.
If you want a photo and this is actually inspiring to you. Take a high quality before photo. Try to wear the same outfit in all the photos you take for progress, if you’re looking for those social media follows.
I have an approach to fitness, that if you love yourself and you love your body, you will achieve your goals. I am selling a workout plan that incorporate self love techniques as well as workouts. If your starting a fitness journey and you want to celebrate this I want you to take a meaningful before photo. If you don’t like body shots, that is totally ok. A before selfie is great too. The point of this photo is to see progress and I want you to love your before photo and accept it.
Your “before” and “after” photos and measurements can be a better way to really see your progress and accomplishments along the way toward reaching your goal. Especially because the numbers on the scale can be so misleading when you’re lifting weights.
How Often Should You Take Progress Pictures?
The answer I think for this is whenever the heck you want to. This is your journey! You can take one photo every 90 days, once a year, or you can do one twice a day! It really doesn’t matter. You can take a selfie every morning, or every Friday if they make you feel positive about yourself, DO IT!
I don’t like Photos of Myself, What do I do?
Here is a list of other ways to track your progress: especially if numbers are more motivating than photos
- Measurements – waist circumference is the best one, and easiest to track. Stand up tall, take a measuring tape to the smallest place on your stomach, without holding your breath just standing natural and neutral. Tracking this once a week or once a month can be really helpful
- How long does it take you to walk a mile and also how do you feel? Try walking a mile once a week and write down how you feel after, track that and see how you feel week to week. (If a mile is too much or you don’t have access to a treadmill, try half a mile or try on a bike or elliptical)
- Write down how you feel waking up every morning. Do You feel groggy? Did you workout yesterday and feel more awake today? Tracking your energy changes can be really rewarding starting a workout plan.
Full Disclaimer I found a blog post similar to the one I just wrote, so if you want to read more about this body shaming concept behind “Before & After” photos click here. I am glad there are more people out there noticing the issues with this obsession over appearance. I am a firm believer that fitness is not just physical. Wellness and Health are so much deeper and more important them simply how “hot” you look on Instagram.
I didn’t want this post to be an advertisement for my new workout plan, but if you like this positive approach to fitness, take a step back from all the ego and negativity in fitness, a urge you to buy my plan. I think you’ll like it, I put a lot of love in it. If you do sign up for my plan I want you to send me an email with your before selfie, so I can help cheer you along the way! My email is email@example.com