If you’re like most people who don’t like their body, you probably avoid photos at all costs.
You’re always the one taking the photos, and if you can’t avoid being in them, you hide at the back because you’re ashamed and embarrassed about how you look.
But giving into your fear of being in front of a camera actually contributes to you being overweight.
However, when you confront this fear, your body transformation photos can be one of the most powerful weight loss tools you have. Research actually shows that taking regular progress photos will help you to be more successful in your body transformation.
At Imani Tribe, we understand the power that progress photos have, which is why we take 6-12 week progress photos of all of our clients, and why we celebrate their achievements with an end-of-year photoshoot.
Here are some of the reasons why having your photo taken could be the best thing you ever do.
Photos show your reality
The reason most people hate their photograph being taken is because facing reality is too painful. A lot of people who avoid being photographed know they’re overweight, but often don’t realise the extent of their problem, because they live in denial. However, this leaves you powerless.
Photographs can be confronting, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve had yours taken. However, having your photograph taken is one of the first things you need to do when you begin a body transformation or weight loss program. This is the first step to reclaiming your power to losing weight.
Photos show you your reality. When you’re aware of your reality and acknowledge it, you’ll be able to see what you need to change. This gives you power, because the truth is, you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.
Photos help you address your habits
We all have habits that contribute to our body shape. If our body shape isn’t what we want it to be, we need to work on the habits that have led us to where we are.
As they say, a picture tells a thousand words. A photograph will reveal your habits that you’re not aware of, that have led you to be overweight in the first place.
As we touched on above, a key habit that many have is the fear of being seen for where they are. The reason people don’t want to be seen is because they are ashamed and embarrassed about their body, and are afraid of being judged. Living with this fear creates a whole lot of stress, which impedes your ability to lose weight, by slowing down your metabolism.
By addressing this habit and letting yourself be seen for where you are, you’ll be less stressed, and will have the power to do what it takes to lose your weight.
Other habits that lead you to self-sabotage, which can be overcome by having your photo taken are perfectionism, weighing yourself constantly, counting calories, and lack of confidence.
Photos help you stay accountable and on track
Having body transformation progress photos also helps you stay accountable. When you know you’re having a progress shot taken, you’re more likely to do what you need to do, instead of picking and choosing what you’d like to do.
Having a regular check-in also means you’re less likely to fall off the wagon. Knowing your photo will be taken will help you make better choices when it comes to food, and will provide the motivation you need to get to your exercise sessions. This level of accountability makes it easier to do what you need to do, when you least want to do it.
Photos motivate you to keep going
There’s nothing like progress to motivate you to keep going. When you notice a difference between your before and after photos, you’ll be more motivated to continue doing what you need to do to keep progressing.
Photos prevent self-sabotage and binge eating
If you focus purely on the scales to monitor your weight loss success, and don’t notice them budging, you can become disheartened. When we don’t notice a change in the scale weight, we’re more likely to self-sabotage and indulge in binge eating or excessive drinking, because our thought process is usually along the lines of “this isn’t working so what’s the point”.
Basing progress on scales alone is also why many people jump from one diet to the next. However, photos don’t lie. Plenty of people, including our clients, notice that their body is completely different in a progress photo, even if the scales are the same. Seeing a change, even if it seems small, can be the difference between giving up and continuing.
Photos show you how far you’ve come
The process of losing weight and changing your body shape permanently, without a ‘quick-fix’ can take time. Sometimes it can be easy to forget where you’ve come from or to think that you haven’t made much progress, or things aren’t happening at all. However, photos can be a good reminder of where you’ve been and just how much progress you’ve made. This makes it easier to stay on track and to celebrate what you’ve achieved so far.
Photos help you celebrate invisible success
Body transformation progress photos can show you the invisible success that you can’t see by looking in the mirror. Signs of invisible success include less inflammation, clear skin, healthier hair and nails, and better posture. And the smile in your latest picture shows you that you’re also happier than you were when you first started. This is a big achievement!
Photos can remind you why you started in the first place
Changing your body shape and losing weight has its ups and downs. Sometimes you’ll be tempted to throw in the towel and give up, or become complacent when you start seeing results. But looking back at a photo can help remind you why you started in the first place, and why it’s so important that you don’t give up.
A photo of you looking at your worst can be all you need to help you re-focus and re-commit. Similarly, a photo of you when you were at your ideal weight or feeling the happiest, can also spur you on to keep going.
Photos stop you from focusing on the scale or your ‘problem areas’
Most people focus on the scales or their ‘problem areas’ (e.g. tummy, hips and thighs) when they’re trying to lose weight. As we mentioned above, your body shape can change without the scales changing at all, so this isn’t a true indication of what’s happening. When you only focus on the areas you want to change, such as your stomach or hips, it can be frustrating to see that not much is happening. However, these areas can be one of the last to change. If you only focus on these areas, you won’t notice other changes that might be happening, including leaner shoulders, more shape through your waist, or losing fat from your back.
Photos show you the WHOLE picture and will help you to stop fixating on a particular part of your body, or the scale.
Photos show ALL of your progress
Of course, when you want to lose weight, you want to notice a drop in the scales. But as we said above, scales are not a true indication of how well you’re doing. While they measure weight, they don’t show you the whole picture. They don’t show posture or changes in body composition (e.g. less fat, more muscle). Photos on the other hand do. They’ll show if you’ve lost weight, got better muscle definition, a leaner stomach, stronger arms, less fat on your back, and if you’re wearing smaller clothes.
Photos help you document your journey
The process of transforming your mindset and lifestyle to have the body you want can take time. Sure, you can go on a diet or a quick-fix fad and lose weight quickly, but you’ll never keep it off. The process of transformation addresses your habits and your mindset so you can lose the weight permanently. Taking regular progress photos will document this journey. As you look back over your photos, you’ll see how much your body has changed, which will keep you excited to keep progressing.
Photos provide valuable data
When you work with a coach, one of the key things that will help you succeed and keep you moving forward is data. Regular body transformation photos are an important form of data your coach needs to keep you moving forward. Photos will show them what’s working, what’s not working, what needs tweaking and what doesn’t need changing. Without data, all advice is just guesswork.
Photos will help your coach know if they need to make changes to your program to get the result you’re after. Photos will also show your coach what habits you’ve changed and what parts of your body are beginning to change, which will indicate that you’re on the right track. They’ll also show whether you’ve actually been putting in the work you say you’ve been putting in, which will also help you and your coach identify what hurdles or challenges you’re currently struggling with.
Photos help others support you
Your partner, family or other people who see you regularly may not notice that your body is changing, which can make it hard for you, when you’re waiting for some praise. But having some progress photos taken is a great way for you to show them how far you’ve come. When those closest to you see how hard you’ve been working and what you’ve achieved, they’ll give you the praise and positive feedback you’re looking for, and will be more supportive of your efforts. Knowing that they’re proud of you and cheering you on will also give you a boost to keep going.
Photos show the hard work that no one else sees
Losing weight and changing your body shape involves a lot of hard work. It also involves sacrificing some things to have what you really want. Most people won’t see the hard work that goes into a body transformation — meal prepping, regular workouts, learning to put yourself first, putting an end to people-pleasing, nailing your sleep, learning a new mindset, and getting up early to get to your training sessions, etc. However, your progress photos will show exactly how far you’ve come and what you’ve done along the way to get to where you are.
Photos help you become more confident
Confronting your fears is one of the best ways to improve your confidence. If you’ve been hiding away from the camera for years, having your photo taken can be terrifying. But the more you do it, the less scary it becomes. After a while, you won’t be afraid of the camera, and you’ll feel more confident than you ever have.
Building confidence through confronting fears is one of the key reasons we celebrate our clients’ hard work with a photoshoot each year. Not only does it show their physical progress, but it shows how far they’ve come in terms of confronting fears. All of our clients gain more confidence by doing a photoshoot.
Photos help you become the person you need to be to lose weight
Losing weight and keeping it off isn’t about diet and exercise. It’s about transforming into the person you need to be, to be able to achieve your goals. All of your current fears, insecurities and habits have gotten you to where you are now. So in order to get out of your situation, you need to overcome these fears, insecurities and habits. Having regular progress photos will help you do this. Knowing you’re having regular photos will help you do the work involved in addressing your habits, because you won’t want to see photos that show you’re going backwards or not progressing. Confronting your fears will release those insecurities, and will build your confidence, leaving you more self-assured, and less likely to run away from other things that scare you. In short, having your photo taken regularly, will help you become the person you want to be, and will release you from the shame and embarrassment you feel about your body.
How to take your before and after photos
Now you know how important body transformation progress pictures are, you probably want to know how to take your before and after (progress) photos. Here are our tips:
Don’t cover up — It may be confronting, but take photos showing as much skin as possible, as this will help you see changes more easily. Avoid leggings, and clothes that cover up your shape. Those who cover up in their first photo always regret doing it, because their first photo never showed where they really were, and they can’t see how much their body has changed since they started.
Date photos — This can be a sheet or paper with the date on it, the daily newspaper, or anything else your coach recommends.
Wear the same clothes — Aim to wear the same thing, or something similar as this will enable greater comparison between photos.
Use a plain, light background — Take photos against a plain background with no objects, patterns or colours that can be distracting.
Take a full-body photo — You’ll need to ask someone else to do this for you, but it will be worth it. Make sure your whole body is in the photo, including your face. Ensure that you stand up straight and you are centred to fit the frame of the camera.
Take photos from 3 angles — You need front, back and side photos for optimal comparisons.
Use natural light — If you can’t use natural light, ensure that there is as much light as possible with no shadows.
Stand up straight — Don’t slouch, or fold your arms. Stand up straight with your arms by your side. Distribute your weight evenly between your feet. Use this same pose each time.
Take photos regularly — This is why we take photos of our clients every 6-12 weeks in order to monitor their progress.
Are you ready to let go of shame and embarrassment?
If shame and embarrassment has made you afraid of letting other people see you as you are, we can help you. We have worked with many clients who have felt just as you do so we know we can help you too.