You probably don’t like taking pictures of yourself. I can appreciate that. For many of us, taking pictures or seeing pictures of ourselves can bring up painful emotions.
I know there are many pictures that have made me say “God, I look so fat.” or “Eww. I can’t believe I look like that.” or “I thought I looked good in that outfit. Guess not.” or even “When am I going to get my shit together?”
One often promoted weight-loss tactic is to strip down to a sports bra and shorts (some even go down to bikini bottoms) and take selfies at various points in time. If you follow any weight loss stuff on Facebook or Pinterest, you probably see these all the time. The idea is that you’ll be able to track your progress and see how far you’ve come, creating a source of encouragement and motivation.
While I’m not opposed to encouragement, I’m not a true fan of taking half-naked pictures of myself. Call me overly self-conscious, but my heart never seems to get fully on-board when I’m doing it. Even though I never post them publicly.
What’s worse is asking my husband to take the pictures for me. We’ve been married for a long time, so it’s not like he’s seeing anything new. I just can’t say I’ve ever felt a strong desire to have my husband help me document my overweight body, though I have done it at various points of desperation.
If this approach doesn’t float your boat either, don’t let it be one more source of negativity. After all, I’ve found that when I push myself to lose weight by doing a bunch of crap I don’t like, I don’t lose weight.
Instead, leverage the opportunity to take fully clothed pictures in the course of your everyday life. I bet, if you’re like me, you scroll through your camera roll and find you’ve gone months without being photographed at all. This makes me sad when I think I about how many opportunities I’m missing to be in pictures with my kids.
Take at least one picture per month that includes your whole body. You don’t have to be by yourself. Jump in with your kids, friends or family. It takes less than five minutes.
When you look back at the pictures, you’ll know what clothes you were wearing and what size they were. And, when you start dropping sizes, it will show in your pictures.
I did not deliberately take monthly pictures of the majority of my weight loss journey, but I can piece together a history with the photos I do have. And, I’m doing this for the remaining weight I want to lose. It helps me see and appreciate how far I’ve come. Just as with my Body Gratitude Practice, I can refer back to these pictures when I need a reminder I’m making progress.
It’s true that you won’t be able to compare and examine each area of your body that has gotten smaller in the way a bra and shorts photo would enable. But we’re not going for the precision and obsessiveness that’s common in weight loss culture. In my experience, it triggers the type of eating that doesn’t support my goals.
Worst case, in a year you’ve got 12 great pictures with friends and family that you will one day be grateful for — no matter how you look.