Photos.  

Who doesn’t cringe a little when it come times to say “cheese”?  I do as I’m giving my hair a quick feel check, trying to remember to suck in all while hoping that at least one of my children are smiling at the camera with me.  And I usually like to check the image right away, oh the instant gratification of digital cameras, and have my husband take another if things just aren’t looking right. 

Sound like you?  Or maybe it is just me.  

Which brings me to my next point.  Progress photos.  I’ve always noticed how fitness blogs or even just pictures posted on Facebook are used as a way to show someone’s body transformation from “before” to “after”.  As exciting as being able to see the physical changes, I have some issues with these pictures.

My initial thought is that my 128 pound body will undoubtably look way different then your 128 lb. body.  After all we are two different people with various fat and muscle content as well as different heights.  And if you or I don’t like what we see in the mirror, that could lead to too many negative thoughts.  

Not a good road to go down.  

And as hard as it is, do not compare yourself to others.  I find myself doing it occasionally, “wow, look how small her waist is” or better yet, “she has really nice calf muscles.”  But almost simultaneously, I catch myself and try to give myself a metal compliment.  We should always think positively about ourselves and appreciate the good aspects we like about ourselves, not just the physical things.

But back to the pictures.

I was recently reading someone’s personal fitness blog and how she did a 30 day diet and fitness challenge.  She displayed her day 1 and day 30 ab shots next to each other.  And there I was wishing I had her day 30 tummy, lean and muscular.  My husband looks over at my computer screen and I say in a sad voice, “I wish my stomach looked like that.”  And he reached for the best response he could come up with at that moment, “you look as good as day 1.”  

Thanks.

She clearly wasn’t happy with her day 1, but at least I looked like that.  I guess.  It was at that moment I realized progress photos tend to promote only positive feelings in those willing to post their pictures.  Clearly this woman was very proud of her hard work and dedication for the past 30 days, and I would be too, but there I was staring longingly at her abs.  Close that computer screen immediately!

Everyone’s goals are different and therefore everyone’s results will vary.  I think it can be inspiring to see someone transform themselves but for those struggling, it can be hard to look at others success.  

Therefore, I think it is a good idea to take pictures for your own, personal viewing.  I have a few from about 4 weeks post-second baby.  And boy is it encouraging to see how all those squats, pull ups, miles on the treadmill, grilled chicken dinners and kettle bell swings have paid off.    

Look honestly at yourself, not longingly at others and know that you can change anything you want.  And we should strive to be red faced and sweaty, not green with envy.

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