Ask Heidi Anything: Why Do I Need To Take Before and After Pics?

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Before and after photos. Why do we make such a big deal of them? Because they ARE a big deal! And they are essential to giving yourself an accurate subjective view of yourself. Let’s face it – the mirror lies to us! We might be down to our goal weight (after tens to hundreds of lbs lost), but what we see in the mirror is the same old person we saw ourselves as when we started!

Have you been there before? Well, you’re not alone. Every single one of our Extreme Weight Loss peeps has dealt with the same issue. They find themselves depressed after their first 3 months, after sometimes over 100 lbs lost, because they just don’t see it in the mirror! Without fail, the before and after photos (side by side) that Chris and I helped them take along the way SAVES the day! It is an immediate accurate gauge of how far they have come. They all of a sudden can appreciate all of the hard work they have put in, and can remember the depth of darkness they felt before that they never want to return to again.

Standing bare in front of a mirror, or in front of a friend to take a pic can be terrifying. I get it. But don?t let that stop you. This is all part of the process; part of coming to terms with and accepting who you are. Once you do this, transformation is possible :). Trust me, when you reach your goal you?ll be amazed at how your body has changed, and forever grateful that you took those pictures! So go for it – snap your first picture today:).

42 Responses

  1. I have met my goal look and work to maintain it but I don’t feel like it is enough or the satisfaction of meeting the goal. Instead, I feel like the same person and feel disappointed that the goal is met and am not sure of what to do next other than backtrack or set extreme goals so I can make “progress” again to feel worthwhile. Meeting the next goal becomes more and more driven which makes me wonder why I am working so hard in one area. It makes me wonder

  2. Hi,
    I have just finished reading Chris new book .Loved it.Amazing.

    I have only 5kgs to loose.

    My question is in regarding my health issues. I am a chronic fatigue suffer for 14 years I manage it, always wanted a great body that I am proud of, I want to achieve that.How do I tweak the plan in the book in regards to the exercise I know will check with my doctor as well. .I normally walk most days can do that about 40mins.
    I was thinking maybe do the resistance twice a week .one day upper ,other day lower?.What do you think?.
    Can you eat gluten free bread on this plan as I am a coealic.bread consist of (potato and besan flour)?..



  3. Hi Heidi,
    I’m overweight and am training for a half marathon. I have not changed my eating habits and am maintaining my weight. My question is why is my butt looking better (according to my hubby) and I’m still wearing my maternity bras? Ps- I do upper body cross training every third day

    1. Everyone loses weight differently. With your walking/running, it will affect your legs, thighs and such so that may be why you are seeing changes there more quickly.

  4. I have been working on myself for the past 10 months. I have been really reading into what you & your husband have been saying. I have been doing low carb & high protein lifestyle change and walk 1 mile 4-5 times a week. I have lost a total of 87lbs and couldn’t be happier. I have hit a plateau. Any ideas on how to hurdle over this?

  5. Hi Heidi,

    I am in a bit of a vicious circle. I am overweight and want to exersise, however, I herniated 3 discs in my back last year. I am terrified to exersise incase I injure/herniate the discs again but, part of the issue is the extra weight I am carrying. Do you have any exersise recommendations?
    Thanks so much,

  6. I know I’m not the only family that is in that GAP. We make just a little to much for SNAP (food stamps) and really cannot afford groceries so we rely on a food pantry for our groceries. how about some ideas for good recipes with what we get there – breads, canned and boxed foods.

  7. Hi Heidi,
    When choosing a powder or pre made shake, is there a certain amount or range if protein we should be looking for? Like Muscle Milk premise has 25 grams of protein. Is that too much?? I look at the sugars and keep them low around 3 grams. But don’t want to overdue the protein and gain weight. Please help. My first day of carb cycling.

  8. Heidi, what advice do you have for a diabetic trying to lose weight.
    I walk 14 miles per week, eat a low carb diet and have actually gain weight. What am I doing wrong?

  9. Hi Heidi,

    I have a question regarding fitness. In the last two weeks I started my weight loss journey. I’m actually a graduate of gastric bypass surgery backin 2002, but after having a baby (and gaining no weight with him) I put on approx. 43 lbs over the course of three years. I am now working out about two hours a day most days with about one hour of that being cardio and the rest strength trainng at a gym we joined. My question relates to my knees (and I suppose thigh area). They are very week. I tried a spin class and after spinning sitting down i had no strength to spin standing up. How do I strengthen them so I can do squats and such and be able to bring my own weight back up?

  10. Hi Heidi, I saw you went to an acupuncturist. I live in Scottsdale and heard they can help people with Tourettes syndrome. My son was diagnosed at an early age and there is no cure. Can you email me with the name of yours? Thank you so much.

  11. Ok so I have lost 48 pounds but I never took a before photo. People told me I should but I told them I have a picture of me but I was fully clothed. Is it too late to take the photo? People tell me I look smaller but sometimes I dont feel smaller. I want to continue to lose weight since I have a lot more to lose. I guess it better late then never to take that photo.

  12. Hey there!
    I’d like to have your opinion on something. I’d like to know, how much workout you should/can do while being pregnant? Anything you shouldn’t do?

  13. Since April I have lost 56 pounds. And sometimes when I look in the mirror I think I don’t look any different. Thank goodness for the progress pics I take and post on my Facebook page. I often need to go there and look at them in order to remind myself how far I really have come since April.

  14. Heidi,
    I agree! I lost 165 pounds, down from 341, and when it came time for pictures of me before, it was difficult to find any. I was never in front of the camera, I was always behind the camera. I have gained 30 pounds back of what I lost and am now working to remove the fat again and am back in the groove of weight loss. It is much more difficult at this point due to age, although possible. I have a total of 72 pounds to lose. I enjoy reading your comments.

  15. @realheidipowellI have done this and I completely agree with you. I never want to go back to what I was before ever! It kind of makes me sick! But I also still have a lot of work to do after taking a picture recently to help me keep me motivated! I wish I could share it with you so I can get any advice on it! We live so close to each other and my husband I wish we could just workout with you and/or get your help. My husband wants me to write Chris because he wants his help, but doesn’t want to be on the show. I don’t know what to do. Sometimes it’s easier to get help from a stranger then your own wife like me because we’re too close and so he doesn’t really head to my advice…not that I’m perfect by any means! Hope this makes sense, but just wanted you to know at the very least we appreciate your blog, the show, and your advice so thank you! Still wish we all could work out together though since we’re both in the same city/valley!

  16. I put the Picts in the back of a picture in a picture frame -only a stupid thief would look there….lol!

  17. I struggle so much with taking pictures. I don’t even like looking at myself in the mirror without make-up but after reading your post I understand the importance. So, I am off to get down in my bra and panties and take a picture… Here goes nothing.

  18. What tips do you have for extremely picky eaters? I just finished reading Chris’s book choose more to loose more. I really want to get started but I’m afraid of the food part. I am a extremely picky eater. Raw veggies have never been apart of my menu. I really don’t like them. I don’t want to give up on loosing weight because of that but I’m afraid I won’t stick with it because of the foods I don’t like. How can I make this really work for me? Can you help me? I truly need to loose 50-60 lbs and my husband really needs to loose 100 lbs or more. I’m the one that feels the need to have foods around then I don’t want them and my husband is the type that if its here he eats it. We are complete opposites. He’s been unemployed for two years now because of a ruptured disc in his low back and a torn miniscus in his left knee. They didn’t want to do surgery until he looses some weight well that hasn’t happened with all the stress and pain. We really need to get started with this lifestyle change and I need help with the food fear.

    1. It’s all about what you want more. Getting past your food fear (as you put it) is key to your success. Take it one day at a time. Start with veggies you DO like. Remember the part of the book that talks about integrity and keeping promises to yourself? That’s what it’s going to take. Make a promise that for one day you’re going to eat exactly from the plan. Keep that promise. Then the next day do it again. Pretty soon you’ll start to see the changes in your health and body and it will be worth it to learn to love those veggies. Just like so many people have a fear of exercising and really don’t enjoy it at the beginning of their journey, by the end they love it. You can have the same experience with food. Good luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Before and after pics are crucial to never ever go back to what you once were!!! I lost 39 lbs, down 4 dress sizes, am 63 yrs old and have turned the clock back. I feel healthy once again. When I look at my before and after I vow to never ever be the “before” person ever again! Being a grandmother gives you the excuse to be heavier because as we age we think it is okay, but it is not! Health issues soon take over when you allow weight to go out of control. Those health issues no longer exist, thank God! Thank you Chris and Heidi for helping me get there!

  20. Hi Heidi! I love you guys! I started my diet a few weeks ago and was feeling great, but I had something happen and went right back to eating the way I was. I am excited you posted this video, because it made me rethink about taking a before photo. Maybe I wouldn’t get discouraged as fast. I am so ashamed of my body and scared someone might find the photo. I like your idea of hiding it some where to go back to later. Thank you Heidi! Wish me luck everyone on starting this healthy live style over again. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Amen! Thank you for encouraging everyone to take a before photo. I began my weight loss journey 3 years ago. I wanted to loose 40lb. but, after loosing 20lbs, my scale stood still. I thought that I was a failure until I looked at my progress pics. I realized that, while I hadn’t lost much weight past 20lbs, I HAD gained muscle and lost fat! My body looked completely different and it helped to have that before pic to remind myself that I was still getting healthy, despite what the scale said.

  22. Right on time, I have been thinking about this ALL day! I set out to get healthy and I didn’t care how my body changed for the better on the OUTSIDE… so I didn’t purpose to take a before since that wasn’t my goal. TOTALLY regret it! I was “thin”ish before and now I’m down 10 lbs and many inches… was sure I had a bathing suit pic from last year but I deleted them all because I was self-conscious! I’ll take one tomorrow!

  23. You are so right. I have lost 133 lbs over a two year period but still see the fat lady in the mirror. I got out my biggest pair of pants I ever had and could put both legs in one. I forgot how much I have changed! It is good to look back at yourself and remember where you came from. Thank you Heidi and Chris for all you do for us. You both are so motivational and inspiring!!!!!

  24. Hello Heidi, The other day I tried contacting Chris via e-mail on his site, but was not able to find a link to send him a personal note. So far, I have not heard from anyone who might manager his incoming mail/posts on FB. I am a Senior Citizen, have degenerating disc disease, and have been very sedentary and very much overweight for quite a while, mainly due to two neck surgeries. I used to swim a mile a day, taught water exercises, walked 8 miles a day, and was a tournament golfer. I would love to get information on the special “EXERCISE POOL” that Chris had installed for “Alyssa”, from Kalamazoo, Mi. I got so excited when I saw that pool, and thought at least I could do that. Although I live in Southern, CA, perhaps you can just send me the name of the company that made and installed that pool, and I can take it from there. The one thing I know I can do is water exercises, and perhaps even swim against the current, while staying in one place. Anxiously awaiting your reply. PLEASE!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Photos and measuring are the absolute scariest things for me. The photos more than the measuring because, to be honest, I really never quite expect to see what the photo is showing me.

  26. Actually to expand on it, people should take “progress photos”. I do that for my husband from time to time. I need to do if myself. Basically do the first set of photos (front, back, and one side… to have a “360”-ish view of yourself). Then maybe every 30 days do another set. Wear as little amount of clothing your comfortable with and have some one you trust to take them. Best not to do self mirror shots… it just make the angles all wonky. By do regular photo sets, you can compare them to the previous ones… see progress made, notice problem areas to focus on, etc. Also good to help examine your body in hard to see places for blemishes, moles, etc that you hadn’t noticed before that might need medical attention.

  27. Thank you so much for posting this. This year I have lost 75lbs. Everyone says how amazing it is, and is its, but when I look in the mirror I see the same person. A friend once said, “you must feel amazing” and physical I do, but I thought I would feel beautiful and sexy right away. I am so glad to know it is normal and a way to help. I am going to go print pictures now!

  28. I have a quick question and you might be able answer it for me: So I have a question. I currently weigh 196 and is 5’3″ age is 41 my goal weight is 130, I would like to hit that goal by April is that doable first of all? Next question is what should my daily calorie intake be I have been doing 1200 but, want to make sure I am not hurting myself in the long run. I have cut out soda junk and drink a gallon of water a day also cut down on sugar intake. I do the treadmill an hour a day 5 days a week and every other day I have been using Chris Powell work out level 1 soon to be stepping up to the level 2. I have since July 13th I lost 14lbs and over 22 inches. I just want to make sure I am doing the right things to achieve my goal. Any feed back would help thanks

  29. I don’t even know if you will read this,but I am 5’3 and 195 and 47 yrs old.I am so miserable and stay tired all the time also.I ask people about how to start at loosing weight and all I get is just do it…I know this much..I wanna know what to eat,what to buy?? I am a fried potato junkie.I eat to much of it and i know this..breakfast is my fave meal of the day. I just need to know how to start….Suggestions PLEASE…

  30. oooh… me in my undies in front of a camera. That has “scary” written all over it haha! The reasons you stated are good ones though… so I will laugh off the inner-embarrassment and pose for the camera. Maybe that will help kick-start the momentum I so desperately need to take this weight off. Thank you Heidi!

  31. Hi Heidi! I know you probably get a ton of questions and pleas for help losing weight, But Always being bigger, im not looking to become skinny. I want to be healthy. Im 25 and I Gave birth to two beautiful girls in June, and not only did I gain my twins, I gained 50lbs that I just cannot drop. I joined a gym, went for 3 days and haven’t went in 3 weeks. The only time im able to go is in the mornings at 5:30, and now that the girls are getting a little older they want to stay up and play at 5:30am and I really don’t want them to wake my husband because he works at 8am in the mornings and I feel bad. Plus my eating habits are terrible, cookies and chocolate binging has become my norm…What should I do? im 250lbs and im really wanting to be under 200lbs..And being mama and also pregnant i was hoping you would have some advice.thank you

  32. I wish I had taken some before pictures when I started my journey in April. I avoided the mirror and cameras so badly I just couldn’t do it. But now that I’ve lost 36 of my 72 lbs to lose, I wish I had some reference. Still, looking at my chart continuously step down toward my goal is satisfying ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. I wish I had done the before pic in just my bra / underwear. I have before pics of me wearing the clothes you talked about in the video.
    Thanks for all you do in helping people transform their lives!

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