Whether you're just starting to work on your weight loss goals or you're well on your way to losing weight, it's interesting to question the pros and cons of keeping old photos in view. Below is my experience with this and whether old photos can help you lose weight.
If you've gained lots of weight and are trying hard to lose it, keeping a photo of your slimmer days could have a negative effect on your weight loss progress. Not only will it remind you of the better days, but it could make you feel angry, regretful and resentful toward yourself about your weight gain. On the other hand, keeping a photo of you in your swimsuit during your slimmer days could also be the motivation to get back into shape and eat more healthily so you can look and feel more confident again. While no one says you have to post these photos on Facebook, they are better motivators than the unrealistic swimsuit model photos some of us post on our fridges as deterrents!
If you're well on your way to losing weight, having pictures from when you were heavier around could be a double-edged sword. On one hand, they're excellent reminders of why you should stay on track and continue on your path to a slimmer, healthier you, but on the other hand, they can be painful reminders of what you used to feel like when you were heavier, and any sadness or negative feelings you felt toward yourself might not melt away with the weight. As I mentioned in a previous article, it took me awhile — even after I lost 50 pounds — to realize how much weight I'd actually lost and how I looked in reality versus how I thought I still looked. My mind didn't keep up with my physical makeover, as I still thought of my body image in a negative light. Here's where old pictures could be tricky, since they're reminders of possible painful feelings you had, and these feelings could linger or come back while you're losing weight.
When I'd look at a photo of myself from the past, I started to tune in to my initial reaction to the photo. If it was a negative reaction that mimicked the negative feelings I'd felt at the heavier weight in my photos, I thought about that and tried to find the positive so that the photos were no longer painful reminders, but trophies that displayed exactly what I'd accomplished. When I feel I'm falling into old habits or too tired to go to the gym, I remember those old photos, and I'm incredibly motivated to go to the gym and keep up with my healthy diet. When trying to decide whether to keep those old photos handy, you have to assess your reaction to them and whether you think they are helping or hindering your efforts.
What I learned was that the photos of myself at a heavier weight were nothing to be ashamed of, but reminders of why I should be proud of my weight loss accomplishments and why I should continue leading a healthy life!
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