One summer when I was in between third and fourth grade, my grandmother came to Baton Rouge, LA, to visit and stayed at a local hotel. She invited my brothers and I to go swimming in the hotel pool, and toward the end of our water play she said, "Everyone together for a photo."
"Let me put a shirt on," I recall saying.
"Why would you do that? You've been swimming," she said.
"I'm fat," I said.
She argued back, "No you're not!"
We went back and forth a few times, but she was stubborn and always won. Looking back, I'm glad she made me stand there in my swimsuit because when I found the photo a few years ago, I realized that I wasn't fat.
Today my relationship with the camera still isn't grand. I feel awkward and am extremely self-critical. I have photo anxiety and have a hard time looking at myself in a photo without seeing what I consider to be negatives.
Even though I've been dropping inches like crazy and am able to shop for smaller clothes sizes, I haven't been seeing a lot of changes in the mirror. It wasn't until I recently saw some photos of me that I realized my body is really changing!
RELATED: Lacking motivation? Check out 30 reasons to stick to your weight loss and health goals.
In the April issue of SHAPE, I could see a difference in my face and hips. But what has also been helpful for my motivation are my personal photos. For example, the photos from last summer when I ran my first 5K compared to a recent photo in the same outfit (above) show tremendous changes. My face is thinner; my legs, arms, and shoulders are getting some definition; my hips are narrowing; and just last week in some other photos, I saw my collarbone for the first time in years! I couldn't believe it!
I may dread taking photos, but as the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words—and that's especially true as I'm losing weight. For me, some of those words are:
- You're doing it!
- Keep going!
- You can do anything you set your mind to!
At the beginning, I had planned to take progress photos in workout clothes every 10 pounds, but since the scale is moving slowly, I think I'm going to start snapping photos on the first of every month. After all, who wouldn't love 1,000 positive words every so often?