How important are 'Before' photos to those who've succeeded?

I'm always reading about random regrets of not taking or not having any 'Before' photos when weightloss and/or fitness challenges are started. How motivating do you think they are for yourself if you take them? I know other people's photos motivate me.

Many people like to post them publicly (Thank you so much to these courageous people - you are all SO great!) and for those that aren't comfortable with that, they could just be kept in a file for your eyes only. I'm not sure what camp I fall into yet, but I know I'm thinking of taking them this time. At the very least for my own personal diary.

Reading on how motivating it can be and keeping a consistent record of photos and measurements (once a week, once/twice a month, etc.) will have me trying to take the dreaded 'before measurements' and some headless body selfies today, since I have no one to take them for me and despite visiting this site a lot, it's time for me to get serious TODAY. I think we don't notice those small changes that others might and that changing photos can keep us really motivated.

I regrettably destroyed quite a few before heavy pics before my first successful weight loss round a few years ago because I hated them and my emotions got the best of me. I might have one or 2 fuzzy, fat photos left. This time on Round 2, after stupidly gaining some weight back, I hope it'll be different!!

It's not easy to snap different angles of the fleshy flab-fest going on for me right now, so I hope others can encourage me and others to JUST do it and that it IS indeed a good thing. Sports bra and workout shorts, here I *ugh* come.



  • i didnt take any, and i'm regretting it.
    at the time i didnt want any. but i wish i took some. just so i can see the progress.
    but even though i didnt take any full body shots before the weight loss, there are pictures of me around at my heaviest and i've found myself looking back at them when that motivation leaves a little. nothing like a good reminder of where you were and where you dont want to be to get your butt to the gym.
  • clareyoung80
    clareyoung80 Posts: 177 Member
    I think they are very important - especially as during my journey my brain forgets what heavier weights were like. I have no concept of what it was like to be at my heaviest because I feel exactly the same now. It's really weird. So I need my 'big jeans' and my before photos to remind me how much I've changed.

    I did all my 'official' before photos in a goal bikini, which makes me look...dreadful. Those ones are certainly for my eyes only!!!
  • AddieOverhaul
    AddieOverhaul Posts: 734 Member
    I really really wish I had taken proper before photos at my highest weight so I could really see clearly how far I've come (and show off a bit!)

    There is no reason NOT to take them. They may never be seen by anybody, but you will likely regret it if you don't take them.
  • TheGymGypsy
    TheGymGypsy Posts: 1,023 Member
    I wish I had taken before photos at my highest weight, including full body shots and underwear. Unfortunately the one in my profile picture is the only one I have, and that is after losing my first 20 pounds. I was really camera shy back then so almost no photos exist of me from back then. I wish I had some more comparison photos though!
  • I_Will_End_You
    I_Will_End_You Posts: 4,397 Member
    Do it. If you don't, you'll likely regret it when you reach your goal.
  • mellenorris
    mellenorris Posts: 99 Member
    Go for it! I never did at my highest weight, but I did 10 pounds ago. My progress has been really, really slow. When I hit the 10# down mark, it was nice to take new pictures and see the differences. They're small, but they motivate me :)

    You don't have to post them publicly now, but I bet you'll want to when you've reached your goals!
  • mygrl4meee
    mygrl4meee Posts: 943 Member
    I didn't take pictures as in this one picture is my before picture but at times I did get photos snapped of me that I thought were nice ones of me. I started doing progress picture 10 lbs in. I think its important cause when weight is coming off slow or I am feeling fat or just want to eat and eat. I can go look at all my pictures. I actually created an album on Facebook so I can look at them easily and every day if I need to.
  • Do it. I didn't take real before photos until I had already lost 50 lbs. I really regret it!!
  • redheaddee
    redheaddee Posts: 2,005 Member
    Absolutely, astoundingly, unequivocally required. I found my before from 2 years ago and almost cried. I have "only" lost 40, but have come such a long way. I look like a new person. And it's awesome.
  • jamiesillimandunn
    jamiesillimandunn Posts: 270 Member
    Huge !! Take them ...even at my highest must terrible weight especially in pic I never felt That big ...but I was even now I still feel like the same person but those pics say their own words when I look back I'm amazed , ONE because no one said anything lol...and two because the results are CRAZY ! I NEVER want to go back to that so I look and say holy moly ..never again ! Take them and hide them whatever ...but you will want them :)
  • BobcatGirl110
    BobcatGirl110 Posts: 364 Member
    It's critical! I wish I had more before I started losing weight....from the last few years. I did start documenting my loss but I wish I had more "befores" for comparison. Take them! You won't regret it AND they serve a great purpose when you are losing by putting them side-by-side....sometimes you can't see your changes until you put the pics next to each other.
  • shutterbug282
    shutterbug282 Posts: 588 Member
    I think they're very important. I've taken some before I completely overhauled my eating and workout regime. I regret not taking any before that though :)
  • wizbeth1218
    wizbeth1218 Posts: 358 Member
    Do it do it do it do it do it do it do it.

    And in case that wasn't clear enough...

    DO IT!

    It is a HUGE motivation! I took photos every month. Those months when I felt like the scale hadn't moved like I thought it should, I could look at my Before picture and realize how far I had come.

    My before picture(s) also serve as a very real and very powerful reminder to me of where I could wind up if I were to stop making better choices. I can look at those images of me... fat, sick, and nearly dead... and say with conviction, "Never again. Never. Ever. Again."

    Yes, looking at those pictures hurts. But you'll never regret taking them. And taking the steps to a better life. :)
  • TarynAngeline
    TarynAngeline Posts: 95 Member
    I think they are very helpful! You see yourself everyday so you don't notice the subtle changes. When you are feeling like progress is slow it is helpful to take them out and see how much you've changed.
  • I took a few photo's about 3 years ago before I lost 4 stone and I don't regret taking them, but it upsets me when I look at them because it reminds me how miserable I felt and I can't help but feel really sorry for the person I used to be. I suppose it's not so much a motivation for me as rather a keepsake.
  • omma_to_3
    omma_to_3 Posts: 3,265 Member
    Very, very helpful. Especially for those times when things don't seem to be going well. You need to see how far you've come and it's hard to notice without photos.

  • Alidecker
    Alidecker Posts: 1,262 Member
    I think they help mentally. Since you see yourself in the mirror everyday, sometimes it is hard to see the changes. If you have pictures to look back on, it helps you realize how far you have come and how much the hard work has paid off. Do it for yourself!
  • I took a few photo's about 3 years ago before I lost 4 stone and I don't regret taking them, but it upsets me when I look at them because it reminds me how miserable I felt and I can't help but feel really sorry for the person I used to be. I suppose it's not so much a motivation for me as rather a keepsake.

    I wish I'd taken some before I started, and I'm going back trying to find some. I remember the misery now that I can realize that it was misery, but I use it as motivation, and it feels awesome to see to progress I've made.
  • czechwolf52
    czechwolf52 Posts: 194 Member
    They're really important. I wish I still had my before pictures. I took them on my phone and enjoyed looking at my progress until my phone's screen decided to turn blue in June and I couldn't see anything on it. I really wish that I could see myself and how far I've come, I'm still feeling big at times, so a reminder would be nice.
  • Eyerin
    Eyerin Posts: 24
    It's an unequivocable 'Do It' for me then!

    Busting out the sports bra and shorts after this post.

    - take complete measurements first and start a committed daily weight loss journal in a notebook and here on MFP. I have this
    thing about notebooks.

    - figure out the self-timer on my new camera to try to get some full body shots, preferable to a selfie, unless I have to go that route.

    - close blinds so as not to scare the elderly neighbors.

    - house clean (I'm anal that way), no random clutter.

    - Apologize to the dog and give her a treat.

    - Take photos, let it hang out naturally and feel no shame. Know that they will be a positive in the long run.

    - Workout number 1 today.

    - Return to MFP for amazing motivation and encouragement.


    1) Full front with arms slightly out to the sides
    2) Full front with the bicep flex pose
    3) Side view, arms at side - no slouching, no tucking in
    4) Back view - arms at side or flex pose

    You'd think I was going to the G7 World Summit or taking a rocket science exam. Lol.

    Omma...your before and afters are just wonderful...great job!

    Great advice, everyone!