Weight loss Archives | Smart Photography

Category Archives for "Weight loss"

Ditch Your ‘Before’

Is your 'before' photo motivating you, or messing with your mind?

I meet a lot of women who have been on major weight loss journeys. 4 stone, 7 stone, even 12 stone!

These are amazing achievements in getting healthy, and every one of these women should be feeling proud. But the reason I meet them, is the exact opposite. They're not feeling proud. They're often feeling disheartened. When they look in the mirror, they can't see the difference.

They'll always show me a before photo

Across the board, the photos most to hand to show to me will be 'before' photos.
Typically, our clients don't like having the photos taken, so they won't have a lot of photos of themselves. The ones they look at and remind themselves of, though, are the befores.

The version of yourself you see the most, is how you think you look

I've said this before with regard to photos - because the version of yourself you see in the mirror is the opposite way round to how everyone else sees you, and how you appear in photos - this is one of the major reasons people think they look 'off' in photos.

But we can also get a bit used to not really 'seeing' ourselves in mirrors.

If the version of yourself you look at most often is your 'before', are you training your brain that that's who you are?

So that when you look in the mirror, your brain infills the version of you it's most familiar with?

Do 'before' photos trap your brain in the past?

I really think they do.
For all people say "this was me" when showing their 'before', I think their brains are hearing "this is me".

Whilst I understand wanting to keep these images, I think there is equal, if not more value, in pushing past 'photo fear' and having at least one 'now' photo to look at - so that every time you look at an old one, you also remind your brain that things have changed.

Much love,

2 Why diet and exercise are like The Game

If you're wondering what 'The Game' is, then I have simultaneously introduced you to it and made you lose it at the same time.
Sorry about that!

If you already knew what it was - well, sorry about that too.

Wikipedia has this (and quite a lot more) to say about The Game:
The Game is a mental game where the objective is to avoid thinking about The Game itself. Thinking about The Game constitutes a loss, which must be announced each time it occurs. It is impossible to win most versions of The Game. Depending on the variation of The Game, the whole world, or all those aware of the game, are playing it all the time. Tactics have been developed to increase the number of people aware of The Game and thereby increase the number of losses.

What's it got to do with diets?

On the face of it, absolutely nothing.
But here's how my brain works, and maybe yours does too.

If I were to start vaguely thinking I wanted to lose weight, and embarked on a healthy eating plan, my brain would scream 'DIET' at me constantly, and I would think about nothing but food. I might be consciously saying "it's healthy eating, that's all, a long term change to how I eat, not a diet", but there's no fooling my subconscious - it would think diet and this game would be up. Pass me the crisps. As soon as I think diet, I desperately want to eat all the cake.

I could try and tell myself I worry about my health, don't want to end up with diabetes, and all manner of other things - unless I can convince my brain that these are real and urgent concerns, it's thinking diet and I am sunk.

As it is with diets, so it is with exercise

I'm not going to lie, I am lazy. A gym-dodger. Exercise-phobic.
The very thought of standing with a group of other people, sweating our collective way through an exercise class makes me feel queasy.

I've joined gyms. I've told myself it's for 'my health'. My brain knows I am thinking weight loss. So dragging myself to a gym becomes a monumental effort. I'm not up to monumental effort. I don't go. I sit around feeling guilty about the money spent on the membership (and the trainers, and the gym gear because I was totally going to go).

The answer

Ah, no, sorry, I'm not a weight loss guru - I can't tell you how to shed pounds.

And I'm not a psychologist either - I can't tell you why my brain likes to work against me and is anti-diets/exercise.

The answer for me

Diet is an easy one - I don't diet. I eat what I want and put little thought into how many calories, except I pay grudging attention to making sure I have a healthy-ish sandwich for lunch, and eat veg with dinner. My meals aren't small, but they're not unhealthy, and that's as far as my thinking goes.
I make some actively healthy choices, but I also eat cake (and not a sliver, a hefty piece). I'm not on a diet, even my sub conscious agrees, and I therefore don't think endlessly about food and crave chocolate (except at Easter, when I couldn't rest until I had eaten all the eggs).

I do exercise. I have 2 dogs. It's easy for me to go for a walk, because I have to. Would I choose to? No. But it's not for me, it's for the dogs and so it's exercise that has to happen. There is no way I would get up in the morning and go for a walk/run, with no motivation. The dogs remove the element of choice. No element of 'trying to lose weight' here, so my brain is with me - just crack on and do it.

I appreciate that that's not helpful, because our lifestyles are very different!

The big thing I have changed this year is to start going to yoga. A group class - ie everything I hate, loathe, detest and do not want to do. And you have to block book and pay for 6 + classes at a time.

This has nothing to do with toning, weight loss or any other 'triggers' that my brain will sabotage - it's purely a health thing, after years of back pain, I decided to finally take the advice I have been given countless times by osteopaths and build my core strength, with yoga.

Do I like going? No. About as much as I ever liked going to the gym, maybe less.

Do I go? Yes, every week (and I am thinking of adding in an extra class a week too).

I may not enjoy it, but it does feel like exactly what my body needs. I think it's working for me. My brain doesn't talk me out of it, or make it seem like the most hideous of all chores. My brain somehow agrees that it's doing me good.

My brain doesn't want to help me in The Game

That's what I've learned. If 'The Game' in this instance is anything weight loss related, my brain is wired to sabotage me.

I don't profess to know why it does this (but I do know this isn't the only way my brain stops me doing things I want to do). So I have to acknowledge that, for whatever reason, my brain doesn't think weight loss is a 'good' aim. If my aim is something different - directly relating to health, or something else entirely (my dogs), it won't sabotage me.

If your brain's the same, then you need to work out what your brain agrees is a noble aim. It could be running a marathon and raising lots of money. It could be, like me, sorting out a long term health problem. But don't try to pretend it's something else, if it isn't - if your brain is sabotaging your efforts, you haven't found your 'thing' yet - your 'reason' that your brain agrees is good enough.

Much love,

Extreme weight loss and reconnecting with you

Extreme weight loss is an amazing achievement and should leave you feeling fabulous, surely? 

It's not always the case.
Firstly - it's not necessarily so that your skin disappears along with the pounds. Depending on how elastic your skin is, how quick your weight loss is and other factors, it's really common to be left with excess skin that you now feel is unsightly.

Secondly - even if the weight loss has been quick, it's taken some amount of time. And what looks dramatic to other people when they see you, has happened relatively slowly for you, looking in your mirror. 

This gives your brain a chance to 'trick' you, and keep showing you the size you were before you lost weight. Your mental image almost replaces your mirror image, so whilst everyone around you is exclaiming over how different you look, you're not seeing it for yourself.

The perfect time to have your portrait taken...

is not really what you're thinking.
Because, hey, look at your body now - so different to everyone else's. And anyway, what if you still feel you look fat?

A boudoir portrait session can be daunting enough - if you think you're somehow 'out of the ordinary' too, it becomes even more so.

Remember - you're not so different

Please don't feel that it's just you, because it really, really isn't.  We've met a lot of women who are going through the same thing and it always makes me sad that they're not reveling in their achievement, because you should be!

We have all (well, almost all) got, hidden under our clothes, wobbly bits, scars, cellulite and stuff we just don't want anyone else to see. Bits of us that we find so achingly disappointing, because we think we somehow just don't measure up.

And trust me when I say that someone is looking at you thinking "I wish I could be more like her". Whilst we're comparing ourselves to someone else, and finding ourselves wanting, there's always someone doing the same with us.

You're not in competition

You are so not in competition - not with other women, not with yourself. Your past self who you may want to feel better than, or your future self you are hoping to be. Feel proud to be you, to have achieved what you have and don't hold yourself to some higher standard that you would never impose on a friend.

We're not here to highlight the bits of you you don't love

There is nothing about your portrait session that says you have to display bits you want to keep hidden. Not for you, not for anyone!

At your pre session chat we'll talk about the bits you want to highlight (and the bits you want to hide) and go through the best lingerie to wear to achieve exactly the look you want.

We are here to highlight your achievement

You should be proud of your extreme weight loss, and proud of yourself. So our job is to help you start to change your mental picture of yourself, by showing you a different perspective on how you look.

When you look in a mirror your brain may be able to play it's tricks, but looking at photos, one after another, it has no chance to swap the image you're actually seeing - so you get to see yourself as you are now.

It's our job to help you fall in love...with you.

Much love,

After major weight loss,what are you telling your brain?

You've achieved major weight loss - a lot of weight - 5 stone, 8 stone, 10 stone, maybe more.
It's such a great achievement, you should be feeling amazing, and you kind of do. Except that, when you look in the mirror, that weight is still there. Your brain is choosing to play tricks on you, and not let you really see who you are now.

Sound familiar? It's really common after major weight loss to have this 'weight memory' when you look in the mirror.

I've got a theory as to why this is - and something for you to try to stop it

This theory is based on having met a LOT of women who are experiencing this. ALL of whom have shown me images of themselves, before losing the weight. They have a little set of them, on their phone, ready to show off the 'before' pictures.

But what they don't have is many 'after' pictures.

Why do you need 'after' pictures though, when you've got the real thing, any time you choose to look in the mirror?

Well, here's my theory - if your brain is infilling with 'old you' when you look in the mirror, and you're regularly looking at images of 'old you' too, you're not retraining your brain in what to see.  In fact, you're reinforcing 'old you'.

So try this:
Ditch the 'old you' photos from your phone (you don't need to delete them, just move them somewhere you can't look at them at the drop of a hat).

Only have 'new you' photos to look at. A little collection. Look at them every day. If your brain starts 'bloating' you in a photo, replace it with a new one.

This way, you are constantly showing your brain 'new you'. You are fixing those images in your mind, and reinforcing those instead.

Much love,

Loved it, went from nausea to naked! Hate having my picture taken fully clothed but the whole boudoir family put me at ease and my confidence grew and grew through my session and I've totally fallen in love with me! Very professional and was extremely hard to choose pics! x