At Iron Nomads we believe that transformational photos can be problematic and here’s why:
- Transformation photos put all the emphasis on external appearance over internal health. Many transformation photos emphasize changes in body shape and size, rather than a healthy, sustainable relationship with fitness and food. This can create unrealistic expectations and cause people to become fixated on their appearance, rather than how good it feels to move and eat well.
- They can be triggering for those with body image issues. The majority of people reading this article grew up in a culture where being very slim was the MOST important aspect of being an attractive woman or being big and muscular was the epitome of a handsome man. Internalized damaging ideas (amongst many others) can cause us to think of drastic measures such as ‘bikini body programs’ or extreme fasting or taking steroids as a justifiable means to achieve your dream body. In the quest for the perfect transformation picture, many people will develop disordered eating habits, feelings of guilt and shame around consuming certain foods, and potentially see exercise as a means to punish and manipulate the size and shape of your body. This can have very negative long-term effects on a person.
- They promote a “quick fix” mentality. Many transformation photos are accompanied by claims of rapid weight loss or drastic changes in a short amount of time. This can promote a mentality of quick fixes and fad diets, rather than sustainable lifestyle changes.
- Someone else’s after picture may not be possible for another person for a variety of reasons. Genetics, health issues, access to healthy food/trainers, time availability, age…..the list goes on. Social media is driven by a human’s desire to compare themself to another person and often times this feels painful. Do not compare your average day to another person’s transformational picture. They probably don’t even look like that right now themselves as bodies bloat and expand and slim down hour to hour, day to day.
Instead of focusing on transformation photos, we encourage our clients to set goals that are specific to their individual needs and abilities. We also focus on ENJOYMENT. Moving your body is a privilege. Eating delicious, healthy food is a privilege.There are many other ways to measure results instead of transformation pictures. Here are some of the ways we do it:
- Measurements: Measuring various body parts (such as the waist, hips, and arms) can be a great way to track progress over time.
- Body Fat Percentage: Measuring body fat percentage can be a more accurate way to track progress than weight alone, as it considers changes in muscle mass and body composition.
- Performance Goals: Setting and achieving performance goals (such as running a certain distance or lifting a certain amount of weight) can be a great way to track progress and stay motivated.
- Health Markers: Measuring health markers such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels can be a good way to track progress and see improvements in overall health.
- Mood and Energy Levels: Paying attention to changes in mood and energy levels can be a great way to gauge progress and see improvements in overall well-being.
- Before and After Self-Assessments: Having clients complete a self-assessment before starting a fitness program and again after a certain period can be a good way to track progress and see improvements in overall health and well-being.