Before and after weight loss pictures? A waste of time!


Before and after weight loss illustration

This before and after weight loss artists illustration tells you as much as any photo.


Why before and after weight loss photographs have little or no value.

We have all seen plenty of before and after weight loss pictures

Mostly on advertising for a diet, club or commercial product. My first impression when I see before and after pictures is that of skepticism. The first things that go through my mind are:

  • Is this the same person?
  • Is the second image a photo shopped version of the first?
  • Why is the lighting different?
  • The before picture seems to show the person breathing out fully, and the second one seems to show them sucking their belly in.
  • Maybe this is an after / before picture (The person recently put ON weight)

Why am I so cynical about it? I have been pondering this question, as I do not know the people involved, how could I accuse them of anything? The fact that the pictures are used to sell a product doesn’t mean that they are a fraud? Right? I mean there are laws and advertising standards aren’t there?


I’m not talking about the before and after body sculpting photographs…

…When I see body transformation photos, where someone has clearly honed and sculpted a new body with dedicated physical training. These people are highly dedicated and deserve respect and recognition for their achievements. In an advertisement, I would still question whether the product had a major influence. I believe that most products sold for body sculpting and weight loss are either a complete waste of time, or add an extra edge or boost to the progress. The real progress comes from within the heart, soul and mind of the achiever. Commercial products can be a tool, but the user is the creator.

So, back to the usual fat / thin before and after weight loss pictures…


The advertising factor, the commercial money-making side of weight loss / fat loss products

Then I started wondering, did the person in the before and after picture actually use the product? Or are they just promoting it? Hmm.

How do I know whether the person in the before / after pics has recently developed a crystal meth habit, and these photo shoots are funding the habit?

O.K, I know I am getting (a little) carried away….

And then it hit me!


The main reason why before and after pictures should be ignored…

No one is disputing that there are many ways to temporarily lose weight. I mean the phrase “yo yo dieting” didn’t make itself up…

The problem with the before and after weight loss pictures is that we don’t know if the problem has been solved or not. What problem do you want to solve? Do you want to get thin for a few months and then put it all back on again, plus a few pounds? Or do you want to completely change your life and never be overweight ever again?

I know which choice I have made.



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6 Responses to Before and after weight loss pictures? A waste of time!

  1. Urban Paleo Chef February 25, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    Great post! I have to say: I experience much the same skepticism when I see countless before/after photos! But for me, the worst part is that there just shouldn’t be any at all!! Why is it that we’re all letting ourselves get so overweight? How come we can’t manage our bodies and health constantly? And why is there such a huge niche market for “quick fixes” which generally don’t work?!?
    Great post Jason! It makes us think – keep it up!!

    • Fatloss Mental February 25, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

      Thanks for the comment, and you know what? The idea of why are there any before and after pictures at all is profound… If we were all responsible and in control of our lives no one would ever get obese. I know that it seems idealistic, but why not aim for ideal?

      As a clever man called John said “You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one”

      Hey you have given me inspiration for a new article thanks buddy!

  2. Corey Lewis February 25, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    Couldn’t agree more with this article. More and more people get suckered in to buying products with theses false images.

  3. Shari February 25, 2013 at 10:36 pm #

    I agree, Jason: there is great value in making sustainable lifestyle changes. Our message is about living better, a value that we seem to share with you. Thank you for posting this!

  4. Carl Mason-Liebenberg February 26, 2013 at 3:47 am #

    Great article…excellent tips! in one of my weight loss coaching programs, I do ask for before and after pics…it ups the accountability and sincerity, esp with the before pics. BUT…my coaching progarms a re relationship driven…i’m not tossing thema guide or product and saying see ya in 90 days…I’m hands on and so when the differences are shown they are authentic…but it is like these magaize covers that everyone, myself included, want to look like…Im not gonna be airbrushed, fake tanned, having just finished a serious cuting diet, pumpmed up on glucose every day to lok like that…its not really real andit it is deception!

    • Fatloss Mental February 26, 2013 at 11:10 am #

      On a personal basis before and after pics have value. It is satisfying when we see a picture of our new body after all the hard work and commitment. My angle for the article was for the critique of the commercial use for gadgets and pills. This is why the last paragraph was the real message.