Using pictures to document your weight loss journey is a really effective and powerful tool. There are quite a few benefits of using pictures in addition to traditional tracking methods like food journals or weekly weigh-ins.
Benefits of Picture Tracking – Some examples of why tracking your progress with photos is so useful include:
- Pictures are More Motivating than Numbers
- Real, Tangible Proof of Your Transformation
- It Gives a Better Representation of What Your Body Really Looks Like
- Ideal for People Who Want to See Their Body Change Shape (Fat Loss vs. Muscle Definition)
- Helps to Lessen Obsession with Numbers on a Scale
- Gives You a Record That You Can Share Publicly and Inspire Others
The Best Method for Photo Tracking
To get the most benefit from photo tracking weight loss you need to maintain some patterns in both when you take pictures and how you take them.
First off, try to take your pictures during the same time frame every time. For example, on a Monday in the morning before breakfast or on a Saturday morning before working out. Mornings are best because your weight can fluctuate over the course of the day depending on what you eat, drink and if you workout. Keeping a regular pattern of when you take progress photos will give you the most accurate pictures of your weight loss.
Secondly, take your pictures either biweekly or monthly. If you’re on a really intense weight loss program where you are losing a lot of weight weekly or working to build muscle you may want to take pictures weekly. It’s up to you but try to not become obsessive with your pictures. This habit can be just as destructive as weighing yourself too often.
Lastly, take your pictures in the same positions every time if you can. Generally you want to take 8 pictures total:
- Two from the front – arms relaxed to your sides and arms flexed (flexed to show off your biceps and show reduction in “arm wing fat”)
- Two from the back – arms relaxed to your sides and arms flexed
- Two from each side – arms relaxed to your sides and arms flexed
Take the photos in portrait view with your entire body in the frame. It is instinctive to want to suck in your stomach but refrain from doing this. Stand up straight but remain totally relaxed in the relaxed position pictures. You’ll also want to take some face only or head and shoulders only photos along the way so that you can see the changes in your face. You can do the same for your problem areas, like your butt, love handles and thighs, if you want to document specific areas.
Wearing a swimsuit or sports bra and shorts will give you the best idea of how your body is changing as clothes may hide progress. Wear clothing that you would be comfortable having friends and family see later if you plan to share your photos with the world.
Top 4 Photo Tools
Photo editing tools are extremely popular but many of them fall short on capabilities or ease of use. Here are 4 of the best tools you can use during your weight loss journey.
PicMonkey is a solely online photo editing program that is free to use. There is a paid upgrade for additional features. The program works in all of the popular browsers and is really ease to use. You don’t need any previous experience in photo editing.
PicMonkey has all the typical photo editing options like frames, filters, effects, red eye removal, etc. You can also add texts to images and create collages- both very useful for tracking weight loss. A collage makes it really easy to create one image combining your 8 pictures. It also has settings built in so that you can automatically make images that are perfectly sized for Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms.
You don’t need to register to use PicMonkey or download anything. After editing a picture you can save it to your computer or share it via social media or email.
If you’re documenting your weight loss in a blog you’re going to love Canva. Rather than being purely a photo editing program, Canva is more of a graphic design program. It is still super easy to use and allows you to design such elements like blog graphics, Facebook covers, flyers, posters and presentations.
Canva is highly recommended for people who are trying to create a web presence for their weight loss journey. It is a free-to-use program and also has an iPad app.
Love Instagram? Then you’ll love Instaquote.
Instaquote is an app that allows you to add quotes or other text to pictures. For the purposes of weight loss you can add dates and other comments to your pictures or simply share motivating quotes. Instaquote is a little different than the other photo editing programs I’ve shared above because it’s specific to Instagram, but can still be a powerful tool if you are trying to reach other people on social media with the same type of weight loss goal.
Last but not least is Fotor. Fotor is another web-based photo editing program but also has a complimentary app for on-the-go editing.
Fotor is like the big brother of free photo editing software. It is still simple to use but has more complex abilities. If you are a photo editing junkie but are getting bored with super simple programs with repetitive filters and effects, you’re going to like Fotor.
One option especially helpful for a weight loss journey is the ability to make not only a collage but also a slideshow. This feature is nifty for summing up a month or two months of progress or put together a slideshow of your entire journey after goal completion.
Whatever your reason is for losing weight the key to success isn’t just proper goal setting but also the tools you use to review your progress. If you’ve struggled with weight loss in the past or are just getting started on your journey today, consider using pictures in addition to or in place of your other tracking tools. It’s so amazing to pull out old photos 3 – 6 months down the line and really be able to SEE your progress.